Breast feeding is a very personal journey for every mom. We all have our own personal experiences, stories, learnings and growth. Even moms who used combination feeding or exclusive formula feed would have their experiences with breastfeeding. This is because, awareness of the importance of breast feeding has increased multifold and almost all parents do try to opt for breast feeding as their first option for their baby’s nutrition and opt for other methods only when they face some issues with breast feeding or have special requirements.
For me too, the first time around, there was a huge struggle during the initial days. Am I lactating or not? Why can’t I even figure that out… Is my baby latching… is she getting enough as per her needs… ouch that hurts… I don’t think I can do this, but I will sound like a mean mom if I say it aloud… this is so tough… I went through all these emotions. And I was lucky enough that my mom understood what I was going through kept telling me that all my emotions and thoughts were completely natural. She also used to sit with me through my feeding sessions during the initial days when my hubby was not around, and the emotional support too was really very helpful.
Breastfeeding and brain development
It is a known fact that breast milk is the best option for infants, it is easy to digest, provides all essential nutrients for growth and helps build immunity as well. But did you know that it also plays a very important role for the brain development too.
Breast milk contains the key ingredient- DHA. DHA is an important nutrient for growth, development and maintenance of the brain tissue. The positive effects of breastfeeding for brain development are greater the longer the baby is breastfed. And combined with natural sources of vitamin E, this provides a wonderful way to help with infant cognition and overall brain development.
This awareness on important factors that help in brain development is exactly what Abbott #FeedIQ aims to spread amongst all new parents and patents to be. Infant brain development and cognition is dependent upon the mother’s nutrition during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, the baby’s nutrition once they start eating as well as brain stimulating exercises.
Tips to help new moms with smooth breastfeeding
Here are some easy tips that will help new moms to get into a smooth breastfeeding routine
Relax and keep the anxiety away
Most new moms get very anxious when they start breastfeeding. Being a new experience, along with so much advise and concern from everyone around it becomes very overwhelming. Some aunty will comment on how much your kid is crying and maybe you are not producing enough milk, while someone else might say that you are eating all gassy foods which makes your baby colic and that’s why she is crying so much. All these comments along with the raging hormones can just cause so much anxiety. And this anxiety is what sometimes affect the milk supply.
Here are some tips that will help you keep worries about your supply at bay, thus reducing all anxiety around it. And it is a good idea to ignore all uncalled-for comments and advise.
While myths around foods that cause colic or cold and other such things are not based on any research, that does not mean that nutrition during breastfeeding is not important. There are certain foods and nutrients recommended during breastfeeding that help with the overall growth and development for the baby as well as help the mother stay healthy. Also, there are some foods like fenugreek, coconut, dates, jaggery, oats, fennel that help improve supply while breastfeeding.
Mothers loose ample fluids while breastfeeding and thus it is very important to consume lots of fluids and stay hydrated. I remember how my water consumption almost doubled during the years I breastfed my babies and so make a conscious effort to intake ample fluids, it could be just water or even juices, soups etc.
One common problem that many mothers face while breastfeeding is sore nipples. And this often gets painful and sometimes to the extent of causing wounds and bleeding. So, to prevent this, start moisturizing your nipples right from the 3rd trimester using a good nipple cream. Most of the good nipple creams available are completely safe for the baby and so you can use them without worry of harming your baby.
Good awareness about breast feeding even before you start feeding helps a lot when you have to start. Also, make sure you discuss all your doubts and queries with your doctor or lactation expert as this support goes a long way in helping you with your breastfeeding journey.