Hello dear new mom. How are you adjusting to your new world, being responsible for that tiny new born who is dependent on you for everything? I hope you are not overwhelmed, but that you are taking it all in your stride. I also hope you have some support system nearby, your spouse, your mother or mother in law or someone who can help you out?
Today I want to share with you my mistakes and gaffes breastfeeding my half a dozen. I hope you will learn from my mistakes and not repeat them and I wish you all the best as you provide your child with healthy nutrition straight from you to their tummies.
First of all if you have made the decision to breastfeed your child, I want to congratulate you for making the right choice. If you decide to do exclusive, even more awesome, you deserve some accolade my sistah!!! So we are told that W.H.O advises mums to nurse their kids to 2 years of age. I have never done 2 years o I cannot lie. The maximum I have done was 1 year 3 months and it was because it was my first child, so every time I tried to stop breastfeeding and she started yelling, I gave in to the cries. Breastfeeding your baby has many benefits including that you do not have to wash or sterilize any bottles, you do not have to spend a fortune on baby formula, you do not have to fret about the baby wasting the milk you bought for a fortune as there are no leftovers (no pun intended) and you have healthier baby with less medical issues such as constipation etc.
If on the other hand you cannot breastfeed your baby, do not worry or become depressed about it. We do the best we can in any given situation. If you have health implications and your GP has advised you not to breastfeed, it is okay. Feel free to shower your baby with so much love and bond with them while you bottle feed. Everything is still going to be okay. Some babies also do not have a strong sucking reflex and get weak while nursing at the breast, they would prefer a bottle since the flow of the milk is much easier. It is okay to express your milk with a breast pump and store them in the fridge for your baby’s feeding times and you can still have a bonding time sitting with them while you are bottle feeding them with the milk produced by your body. I have heard of some kids who also stop breastfeeding as early as 3 months. What can I say to that? Some mothers do have them right? If your child can be fooled with you putting the expressed milk in a bottle, lucky you, if not, my sister, do not worry, use formula and have your peace.
Now back to the beginning, the decision to breastfeed is something you would have made while pregnant. The first step to take is to prepare yourself for the future work that lies ahead. Remember when babies are new born, they nurse forever and for long hours sometimes as they also get comfort from nursing. we used to be told to start toughening up your nipples before delivery, that it will make things easier a bit. However, recent study shows it is no longer needed, you just need to be prepared on how to help the child latch on well.
Also when you baby arrives, the rookie mistake new moms make is that we think breastfeeding is what we see in the movies. You put your breast in the child’s mouth and the child takes your nipple in and says “Thank you mummy” at the end of it all with a loud burp. Permit me to introduce you to the real world. Most new moms have not prepared themselves for the work ahead, and then we throw in our breast into the child’s mouth without ensuring that we are doing it the right way. At the end of the day, what you have is an upset, hungry and crying baby who has not nursed well and/or a mum whose nipples have been used as a chewing stick by a hungry baby trying to settle hunger pangs.
There is a proper way for a baby to latch on to the mother’s breast in order to feed. You do not introduce only your nipple to avoid stories that touch. When I had my first born I was doing just that and feeding times became traumatic, stressful and inefficient. My body anticipated the pain that was going to course through my body when the baby latched on, and so I froze my body and took a plunge, waiting for my baby who was screaming at the time to open her mouth wide enough for me to throw in my feeding apparatus. What a monumental disaster! I had read also that one was to give the baby breaks while feeding to let the food go down in portions, but I could not comply with that, because it would mean taking the plunge pain every time I had to restart feeding. Please read up on how to correctly insert the areola area of your breast inside your baby’s mouth here and not just the nipple area to avoid the “chewing stick nipple” debacle.
It is indeed necessary to stop your baby feeding from time to time in order to help them digest the food. So you rub your hand across your baby’s back gently in a circular motion while supporting the head and the neck in your other hand. Some people prefer to tap the back gently but this is a process that needs to be done patiently especially before putting them to lie down. If they burp properly, the kids can sleep better; if they don’t burp well, perish every thought of you sleeping well. Do not neglect this important part, and most times, one burp is not sufficient, if the child ate well, you should get more than one burp sound.
Another mistake we make is that we see new moms in the hospital feeding the baby quietly with the dad or family by the side of the hospital bed and everybody going Awwwwnnnnn! It is a lie o. It is strongly recommended to put the child to breast as soon as they are born as the sucking/rooting reflex is inborn, but you need to prepare yourself for the intense pain that hits you as your baby begins to nurse. It is almost as if you are giving birth again. I was almost tempted to return my child to the nurse in the hospital or refuse to feed the baby. I had to call a nurse and then she explained that this was natural and good as it was the sucking motion making my uterus to contract back after delivery. So look at this as your surgery free stomach tightening divine formula to getting back in shape. It is a painful process but we can endure it as it does get better and bearable as you nurse more and besides who wants to keep all that excess flabby skin?
Stay tuned for the next post as we continue on this topic.
picture credits: the internet