General Practice 2022

How to breastfeed: breastfeeding guideção for beginners

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How to breastfeed: breastfeeding guideção for beginners
How to breastfeed: breastfeeding guideção for beginners

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, such as increasing connection, reducing colic and strengthening the immune system. In addition, it is also considered the best option for feeding from birth, as breast milk contains all the important nutrients for growth and development.

Breastfeeding should be continued at least until 6 months of age, although it can be extended until 2 years of age or as long as the baby and mother want. Although it may seem like a simple process, breastfeeding often causes a lot of doubts and can even become frustrating, especially for new moms. There are also a number of problems that can arise along the way, such as cracked nipples, which can make the mother more despondent.

That's why we've created this essential guide that brings together the most important steps to breastfeed correctly, as well as some tips that will help you avoid the most common problems. See more about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Step 1: Noticing when baby is hungry

There are some signs that help the mother to realize that the baby is hungry and needs to breastfeed. The most common are:

  • The baby tries to grasp any object that touches the mouth area. So if the mother puts her finger close to the baby's mouth, she should turn her face and try to put her finger in her mouth if she is hungry;
  • The baby looks for the nipple, especially when he is on the mother's lap;
  • Baby sucks fingers or holds hand in mouth;
  • The baby is restless or cries and the cry is loud and loud.

Despite these signs, there are babies who are so calm that they wait to be fed. Therefore, it is important not to leave the baby without food for more than 3-4 hours, putting it on the breast even if it does not show these signs.

Breastfeeding should be done within this range during the day, but if the baby is gaining adequate weight, it is not necessary to wake him up every 3 hours to feed at night. In this case, the mother can only breastfeed once during the night until the baby is 7 months old.

Step 2: Adopt a comfortable position

Before placing the baby on the breast, the mother should adopt a comfortable position. The environment should be calm, preferably without noise, and the mother should keep her back straight and support it well to avoid back and neck pain.

Some of the positions that the mother can adopt to breastfeed are:

  • Lying on the side, with the baby also lying on the side, facing the breast;
  • Sitting in an armchair with the back straight and supported, holding the baby with both arms or with the baby under one arm or with the baby sitting on one of the legs;
  • Stand with your back straight.

Whatever the position, it is important that the mother feels comfortable and the baby should be facing the mother and with the mouth and nose at the same height as the breast. Discover the best positions to breastfeed your baby.

Step 3: Put the baby to the chest

After being in a comfortable position, the mother should position the baby to breastfeed and should take some care when positioning the baby. First, the woman must touch the nipple to the baby's upper lip or nose, making him open his mouth wide. Then, the baby should be moved so that he can grab the nipple and the areola of the breast, instead of taking the breast to the baby.

In the first few days after delivery, the baby should be offered both breasts, staying about 10 to 15 minutes in each one to stimulate milk production.After the milk is let down, around the 3rd day, the baby should be allowed to suckle until the breast is empty and only then offer the other breast. In the next feeding, the baby should start with the last breast offered, so that it completely empty, stimulating the production of more milk. Check out other tips to increase breast milk production.

Step 4: see if the baby is breastfeeding well

To see if the baby is able to suckle correctly, the mother must observe some signs during the feeding. These are:

  • The baby's chin touches the breast and the nose is free to breathe;
  • The baby's belly is leaning against the mother's belly;
  • The baby's mouth is wide open and the lower lip is turned out, like the little fish's;
  • The baby takes part or all of the areola of the breast and not just the nipple;
  • The baby is calm and you can hear him swallowing the milk.

The way the baby takes the breast during breastfeeding directly influences the amount of milk the baby ingests and, consequently, promotes weight gain. In addition, if the baby is not latching properly, there is also an increased risk of cracking the nipples, which causes pain and clogging of the duct, resulting in a lot of discomfort during feedings. Cracked nipples is one of the main factors in breastfeeding abandonment.

Here's how to fix cracked nipples and other common problems.

Step 5: Identify if the baby has had enough milk

To identify whether the baby has breastfed enough, the mother should check that the breast that the baby suckled is emptier, becoming slightly softer than before. Another option to confirm that the breast has emptied is to press close to the nipple to check if milk is still coming out. If the milk does not come out in large quantities, leaving only small drops, this indicates that the baby has breastfed well and managed to empty the breast.

Other signs that may indicate that the baby is satisfied and with a full tummy are slower sucking at the end of the feed, when the baby spontaneously lets go of the breast or when the baby is more relaxed and sleeps on the breast. However, the fact that the baby falls asleep does not always mean that he has been fed enough, as some babies become sleepy during a feed. Therefore, it is always important for the mother to check whether the baby has emptied the breast or not.

Step 6: remove the baby from the breast

To remove the baby from the breast, without risking injury, the mother must place her little finger in the corner of the baby's mouth while he is still breastfeeding, to break the suction vacuum and make him the baby lets go of the nipple. Then just remove the baby from the breast.

Step 7: Burp the baby

Finally, after the baby is fed, it is very important to burp him so that he eliminates the air he swallowed during the feeding and does not gulp.For this, the mother can place the baby on her lap, in an upright position, leaning against her shoulder and gently patting the back. It can be helpful to put a diaper over your shoulder to protect your clothes, as a little bit of milk is common when your baby burps.

What is the best time to breastfeed

As for breastfeeding schedules, ideally, breastfeeding should be done on demand, that is, whenever the baby wants. Initially, the baby may need to breastfeed every 1h 30 or 2h during the day and every 3 to 4 hours at night.

Gradually your gastric capacity will increase and you will be able to hold a larger amount of milk, increasing the time between feedings. Understand how baby's stomach size evolves over time.

When to stop breastfeeding

Knowing when to stop breastfeeding is a common question for practically all mothers. The World He alth Organization recommends that breastfeeding be exclusive until the baby is 6 months old and that it is continued until at least 2 years of age.The mother can stop breastfeeding from this date or wait for the baby to decide not to breastfeed anymore.

From 6 months onwards, milk no longer provides enough energy that the baby needs to develop and it is at this stage that new foods are introduced. At around 2 years of age, in addition to the baby already eating practically everything that an adult eats, he will also be able to find comfort in situations other than the mother's breast, which for him initially represents a safe haven.

See when and how to introduce new foods from 6 months onwards.

Important care while breastfeeding

Mother should take some care during breastfeeding and he althy lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Eat properly, avoiding spicy foods so as not to interfere with the taste of milk. See how the mother should eat during pregnancy;
  • Avoid alcohol consumption, as it can pass it on to the baby, harming his kidney system;
  • No smoking;
  • Do moderate physical exercise;
  • Wear comfortable clothes and bras that do not squeeze your breasts;
  • Avoid taking medication.

If a woman becomes ill and has to take some kind of medication, she should ask her doctor if she can continue breastfeeding, as there are several medications that are secreted in milk and that can harm the baby's development. Check out a list of the main remedies that should not be used during breastfeeding.

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