Breast Feeding Tips

These tips wiil help you achieve a healthy breast feeding regimen with your infant by preparing properly and following some simple guidelines that will ensure success.

Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can do to start your baby's life off right. By providing your child with an ample dose of important vitamins, nutrients and antibodies you nurture the beginnings of a long and healthy life.

Unfortunately, many mothers are daunted by the perils of breastfeeding and disenchanted by sore nipples and engorgement. This can be avoided understanding your body, baby and the wonder of breastfeeding.

Success begins with preparation""and scrubbing your areola for nine months in order to toughen your nipples isn't the right way to go about it. The best way you can prepare for healthy breastfeeding is to get in the habit of drinking lots of water. Water intake will also help to ensure a healthy pregnancy and getting into the habit now is key.

When the baby is born, it is recommended that she be breastfed at the first available opportunity. That time is up to you and your doctor""whether it be the moment the baby is produced into the world or after the nurses have taken all the vital statistics they must take. Immediate skin-to-skin contact has proven to aid in proper emotional development.

At this point, your milk has yet to come in. When your baby breastfeeds, she is ingesting colostrum (a clear-ish fluid laden with proteins and immunities). This fluid aids in preparing the digestive track for the mother's milk and eventually solid foods. Colostrum also helps to clean the meconium from the colon. Meconium is a black tarry substance that is designed to protect the fetus' intestine from amniotic fluid during the pregnancy.

Now is also the time to teach your baby the perfect latch. The perfect latch is accomplished by teasing your baby's bottom lip with your nipple. This gesture will encourage her to open her mouth wide. As much areola as possible should be offered. Once latched, make sure that very little of the areola shows and that she doesn't slip off and start nursing on the nipple. A curled bottom lip and even protruding tongue are also signs of a good latch.

The latch is terribly important. Just a few minutes of nipple nursing will bring days of irritation. So if it doesn't feel like you're getting it right, disengage and try again. Don't be disheartened if you and your baby take a while to get used to the feeding. Both of you are learning new skills.

Another cause for irritated nipples is improperly disengaging. Instead of pulling the nipple from the baby's mouth, first insert a finger between her lip and your breast to release the suction.

A few days after delivery, your milk will come in. It's common to become engorged during this time. It is also

very important that you do not pump your breast milk to try to alleviate any discomfort. Your body is beginning to regulate your infant's milk intake and to pump additional milk only tells your body to produce more. If extreme pain is persists, place whole leaves of cabbage over your entire breasts. This remedy is known to relieve discomfort.

If you should find yourself with sore or cracked nipples, try to take a few days without breast pads and just let your milk leak. Breast milk has some incredible healing properties and actually acts as a conditioner for the areola and nipple. In fact, it's a good idea to plan on not wearing much the first few days after your milk has come in. Find a favorite t-shirt and forget about the incessant leaking. Let the milk act as a solve. If you must wear breast pads, choose the all cotton type with no plastic backing.

Long-term breastfeeding can be achieved only as long as you and your infant remain comfortable. Changing feeding positions is a good way to enable this. There are three basic positions to try. The first is the cradle position, cradling the infant in your arms. The second position is the football feed. This position is obtained by sitting upright, with a pile of pillows to your side. The baby is inverted and resting on the pillows so that her legs point toward your elbow and her head meets your nipple. Lastly is the side-lying position. This is often the most comfortable and convenient to put baby to sleep. While lying on your side, lay the baby on her side facing you. Prop yourselves up with lots of pillows and relax.

At the end of the first week you'll know that your newborn is getting enough milk if she has six to eight wet diapers and three to five dirty diapers a day. If you are at all concerned, meet with your pediatrician or find a certified lactation nurse to help guide you.

Remember, successful breastfeeding does take practice. You can't expect to be a pro the first go around, but with a little persistence, you will be offering your infant the first step to healthy eating. And that will last a lifetime.

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