Giving birth to a new life can be overwhelming – you’re new to this role and are only getting to know motherhood, while still recovering from the wounds of delivery. The first week can be confusing if you have never breastfed before. Read our advice to get off to the best breastfeeding start:
When does a mother start lactating?
The production of milk in a mother starts when the infant begins sucking on her nipples. The act of sucking initiates the release of two hormones known as, Prolactin and Oxytocin, which are responsible for milk secretion.
Maintaining the right feeding posture:
It is important for the baby to be held in a comfortable position so that the nipple and mouth are in one line.
- Initially, the baby should face the mother when breastfeeding, preferably above the umbilicus to avoid pain to the mother, especially in case of an operative delivery.
- It is advisable for mothers to lift their breast using four fingers. Make sure the baby’s chin is resting on the under surface of the breast with the lower lip everted or folded outside.
- The mother should ensure that the areola is offered to the baby along with the nipple, as the latter may lead to nipple soreness, acting as a deterrent to breastfeeding.
- In case the neck of the baby is positioned in the crook of the elbow, the head will not wobble. The baby’s arm on the feeding side will hang down and not come in the way of feeding. It is important that the mother is relaxed and has an easy hold on the baby.
- Forward bending will lead to nipple soreness, discomfort, and pain in the back and neck.
The truth is, babies are very intelligent, and if the mother persists, they learn to feed well, irrespective of the position! Every mother and her baby are unique, and the final decision is always of the mother. However, this overview may help to decide.
Article by Dr. Chidambaram Ramakrishnan,
Senior Consultant Paediatrician, New Medical Centre, Pondicherry