Feeding Your Baby
Breast-feeding is undoubtedly better for your baby's health and development and 98 per cent of women are able to breast-feed. Nevertheless, it is not always possible either because of a medical condition or because the mother just does not feel comfortable with it. There is no reason to feel guilty: formula milk will meet your baby's dietary needs and there is no reason why she should not thrive on it.
Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. For the first two or three days, until your milk comes in, your breasts produce colostrum (a thick, creamy substance, packed with antibodies to protect your baby from infections and disease). The more your baby feeds at the breast, the more milk you will produce. The milk is made up of thirst-quenching foremilk, followed by a thicker hind milk. Breast-feeding can be uncomfortable at first so you may need advice. Your midwife will advise you but you can prepare yourself by getting the telephone numbers of breast-feeding counsellors. Other women who have breast-fed can also give you support.
|Advantages of breast-feeding
There are many good reasons for breast-feeding if you are able to do so.
In the first few days, while you are learning how to position your baby at the breast, your nipples may become sore. Then, on the third day, when your milk comes in, your breasts will feel large, hard and engorged. Do not worry - this is normal and does not last.
Nobody expects you to know how to position your baby at the breast but, if your baby does not latch on properly, your breasts will become very sore. You may need to experiment with different positions depending upon the type of birth and the size of your breasts.
When bottle-feeding, it is essential to follow the instructions about washing and sterilizing all equipment because babies can very easily pick up serious stomach infections.
You may find that she will take more at some feeds than others and that she will feed more frequently at certain times of the day. It takes longer for babies to digest formula milk so they do tend to go longer between feeds. A newborn baby will probably take six or seven feeds in 24 hours and, in the first two or three days, will be taking approximately 60 ml at afeed.
Research shows that your partner has the greatest influence on the way you feed your baby. Make sure that he is aware of the advantages of breast-feeding!
Applying Savoy cabbage leaves to the breasts can relieve engorgement. Keep the cabbage in the fridge until you need it.
Chamomile tea bags can help sore nipples to heal. After brewing the tea, store the bags in the fridge. Once they Ye cool, put them inside your bra against your nipples. Put a breast pad over them to protect your bra. Breast-feeding helps your uterus contract and will also use up calories, which can help you lose some of the weight gained during your pregnancy.