Especially among new mothers there are great doubts about motherhood and, fundamentally, about breastfeeding. We try to resolve them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and continue along with complementary feeding until 2 years or more if the mother and baby so desire. The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, for both mother and child. Therefore, the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is very important.
It is very frequent that doubts or problems arise with breastfeeding, especially during the first days, and support for mothers from the beginning is essential. There are hospitals with IHAN accreditation ( Initiative for the Humanization of Birth Assistance and Lactation ) where they adopt practices to support breastfeeding from birth. Mothers can also receive help through support groups throughout the geography or through lactation consultants.
Although there are many doubts that may arise, we will try to resolve some.
Is my milk enough?
Milk production in the mother is governed by the law of supply and demand, the more the baby demands the more milk is produced. The organism is able to gradually adapt to these needs since, for example, a one-month-old baby does not drink the same amount of milk as a five-month-old baby.
It is essential to achieve a successful lactation that the initiation of breastfeeding occurs early, ideally before the first hour of life, during skin-to-skin contact and that we ensure that the breast grip is correct. A correct grip will make the child express milk adequately, increasing milk production in the mother. Furthermore, the mother will not feel pain during breastfeeding.
Some parents may feel distressed because they don’t know if the baby is eating enough, especially early in lactation. Newborns experience physiological weight loss in the first days of life that can reach 10-12% with respect to birth weight; the weight then stabilizes until recovery begins. The pediatrician will monitor the weight to detect excessive weight loss early. In addition to good weight gain, there are other indicators that can help assess whether the newborn is eating enough. A child who is fed correctly is usually alert at the beginning of the feeding, being calm and sleepy at the end, In addition, he makes frequent urination and stools that will increase in number throughout the first days of life. A newborn from the 3rd to the 5th day should make 3-5 urinations and 3-4 stools and from the 5th to the 7th day 4-6 urinations and 3-6 stools, the latter liquid and yellow.
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If you think that you do not have enough milk and that your baby is not eating properly, consult your pediatrician before introducing formula milk so as not to interfere with breastfeeding. You can also get help through a lactation support group or a qualified lactation consultant.
Does my baby need something else?
During the first 6 months of life, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended; therefore, the baby does not need any other food. You also don’t need to drink water since breast milk contains more than 80% water. In warmer times there may be an increase in the baby’s demand by taking more feedings, some short, when she is thirsty.
Starting at six months, it is recommended to start complementary feeding, continuing with breastfeeding until two years or more, whenever the mother and child so wish, and there is no maximum time limit to continue breastfeeding. .
What does it mean on demand?
As its name suggests, breastfeeding on demand involves feeding the baby when requested, forgetting about the clock and schedules. The most common is that the baby performs more than eight breastfeeds a day, with ten to twelve being more common, although this depends a lot on each child. Just as we do not eat the same amount of food at breakfast as at lunch or dinner, the same thing happens with the breast, the baby will not eat the same thing in all feedings, taking some longer feedings and others more. Cortitas.
We must leave the child on the chest, without worrying about the time, until he drops it or falls asleep, this is usually the time when this chest will have emptied, although we must say that it never empties completely. Subsequently, the second breast will be offered, although sometimes one breast is sufficient.
To achieve breastfeeding on demand, we must, especially in the first days of life, be attentive to the signs of hunger of the baby. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Previously, the newborn can move his head from side to side, open his mouth or make a sound. Later, he will move more and more, make sounds, or put his hand to his mouth. Watching for these signs will help us meet baby demand early.
Can I keep breast milk?
We can extract milk from the breast both manually and with a breast pump to administer it to the baby or keep it later. There are many indications that may make it necessary to express milk, including offering breast milk to the infant in the absence of his mother, maintaining or increasing milk production, to empty the breast and stimulate production when the baby is not. breast effectively, among others.
We should never use the pump as an indicator of the amount of milk produced, as it will be less efficient than the baby. In addition, it is common for small amounts of milk to be obtained during the first extractions, which will increase progressively with practice. If we are going to extract punctually to, for example, go out for a few hours, the ideal shot will be the first in the morning, always after the child has eaten, since in the morning the chest is fuller than at late afternoon.
After extraction we can store and preserve it according to our needs. To store it we can use freezing bags of breast milk or plastic containers for food use if possible without bisphenol A (BPA). If we are going to use it in the short term, refrigerating it in the fridge can be a good option since the milk can be kept in perfect conditions for approximately 5-6 days. If we are not going to use it in the following days, it is best to freeze it. It can be stored in a combi- type freezer that we have at home for approximately six months.
Can I eat everything if I am breastfeeding?
In general, the nursing mother can eat any food. Ideally, you should have a diet that is as balanced and healthy as possible, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, white fish and quality proteins.
There are foods like garlic that can slightly change the smell and taste of breast milk. This is positive since it is believed that it can condition a better subsequent adaptation of different flavors during the introduction of complementary feeding.
The lactating mother should consume a moderate amount of drinks that contain caffeine because it passes into breast milk and at high doses it could cause nervousness and irritability in the infant.