Ok, if you think that getting to the end of pregnancy, and, by getting the baby out the door you have majority work done, then, think again. Delivering the baby is the beginning of the real challenge, not the end of it, no matter how taxing your pregnancy may have been.
And this battle is fought at the edge of your nipples. Literally. Lactation and feeding the baby is the single most important task you will be doing over the next few months (the definition of few varies significantly from mother to mother)
So, lactation is the process of your body producing milk for the baby and then you being able to deliver the same to the baby with the end result of baby being well fed. We believe just like pregnancy, there are stages of lactation
- The embarrassment stage – This is the first stage that comes right after the baby is born, generally starting in the hospital itself. For as long as you would remember, all good Indian girls have been taught to keep their cleavage (of course boobs) under wraps. And then suddenly pregnancy happens and you realize the boobs are not as sanctimonious as they once were! Everyone wants to know intimate booby details like how much milk you are producing, if the baby is latching onto your nipple fine, the angle at which you are holding your nipple; A lactation consultant will just walk in anytime to check your bare boob and how you feed the baby etc. And on top of it all, you have another human being happily trying to suck from your boob all the time. Phew!
Well, just steel yourself. This won’t last long. As soon as you are successfully able to start feeding and producing milk, all the attention will thankfully be lost.
- The Measured stage – So now you have become used to the idea of feeding and have been able to successfully latch the baby everytime to your nipple. The next important question that soon arises is “how much”. “How much should I feed the baby”? “How much milk should be fed from each breast”? “How much flow of milk is right for the baby and won’t cause tummy troubles”? Of course, everyone has their own and different stories to share here and you too will soon have one of your own.
Till that time a rule of thumb is to feed the baby equally from both breasts. Advisable feed time for the baby, in one sitting, is about 40-45 mins split between both the breasts. Also, babies tend to doze off while feeding so do try to wake them up and give full feed in one sitting in which case the baby will probably not get hungry for the next 2-3 hours making it easier for both of you. However, there are mothers who take the approach of ‘feeding-on-demand’ i.e. feed the baby as per their demand. Honestly, there is no one right answer to this. Take the approach that works for you.
- The pro stage – comes when you feel have established your routine, know how to feed, when to feed, how much to feed etc and can do it all with ease and panache. Once understood well, feeding is a great bonding time between mother and the baby. Also, breast feeding keeps at bay many other issues like colic, upset stomach, the whole feeding work (preparing formula, sterilizing and washing feeder bottles etc.). This is the stage you will enjoy and so will the baby!
4.The 'Till When' stage - The pro stage of breastfeeding is soon followed by the big question - "How long are you going to breastfeed your baby?" We believe whatever might be the answer to this question, it does not make you less or more of a Mother. Every individual needs to make the decision on this based on their own preferences. Don't compare to what your fried, colleague or family would have done or is doing. Be unapologetic and do your own thing. The duration of breastfeeding is not a determinant of your love for your baby.
But if you are undecided on what to do and looking for advice - Paediatricians recommend atleast 6 months of exclusive breastfeedng followed by a combination of solid food and mother's milk.
Lactation is followed by the process of weaning which is a process in itself. So we will touch upon it at some other time. Stay tuned into this broadcast and don’t forget to share your lactation stories in the comments!
We list some accessories and tools that can come to aid on your breastfeeding journey
- Nipple Balm – Nipple dryness which causes pain while feeding, is a common new mom experience. Nipple balms greatly help with that by keeping nipples well moisturized. They are baby safe ointments, that help relieve the cuts and pains and makes it easy to breastfeed.
- Feeding Pillow: They help hold and support the baby for the right feeding posture, taking the weight off mother’s hand. It makes it easier to feed the baby without tiring out the Mama as they can tied around the Mommy.
- Nursing bras: A must have for every mother. They take away the pain of adjusting your bra before and after every feed. We recommend having multiple right from the beginning.
- Nursing covers: A useful piece of garment, they provide the necessary cover to the mother while feeding. Choose a nursing cover in a breathable fabric and design that does not obstruct baby's breathing. Pick a nursing covers in stylish design that can double up as a nice scarf or poncho.
- Breast Pads: Placed inside the bra, they help absorb the milk leakage (very common problem), keeping you clean and dry and avoid the awkward milk stains on your clothes. We recommend picking the washable ones.
- Breast pumps: Used to express the mother's milk that can be fed to the baby separately. Just express the milk, store and feed the baby in a bottle. Choosing the right breast pump is a science in itself, that we will touch upon in another post.
- Nipple Shields: is an artificial nipple that you can place on top of your own. They are used for dry/cut nipples where breastfeeding is painful for the mother. However, it may need some getting used to for baby and mother both.
To Check out and order some accessories Click here.