By Sherri Kuhn
One of the very first decisions a new mom makes is whether or not to breastfeed her baby. Breastfeeding can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a mother and baby, and one of the hallmarks of attachment parenting. Here are some of the basics you need to know about nursing your baby.
If your delivery was without complications for you and baby, most doctors will have you try and breastfeed your baby soon after he is born. Early nursing sessions are a chance to bond, but also a signal for your body to begin producing milk. The first milk your breasts will produce — called colostrum — is important for babies because it contains antibodies and has a laxative effect that helps your baby pass his first stools. More mature milk will start to come in around day three or four, and will appear whiter in color than the colostrum.
Proper positioning of your baby will help her latch onto the nipple correctly. Find a comfortable place to sit and bring your baby close, so that she is facing directly at your breast. Many moms find it comfortable to use a nursing pillow to help support the baby’s body, but even a regular pillow can be helpful. Your baby can either be positioned across your body or in a “football” hold with her legs wrapped around the side of your body. Try nursing several different ways, until you find what works best for you.
Probably the single most important element of breastfeeding is helping your baby to latch on properly. Begin by gently touching your nipple to baby’s mouth, encouraging her to latch on. As your baby’s mouth opens, gently bring her closer until she closes on the nipple. Once she is latched on, she should begin feeding. If she doesn’t seem to be getting enough milk or the nursing is painful, release the latch and try again.
One of the things many moms love about breastfeeding is the convenience. No matter where you are, you can always find a place to nurse your baby when he’s hungry.
Celebrities like Beyonce and Maggie Gyllenhaal have been spotted nursing their babies in public. Many restaurants and shopping areas have designated nursing rooms for mothers, or you can use a blanket to help cover your baby while he’s nursing.
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