Breast milk is the best food you can feed your newborn baby for at least six months, as recommended by both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is up to you whether you wish to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, but being a new mother, you should be aware of the benefits of breastfeeding when making your decision.
First of all, breast milk has all the nutrients that a newborn baby needs to grow and stay healthy. Breast milk promotes a healthy digestive system; strengthens the baby’s immune system; improves IQ; helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); protects against conditions like asthma, allergies, diabetes and obesity; and ensures healthy development in premature babies.
# Get the Right Latch
Breastfeeding for the first time is not always easy. No matter how much you read about breastfeeding, the real experience is different. A maternity nurse or a hospital lactation consultant can show you how to position the baby to breastfeed and whether the baby is latching on correctly. Although it may feel uncomfortable when your baby latches on, it is never painful. If it hurts badly, then you may not have the right positioning.
# Get Comfortable
If you are feeling lots of pain from giving birth, support yourself with pillows. Then, cradle your baby close to your breast. It is recommended not to lean forward to bring your breast to your baby, as it can cause pain, especially soon after delivery.
# Feed from Both Breasts
When it comes to breastfeeding, help your baby feed from both of your breasts. Nurse your baby from the first breast thoroughly, until the breast feels soft and lighter. Then burp your baby and offer the second breast. If your baby is hungry, he or she will latch on to the second breast quickly. If not, start the next breastfeeding session with the second breast.
# Keep Yourself Hydrated
Proper hydration is key to good health, but it is even more important to drink plenty of water while breastfeeding. The milk-making hormones help your body conserve water, so if you do not drink enough water it will not affect the fluid content or volume of your milk. However, if you are not drinking enough water, it can prevent your body from making enough milk. So, increasing hydration does not necessarily increase milk supply but decreasing it tends to decrease breast milk supply.
# Take Care of Your Nipples
After each feeding, allow some of the breast milk to dry naturally on your nipple. Breast milk has antibacterial as well as healing properties that can help prevent sore or cracked nipples.If your breasts leak between feedings, use bra pads and change them often.