Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health.
Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean, warm, and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses. It also provides all the energy and nutrients that an infant needs for the first months of life.
Despite breastfeeding is natural, there are some questions at the beginning of the process. Here are helpful tips on how to improve breastfeeding and make it easier.
1. Get an early start. Plan to breastfeed as soon as you can. But don’t stress if it doesn’t happen right away — just catch up as soon as it’s practical.
2. Get a shared room. The more time you and baby spend together, the easier getting together for feedings will be.
3. Get comfy. Settle in a position that’s comfortable for you and baby – facing your breasts, with the front of her body facing yours, tummy to tummy.
4. Get a good latch. Baby’s mouth should cover both your nipple and the areola, so that baby’s mouth, tongue, and lips massage milk out of your milk glands. Sucking on just the nipple will not only leave your infant hungry because the glands that secrete the milk won’t be compressed, but it will also make your nipples sore and cracked.
5. Breastfeeding “on-demand”. Newborn babies should be breastfed 8–12 times per day for about the first month. Breast milk is easily digested, so newborns are hungry often. Frequent feedings help stimulate your milk production during the first few weeks.
6. Let burping. After your baby finishes, try burping. While it’s normal for infants to “spit up” a small amount after eating or during burping, a baby should not vomit after feeding.
7. Switch breasts only after a baby drained the first one. This helps to keep up your milk supply in both breasts and prevents painful engorgement (when your breasts overfill with milk).
8. Breastfeed your baby – that’s a personal choice. Experts recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively (without formula, water, juice, non–breast milk, or food) for the first 6 months. Then, breastfeeding can continue until 12 months (and beyond) if it’s working for you and your baby.