Pregnancy can be quite mind-boggling especially if you are a new mother. There are various things involved in the process right from the time you conceive till your baby is born. But it does not just end there. Once you have given birth is when your real responsibilities start, one among which is breastfeeding.
Hence, to help you carry on your responsibilities better, here are a few facts about breastfeeding that you should know-
Breast milk is healthier for your baby
Breastmilk not only serves as a source of nourishment for your baby, but also adds to its long-term health. It contains vitamins, fats and proteins necessary for the baby’s growth, in the right measure. Besides, it also contains certain antibodies that cannot be engineered and is also much more digestible than any baby formula.
Breast milk strengthens the baby’s immunity, improves IQ and also lowers the risk of several health disorders.
Breastfeeding benefits the mother as well
Apart from benefitting the infant, breastfeeding brings all kinds of benefits for the mother as well. Women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy which breastfeeding helps you lose by burning extra calories. This activity also helps lower the risks of chronic ailments among women, such as breast and ovarian cancer in the long term.
Breastfeeding also aids the production of oxytocin in the mother’s body which in turn is responsible for bringing the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size and also decreasing uterine bleeding post birth.
Keep yourself well-fed
As the mother of a newborn, you are its constant food supply, which is why you need to take good care of yourself. It is very important that you stay well-hydrated and fed. You must drink at least 64 ounces of water every day and take your calcium and vitamins too.
Rest and relaxation is equally important for relieving stress and easing you up. Adequate sleeps, warm showers, and deep breathing are a few ways you can help yourself.
Nursing can also cause cramps
The hormone, oxytocin, released as a result of breastfeeding, also causes uterine cramps in women which may last from a couple of days to a few weeks’ time. However, you shouldn’t be worrying about it as it is perfectly normal to feel cramps post birth. You need to ensure that your baby receives enough milk. Cramps aid the uterus in shrinking down, thus helping you lose weight.
To relieve yourself of the cramps, consider using a heating pad or hot-water bottle.
Find yourself the right-sized bra
Your breasts will not only grow in size post pregnancy but may also be itchy, sore and discomforting quite often. Hence, to comfort your back and breasts and to keep the latter from sagging, you need to find yourself the right sized bra.
Look for one that has bands fitting just below your breasts, and cups that are supportive but not constricting. Since underwired bras will only add to your misery, consider avoiding them. If you end up confused, seek the help of a friend or the healthcare support lady.
Engorgements are a part of it
It is quite commonplace among breastfeeding mothers to experience full breasts also referred to as engorgements. This usually happens around the time when milk comes into them, that is three to five days post giving birth. However, this uncomfortable state soon adjusts itself as the milk supply gets in sync with the baby’s demand.
In case of swollen breasts, you can take help of breast pumps to feed the baby. Switch breasts after 15-20 minutes of feeding and take hot water baths for relief.
Look out for infections and other breast issues
Many women also come across breast infection and other disorders in the breastfeeding stage. Mastitis and Thrush are a few such problems. Mastitis is caused by bacteria and has symptoms such as red and tender breasts, fever and other flu like symptoms. Taking antibiotics can help cure mastitis. Thrush on the other hand is an infection in the breast and is caused by yeasts. This can also spread to the baby’s mouth when it feeds from the infected breasts.
If you feel uncomfortable or experience some sort of abnormality, visit your doctor for help.
Breastfeeding seems like a big challenge in the beginning, but with time it starts feeling natural. Empowering yourself with the right information, maintaining proper hygiene, going for routine checkups,and taking good care of yourself and your baby etc. are a few ways through which you can make it easier for yourself.