Bringing my second daughter into the world, I was determined to give her exclusive breastfeeding. I had started from the first day I held her in my arms. However, when I breastfed her in the beginning, the pain was unbearable. I was literally crying. She wasn’t an easy baby who ate and slept, like the most newborns do. For the first two months, she was continuously in my arms. Either awake or asleep. I had become her food, her pacifier and her pillow, simultaneously. Every time, I tried to pull her off my breast and put her in her cradle, the “concert” began. That thing made the breastfeeding process even harder for me, because I couldn’t get enough rest. In the heat of the summer, sweaty and exhausted, I was “trapped” on the couch, with my baby girl in my arms.
At some point, I was tempted to give her formula milk, so that I could rest a little. But then, I consulted a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor to make the whole process easier. She encouraged me to continue the exclusive breastfeeding and guided me in every detail. Such as, how to hold the baby and what is the correct sitting position for breastfeeding.
I had kept in mind the following:
- No formula milk at home. Regardless of whether the breasts look empty or full of milk, the baby is drinking the amount that she needs. The combination of breastfeeding with formula milk, can cause nipple confusion to the baby. She may prefer the bottle rejecting the breast. While the production of breast milk may be reduced, gradually, leading to the early cessation of breastfeeding.
- Breast milk is incomparably the top baby food ever. Babies that breastfeed are less likely to get infections, chronic diseases and sudden infant death syndrome.
- To make sure the baby is getting enough milk,
-You hear her swallow the milk while breastfeeding.
-You watch her gaining weight, normally.
-The appearance of her stool changes frequently.
-She urinates at least 3-4 times a day, while the diaper should be heavy.
-She is calm and sleeps a few hours when breastfeeding.
- Let the baby guide you. It doesn’t matter how long she breastfeeds, like 2, 10 or 20 minutes. The baby knows herself the amount of milk she needs to be full.
- Don’t look at the clock. Breastfeed her when she is hungry. The frequency of breastfeeding increases the production of breast milk, sending to the brain the information that there is demand for more milk. In addition, it reduces the risk of mastitis, which is quite painful.
- Persistence and patience. Don’t give up, no matter what. Breastfeeding will be is established after the first 40 days. Thus, by that time, things will get mush easier.
- Make breastfeeding more enjoyable from the beginning. Make sure the baby is latching on the breast correctly. If it’s not so, the nipples might become sore and bloody. The baby’s lips should cover directly the areola (dark area around the nipple) making the “fish lips.”
- Breast switching at each breastfeeding. Especially, for the first few weeks after the baby is born, so that she receives all the nutrients that come out towards the end of breastfeeding. Empty each breast effectively, to produce the desired amount of milk for the next time. Also, to avoid plugged milk ducts and breast engorgement.
- When necessary, use the breast pump. If there is lots of milk and the baby doesn’t empty it all, pump it with the breast pump and store it in the refrigerator. I had chosen an electric double breast pump, as it exactly mimics baby’s natural sucking pattern.
- Eat well and sleep well.
Gradually, everything stabilized and I managed to breastfeed her exclusively to the 6th month. Then I breastfed her for another 2 months, in combination with solid food. The feelings of joy and happiness were so intense, during each breastfeeding. I just didn’t want it to end. It’s the most beautiful and tender gift from nature to mother and from mother to baby!
For more information, additional questions and any other health problems or issues that may arise, consult an expert on exclusive breastfeeding or a doctor in your area. It would be good, to take some prenatal breastfeeding seminars, in order to get prepared and informed better.
Breastfeeding is an unforgettable life experience!
Good luck to all the mothers that are trying to breastfeed or will breastfeed!
Tell me about your breastfeeding experience! I will be happy to hear from you!