Breastfeeding basics

I’ve been reading a few books about breastfeeding lately and I wanted to note the important things that I want to remember. below are what I feel are the most common and necessary things to know before starting on a breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeed immediately after birth

Although it may be common in the US for babies to be weighed, measured, and otherwise taken away from the mother immediately after birth, this is not conducive to a long breastfeeding journey. As long as the baby is healthy, it is best to allow them to do the breast crawl immediately after being born, in order to connect baby and mother as soon as possible. This will lay a positive foundation for the rest of the breastfeeding experience for both mother and baby.

Feed on demand

This is probably the most important tip I’ve read in terms of maintaining a good milk supply and having a successful breastfeeding experience. Especially in those early days, it’s important to feed your baby whenever they give you a cue that they’re hungry, or even to comfort them or if you are engorged. Many books recommend not comparing your experience to other people’s experiences or keeping a schedule, since each baby is different and may require different things. There are no right number of feeds to give, and some feedings may seem long. Feeding on demand should trigger your supply so you are able to produce enough milk to meet the nutritional needs of your baby.

It’s okay to wake a baby to feed them

Again, this is especially important in the early days. Some babies will not notify you as soon as they want to be fed. However, it’s important to keep your supply up. If this means occasionally waking a sleeping baby in order to feed them, it may be the best thing to do for both you and baby.

Avoid certain foods

Many of the foods on the list below either tend to cause gas in babies or may have strong flavors that babies may not respond well to. These include:

  • Dairy
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Citrus
  • Alcohol
  • Herbal teas
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spicy foods
  • Parsley, peppermint, and sage

Co-sleeping is beneficial

Many of the resources I found said that co-sleeping with an infant makes nighttime feeds much easier. This can lead to a much more successful and long-term breast-feeding experience. Obviously, you want to be safe about it, but if it’s done correctly, it can be a make or break.

Breastfed babies are different than formula fed babies

This is extremely important to remember when people are giving you advice. If their baby was fed formula, they may have vastly different experiences than what you will have if you are breastfeeding. Babies digest formula differently than breastmilk, which enables them to sleep longer, go longer between feeds, can give them more gas, and cause other things that you shouldn’t expect from a breastfed baby. Also, breastfed babies will likely have a stronger immune system than a formula fed baby. This may make it possible to leave the house sooner than typically advised.

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