One of the most intimate moments of motherhood is the time right after birth. The time children spend cuddled up in her arm, hearing her soft voice echo in their ears, and being fed to their heart’s content. But apart from its intimacy and emotional value, breastfeeding has some very potent benefits that can be of crucial importance to a child later on.
To start, a mother’s milk contains the ideal balance of nutrients including vitamins, protein, and fat to facilitate optimal growth during this period. Additionally, breast milk contains antibodies that can help the baby fight diseases and strengthen his immune system. Something formula milk lacks. Breast milk is also easier to digest compared to formula milk leading to fewer episodes of diarrhea. Breastfeeding is also known to decrease the chance of the baby developing asthma or allergies later on.
But the biological benefits aren’t just for babies either. Their loving mothers also enjoy several benefits. After carrying the baby around for nine months, moms are anxious to return to their normal pre-pregnancy state and breastfeeding helps with just that. It burns unnecessary calories helping you lose weight faster and releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps your uterus return to normalcy as well. Breastfeeding has also been found to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis in women.
But perhaps the most important benefit stemming from breastfeeding is the forging of a loving and caring bond between mother and child. These moments of bonding during maternity help the child trust you and feel safe in your presence. One of the reasons why they instantly stop crying sometimes when picked up by their loving mothers.
Although you can use a combination of breastmilk and formula milk, it is highly recommended by medical associations worldwide that you exclusively feed your child breastmilk until they are 6 months old. This means anything except breastmilk is a big nono, even water! Since this is the only thing your baby will be living off of, he/she will need to be fed around 8-12 times a day.
This can be strenuous at times as you will have to be at their beck and call around the clock. After 6 months, you can start feeding your baby solid food like fruits and vegetables or grains but keep it in circulation with breastmilk which you should keep feeding them at least until they celebrate their first birthday.
Breastfeeding can be easy once you get the hang of it. The tricky part is getting your baby to latch on. Just get into a comfortable position, both for you and the baby. Stroke his/her lower lip with your nipple. The baby will instinctively open his mouth. Cup your other hand around his head and gently bring their mouth closer to your nipple honing it in the center of the mouth above the tongue. Take care that your baby isn’t bending their neck to reach the nipple and is instead lying in a position directly facing your nipple. Once his/her lips close around your nipple you will feel a slight tugging sensation which indicates the beginning of the suckling process. As
the baby eases off, gently insert your pinky into his mouth and pull on the lower law to unclasp the suction and pull back. Once finished, air your breasts a little bit to prevent sore nipples. It is worth reiterating here that comfort is key. Find as many pillows, headrests, and/or footrests you need to get into a comfortable position and delve into this beautiful phase of motherhood.