Breast milk: the advantages of breastfeeding your baby
The birth of our son will fill us with joy, but also doubts, among them, if it is more convenient to breastfeed or bottle. However, the indisputable advantages of breastfeeding leave no room for doubt: babies fed with breast milk get fewer diseases and are better nourished than those who receive other bottle-fed foods.
When choosing between breastfeeding and artificial, the most important thing to keep in mind is the health of the baby. Although aesthetic reasons or the need to reintegrate us into working life in this election may influence us, we must not forget that the advantages of breast milk over the bottle are innumerable.
This food provides the newborn with all the nutrients it needs, both in quality and quantity, as well as antibodies elaborated in the maternal organism that will protect it from infections. In addition, the baby finds it much easier to digest breast milk, which, on the other hand, does not require any type of preparation and is always at the right temperature for the child.
Your breast milk, the most complete food for your baby
It is proven that the mother's milk is by itself the most complete food we can provide our baby. So much so that, during the first six months of life, it will not be necessary to give him any other food or liquid, not even water, except for the hot summer months. In fact, all substitutes, including cow's milk, infant formula, milk powder and cereal porridge, are of inferior quality, as they do not provide any special protection against diseases.
Only after six months will it be necessary to provide the newborn with other foods. However, it is recommended that we continue breastfeeding until well into the second year of life at least, since breast milk remains an important source of energy, protein and vitamin A, among other nutrients.
Breastfeeding: start as soon as possible after giving birth
Experts recommend starting breastfeeding as soon as possible after giving birth. If we breast-feed the baby immediately after delivery, -it should not take more than an hour from the moment of delivery-, the suction will stimulate milk production. In spite of everything, during the first days only a thick yellowish milk will rise, called colostrum, very nutritious and beneficial for the newborn, which will suffice to satisfy their needs until the milk production begins.
To breastfeed correctly from the first occasion, you just need a relaxed atmosphere and learn some basic steps that will facilitate this very special act. The most important thing is not to neglect the position of the baby at this time, since an incorrect posture can cause the appearance of pain or cracks in the nipples, insufficient milk production or the baby refuses to feed.
Avoiding these problems is very easy: once the mother has washed her hands and breasts and has adopted a comfortable posture, she only has to bring the baby close to the baby and the baby will grasp the nipple with her mouth, almost instinctively, and begin the rhythmic movement of suction. While the child is taking the breast, it is convenient that we watch his posture and keep his head at all times higher than the rest of the body.
It is also important that the mouth covers the entire areola of the nipple and the nose is free at all times so that the baby can breathe. Otherwise, it will run out and end up rejecting the food. If the child sucks long and hard, his body stays turned towards the mother and the baby is calm and happy, everything is going well. Another sign that the breast is being given correctly is that the mother does not feel pain in the nipples.
After a few minutes, the force and speed of the suction will decrease. It is time for us to stop this first shot, so that the baby does not swallow air or fall asleep. Afterwards, we will offer him the other breast and the child will resume his feeding. When you are satisfied, you will stop breastfeeding and probably fall asleep. In general, about ten minutes in each breast is enough for the toddler to get all the food he needs.
Some mothers need help to start breastfeeding, especially when it comes to their first child. A woman who has already gone through this experience can help the inexperienced mother by resolving doubts or simply by staying by her side the first time she breastfeeds.
Eject the air by tapping your back
After breastfeeding, there is still an important step that the baby must take: the expulsion of the air that has swallowed during breastfeeding or, what is the same, belching.Although infants barely swallow air while nursing, the little that always passes into their stomach must be expelled. We can help him by holding him against his shoulder and giving him a very gentle tap on the back. We can also place the baby on our legs and gently stimulate the back making circles with your hands.
8 tips for breastfeeding your baby
1. All the pros and cons of breastfeeding or nursing should be carefully weighed before making a decision. Personal circumstances also count, but at no time should you forget that the most important thing is that the newborn grows strong and healthy.
2. Breast milk provides the infant with its first "immunization". It helps protect the baby against diarrhea, coughs, colds and other common diseases. In contrast, cow's milk and other infant foods do not provide this protection.
3. Washing hands and breasts before and after each feeding will protect the child from possible infections. When it is finished, it is advisable to apply a protective cream on the nipple and areola, in order to avoid the appearance of cracks in the area.
4. Pediatricians recommend starting each time with a different breast, since the baby always ingests more milk than the first. If the two breasts alternate, both will empty regularly.
5. The baby extracts almost all the milk in the first minutes, so it is unnecessary to prolong the intake more than ten with each breast. The infant will tend to remain clinging to the warm nipple, but it must be separated from it or it will begin to swallow air.
6. To remove the baby from the breast, gently insert your finger into the mouth. The little one will loosen the tension on the nipple and, when removing it, it will not suffer.
7. The schedule of takings should be flexible: the infant should be breast-fed whenever he or she wishes, normally every three or four hours. It is not necessary to wait a minimum period of time after each feeding, since breast milk is very easy to digest. In addition, frequent suction will stimulate milk production.
8. The mother who is breastfeeding her baby should keep in mind that everything she consumes can become part of the milk, so she should avoid coffee, cola, alcoholic beverages, any type, tobacco, and medications that have not been specifically prescribed by the doctor.