How to start breast feed: Breast feeding could be started soon after a normal delivery and 6 hours following caesarean. The mother should be relaxed and the baby should be held close to the mother. The baby will start sucking naturally which is an inborn instinct that is specially strong in the first 2 hours after birth. But occasionally a baby may take time to learn to suck. The mother in such a case needs great patience and she should not give up trying.
Hints to initiate Breast Feeding
1. First try to manipulate the nipple a little to make it more erect and easy to grasp.
2. It is often helpful to remove some of the milk so that the breast becomes a little softer. The mother can either express by hand or use a hand pump.
3. Gently and patiently put the baby to the breast for another try.
4. One drop of milk left at the tip of the nipple may act as an appetizer.
5. If the breast is going to block the baby's nose, the mother can use a finger to hold the breast off the nose.
The first secretion is thick and yellow and extremely good for the baby. It is highly nutritious and has antibodies which protects the baby against infections. After 3-4 days normal whole milk is secreted.
Frequency and Duration
Feeding in the first few days is according to the baby's demands. No time schedule can be followed. The duration of each feed does not matter. Let the baby suck until it releases the breast spontaneously. Most babies who suck correctly take 80-90% of milk from each breast in the first four minutes. Frequent sucking is necessary to get the milk flowing and to establish lactation even if the mother thinks that there is nothing in her breasts. It is perfectly safe to suck both the breasts 8-10 times a day, and even more if the baby demands. For the first month or so the baby may indicate its need for food every 2-3 hours. Later babies are usually satisfied by roughly four-hourly feedings.
Engorgement or swelling of breasts is normal from the 3rd to 7th day after delivery. The engorgement of the breasts usually subsides after about one week. Frequent sucking may help in reducing the engorgement
The baby should be held against the shoulders and the back patted to bring out any swallowed air.
Advantages of Breast Milk
1. It is free from bacterial contamination - sterile
2. It is economical.
3. It improves the parent child relationship.
4. No allergic manifestations.
5. It does not need any preparations, so it is time saving.
6. It immunises the baby through the action of the antibodies in the mother's milk.
1. When the mother has Tuberculosis or Mastitis (swelling, redness & painful breast conditions).
2. When the mother is in poor health.
Care of Nipples
For cleaning the nipples before a feed, she can use plain water (preferably boiled) on cotton wool or even a few drops of her own freshly expressed milk on cotton wool. In case of inverted nipples a nipple shield can be used.
A mother's nipple may become sore any time during the lactation, but it is more common in the early weeks. Frequent, short nursing help in speedy healing of sore nipples. The mother can apply a thin coating of any edible oil to the nipple between feeds. If sore nipples are persistent, the doctor has to be consulted.
For the first weeks and months of life, the infant certainly needs "ROUND THE CLOCK" service. A good feed at 10 p.m. will keep the infant quiet till 4 a.m.
Diet for a nursing mother
A breast feeding mother needs to eat about a quarter more than she used to before she become pregnant. A woman's body can make milk out of any food provided that it contains the necessary minimum nutrients. A woman can eat chapatis with dhal. rice with curry, potatoes and meat balls. It all comes out as the same high quality milk.
Precautions for a nursing mother
1. The mother must take care to avoid putting on excess weight.
2. The mother should wear a well fitting brassiere that supports the breasts.
3. No medications without Doctor's advice, since some of the drugs are secreted in the milk that might affect the baby.