Breastfeeding Guidelines for New Mothers
Oleh: Morinaga Platinum
Breast milk is the best food that can be given to the child. The complete nutritional contents of breast milk can fulfill the daily requirements of the child exclusively for the first 6 months of life. Therefore, the WHO recommends the provision of just breast milk for newborns up to the age of six months.
Children who received breast milk was found to rarely experience illnesses and allergies. Several studies have proven that breastfed children had higher intelligence scores compared to those who were not breastfed. Hence, it is very important for mothers to be aware of correct breastfeeding methods in order to maintain an optimal growth and development of the child.
The process of breastfeeding should begin at the birth of the child, by doing early initiation of breastfeeding. Initially, the breast will produce colostrum, a thick yellow liquid rich in proteins and immune substances, which are very important for the child.
Mothers should not worry if the child does not receive adequate breast milk on the first few days of life. The stomach size of a newborn child is very small and can only contain 5-7 mL of breast milk on the first day. On the third day, the capacity increases to 30 mL. The third day is the day when mothers generally produce actual breast milk. A child born under healthy conditions can survive for 72 hours without any food.
When preparing to breastfeed, mothers should fist calm their minds and then find a comfortable place and position. To support the child properly, use a pillow. There is no set belief about the position to breastfeed, and mothers can decide whether they are more comfortable sitting or lying down.
Hold the child at a position where their chest is facing your chest and touch the nipple to their mouth. The child will open their mouth by reflex, and then place their body closer to the nipple so that it can fit entirely in their mouth.
One of the keys to successful breastfeeding lies in the attachment between the mouth and the breast. The mouth of the child should cover the entire areola (the dark region around the nipple), and not just the nipple. An incorrect attachment of the mouth can lead to blisters on the nipple.
Breastfeed the child as often as possible to stimulate the production of more breast milk. Within 24 hours, mothers should breastfeed at least 8 times. If the child falls asleep without breastfeeding for 4 hours, mothers should wake them up.
During lactation, mothers should pay attention to the food they consume. It is highly advisable to consume a complete and balanced diet. Mothers should not be surprised if they find themselves feeling hungry more often when breastfeeding. A lactating mother requires an additional 200 to 500 calories compared to a non-lactating woman. This can be managed by consuming food in small portions but more frequently. Mothers can also try to eat healthy snacks when feeling hungry between meals.
Mothers should use a top that enables them to breastfeed the child while outside. They can also bring a nursing apron and select a comfortable breastfeeding bra that can be easily opened and closed. Mothers should also not forget to have breast pads to prevent breast milk from releasing when they are not breastfeeding, in order to not wet their clothes.
Other equipments required include breast milk pumps, which can be manual or electric. This pump device can ease the process of pumping breast milk when mothers return to work.
If mothers encounter obstacles when breastfeeding, they should not feel discouraged. Such things are natural, and the more often they breastfeed, they will be more experienced and find their own rhythm.
If mothers are still experiencing difficulties and the conditions of the child is affected by it, for instance their weight falls drastically, they should immediately consult a lactation consultant or pediatrician.