You may be invited to put the baby to your breast in the delivery room. Although your breast milk won’t appear for two to four days, the baby still will find the nipple and nurse through his or her rooting reflex. Immediate nursing isn’t just for the baby’s welfare.
Nursing stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, which helps to con-tract the uterus, forestall hemorrhage, and promote the return of the organ to its normal size.
According to figures reported to the U.S. Surgeon General, 61 percent of American women now plan to breast-feed their babies, and the figure is more than 90% among certain population groups and in certain parts of the U.S.
- Even nearly half the women returning to work outside the home said they planned to nurse their newborns. These figures are all considerably higher than during the decade of the 1960s, when breastfeeding was at its low point.
The pendulum has swung strongly in favor of breastfeeding, and most authorities would agree that this natural method of infant nourishment has benefits for both mother and child. Still, some women prefer not to breastfeed and others feel themselves unable to do so, or quickly stop.
And the American Academy of Pediatrics, while strongly endorsing breastfeeding, has noted that children can grow up healthy without human milk.
Like many other aspects of childbearing and rearing, there are strong and emotional arguments on both sides, and in the end breastfeeding is a matter for individual decision-or rather, one to be decided by mother and father jointly. Listen to both sides before entering the hospital, and make up your mind for yourself.
You may feel strong pressure from family or friends to breast-feed or not to breast-feed; in some hospitals and communities it may be simply assumed that you will do so.
Don’t be swayed by others. Instead, think out for yourself how breastfeeding may affect your and the baby’s life. And feel free to change your mind and stop nursing if the experience is less than successful.
Should I Breastfeed or Not?
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages breastfeeding as a matter of policy but adds: “Normal growth and development are possible without it.” Many babies have been formula-fed from birth and have thrived on it, you may have been one of them. Obviously, adopted babies whose new mothers have no milk supply, also grow up healthy.
Some women strive valiantly to breastfeed but aren’t successful despite their best efforts. Others simply don’t feel able to breastfeed or don’t wish to do so. Some feel they’ll be tied down by breastfeeding.
There’s another important reason some couples today favor bottle-feeding: it includes the father. Bottle-feeding gives parents an opportunity to share equally in this important part.
In these cases, the hospital nurses will introduce the baby to formula-feeding and show you how to give the baby a bottle, so that once you’ve gone home you’ll be fully prepared.
Whether you feed by breast or bottle, be sure the baby gets plenty of affection. Cradle, nuzzle, talk to, and allow the baby to cling to you for support. Love and the emotional bonds of parenthood are at least as important as the nutrients contained in the milk.
Human Milk Is For The Human Infant; Cow’s Milk Is For The Calf.
With those words, the late nutritionist Dr. Paul Gyorgy once summed up the pro-breastfeeding side of the continuing controversy over the comparative value of breast milk and its most common substitute.
Even the commercial manufacturers of formula acknowledge that breast milk is the most appropriate nourishment for newborns. And despite conscientious efforts, manufacturers never have been able to duplicate breast milk, although their products contain all essential nutrients.
But Are Breast-Fed Babies Healthier?
They certainly are in less developed countries, where hygiene, water purity, and refrigeration aren’t up to Western standards. In the U. S. the picture is less clear, with some studies seeming to show fewer health problems among the breastfed, and others showing no difference in the health of breast vs. formula fed babies when such variables as economic status are considered.
The La Leche League International (llli), the organization that has done most to foster the return of breastfeeding in the U.S., firmly advocates breastfeeding for infant health reasons and cites these purported advantages:
1.) Fewer Infections
Breast fed babies appear to have fewer intestinal infections and fewer respiratory infections, according to research conducted by several investigators. There also is said to be less diarrhea, spitting up, and constipation.
Breastfeeding seems to protect against enter colitis, a condition that is common among bottle-fed babies. Natural immunity to polio, measles, mumps, and other viral infections appears to be prolonged among the breast-fed.
2.) Fewer Allergies
Eczema and other common skin rashes of infancy are less frequent among breastfed babies, the La Leche states on the basis of several research studies. The breast fed babies also have fewer allergic sensitivities in later childhood and adulthood.
Of course, those babies who are breast-fed exclusively also are free of infancy’s most common allergy, a sensitivity to cow’s milk.
3.) More Consistent Growth
Human milk is utilized more quickly by the body, one reason breastfed babies are fed more frequently than bottle-fed babies. Breast milk also provides the exact nutrients, in the proper quantities, that the baby needs for growth. Because breast milk is digested easily, it can be used immediately.
Other doctors question these conclusions, saying that carefully designed studies have failed to support them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), however, has suggested that bottle-fed babies may have more problems with obesity later a concern in overweight America. The AAP statement said that formula-feeding parents may push babies to consume the full amount offered, which can pile up unnecessary ingredients the body cannot use immediately, and lead to poor eating habits in adulthood.
How to Start Breastfeeding Your Newborn in 6 Steps?
Before the milk itself arrives, the substance colostrum will drain from the nipple, and it will continue to be an ingredient in the breast milk for about 10 days. If you’re not planning to breast feed, your doctor may give you an injection to dry up the milk.
- You’ll probably begin nursing the baby well before you have milk to deliver.
- Lie on your right side and place your right arm over the baby’s head or under it, whichever is more comfortable.
- Use your left hand as a steering hand.
- Pull the baby toward you until his or her check touches your breast near the nipple.
- The baby will turn toward it instinctively, but you can give a little assistance by holding the nipple between your thumb and forefinger and guiding the baby toward it.
- Lift your breast from beneath, so the nipple is directed toward the mouth, and see that the baby takes the brown area around the nipple into the mouth as well.
- Then pull the baby’s feet toward your body so the angle allows him or her to keep the nose free.
If you nurse sitting up, choose either a low, comfortable chair with arms or the corner of a sofa. Remember, you’ll be there awhile, so arrange yourself in a relaxed position that takes the strain off the muscles in your arms, neck, and back. A rocker is often a good choice.
- Sit well back in the chair, and place a pillow under your elbow on the feeding side (or double a pillow under the baby so that he or she can reach your breast without your bending forward).
- Hold the child in the crook of your elbow in a semi sitting position, guiding the baby toward the nipple with your free hand.
- When you change breasts shift the pillows and support to the other side.
- When the baby has finished or you’re changing breasts, gently press your breast away, inserting your little finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth to reduce the suction on the breast.
- Don’t yank the baby away from the breast; this may cause sore nipples.
If the baby shows little interest in feeding or begins to doze, stroke the mouth or cheeks to stimulate the rooting reflex. If you can’t wake the baby with gentle handling, don’t worry; it won’t hurt if he or she sleeps through a feeding.
- At first, your baby may not show much interest in feeding.
Appetite usually picks up when the milk itself arrives after a few days. As you gain more confidence, too, the baby may begin to eat more, because you will produce more milk. Nurses may suggest (or even automatically provide) a supplementary bottle of formula.
Breastfeeding advocates discourage this practice because they say the baby becomes accustomed to the easier feeding by bottle and because the mother’s milk supply is affected. The less you feed, the less milk you have and the more chance of sore or fissured nipples.
Like many aspects of mothering, breastfeeding is an individual matter. You’ll probably work out your own techniques after a little practice. Usually, it’s a good idea to offer both breasts at each feeding.
- Start the baby on one side, then stop for a rest or a change of diapers, then switch to the other breast.
- At the next feeding, first offer the breast used last.
- You might attach a small safety pin to your bra to remind you which one it was.
How Frequent Breastfeeding Should Be?
Babies need frequent feeding because of their body size. Breast-fed babies may need to be nursed more than bottle-fed babies because they absorb their milk more quickly.
Newborn babies may need to be fed every 2 hours, with as many as 8 to 10 feedings a day. After about one month, babies are usually taking food every 3 hours; at 2 to 3 months, approximately every four hours. Every baby is different, however, because each has its own needs and appetites.
By the time babies are three months old, most of them sleep through the night after their late evening feed, but don’t even consider dropping the night feed until your baby indicates her willingness by sleeping through.
Some babies are gourmets and some are “barracudas”. The gourmets nurse daintily, seemingly savoring every drop, while the barracudas greedily latch onto the nipple and never let up. That’s true whether the baby is breast fed or bottle-fed. Babies’ eating habits, like those of adults, are strictly individual.
- Babies will tell you when they are hungry. In the hospital, he or she may be brought to you for feeding every four hours, but that interval is set more as a convenience for the staff than for any nutritional reason.
Breastfed babies usually want to be fed more often than their bottle-fed contemporaries, because breast milk is assimilated more quickly. Fed on demand, a breast fed baby usually will nurse every 2 to 3 hours, sometimes with one longer interval during the day.
How much depends on how soon the baby is satisfied. You’ll soon be able to gauge that for yourself. About 3 to 5 minutes on each breast is a good beginning while you’re in the hospital and until your nipples have become conditioned.
Later, you’ll probably offer the first breast for about 10 minutes, the second for at least that period and perhaps longer. Don’t worry that you won’t have enough milk for the baby.
Nature has its own self-regulating mechanism. The more milk the baby takes, the more the mother supplies. If you have twins, the body produces enough milk for twins. If the baby’s appetite drops, the milk supply drops, too. If it drops too far, the baby will nurse more often and production will pick up again.
About a week after your milk comes in, you may lose the full feeling in your breasts, and the spontaneous leaking of milk may stop. You may think you have lost your milk. But this is simply evidence of supply adapting to demand. As nursing begins, there may be an oversupply of milk until the baby has established a daily quota. Then the supply drops to meet the demand.
At first, even though your breasts feel terribly full, you may find the baby is dissatisfied, cries, and turns away from the breast. That’s because the breasts are so full the area around the nipple is swollen. The nipple then is depressed and cannot reach the baby’s hard palate, which it must do in order for the baby to feed properly.
You may correct this problem by hand-expressing milk from the nipple until the breast reaches a more normal configuration. Nurses can demonstrate hand-expression, or you may try it for yourself:
- Hold the nipple between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze gently, but do not pull. Remember that hand-expressing milk also affects future supply.
Your milk supply is governed by what is called the let-down or milk-ejection reflex. It’s a psychosomatic reflex, affected by how you feel. If you’re anxious about your ability to nurse, this tension interferes with milk supply and the amount the baby can receive.
Doctors say anxiety is the leading cause of unsuccessful breastfeeding. On the other hand, confidence and eagerness to breastfeed enhance the milk production.
What Are the Let-Down and the Rooting Reflex?
When your baby nurses at the breast, the pituitary gland in the brain is stimulated to release two hormones: prolactin and oxytocin.
- Prolactin activates the actual manufacture of milk in the milk glands
- Oxytocin is responsible for passing the milk from the milk glands to the milk reservoirs behind the areola.
This process happens within seconds and is known as the let-down or draught reflex. You may feel this reflex very powerfully: in fact, the very sight or sound of your baby may trigger it off, and milk may actually shoot out of your nipples in anticipation of feeding.
The first few times you put your baby to the breast she may need some encouragement and help to actually find the nipple. Cradle your baby in your arms and gently stroke the cheek nearest the breast. This will elicit the rooting reflex. Your baby will immediately turn towards your breast, mouth open and ready.
If you put your nipple in now, she will happily clamp both lips around the areola and settle down to nurse. Many babies lick the nipple before they take it into their mouths. It sometimes helps to express some colostrums as an added incentive.
Whether you feed by breast or bottle, baby’s meals will consume time. At an average of 30 minutes per session, you’ll devote 3 full hours to 6 or more daily feedings.
You won’t have difficulty recognizing when it’s time for a feeding. Even before the baby is fully awake, you’ll hear fussing a restless moving m the crib. Next will come a sucking, slurping noise as the baby tries to get fists into mouth and, succeeding, gnaws on them.
- Even if you’re fast asleep, your subconscious will pick up the baby’s signal. In fact, some nursing mothers say the baby’s first cries unconsciously start the milk let-down reflex.
Round-the-clock feedings usually continue for approximately one to three months. Then the baby may begin to sleep through one of the feedings, lengthening that particular nap to six or more hours.
Your baby may be erratic for a time, missing a feeding, then reverting to the old schedule for a night or two, then missing it again. You may try to induce a longer sleep by providing an extra large feeding in the evening or by waking the baby for feedings during the day, so the rest at night is a longer one.
Bottle Feeding Your Baby at Home
It may not be so easy to breast feed at home as it was in the hospital. You’ll be faced by interruptions and conflicts when the baby’s demands interfere with your other obligations. Many a nursing mother feels overwhelmed and gives up the project. One doctor recalls a mother whose milk dried up when she was welcomed home by a week’s accumulation of dirty laundry!
For your part, this period calls for perseverance. It’s a difficult time, for the baby’s appetite may vary widely, leading you to feel inadequate and uncertain about your milk supply.
How to Prepare Formula for Bottle-Feeding?
- The concentrated formulas are mixed 1:1 with water.
- The powdered formulas are mixed 2 ounces of water per each level scoop of powder.
Never make the formula more concentrated by adding extra powder or extra concentrated liquido. Never dilute the formula by adding more water than specified. Careful measuring and mixing ensure that your baby is receiving the proper formula.
If you make one bottle at a time, you can use warm water directly from the tap rather than boiled water. This method saves you the time of warming or cooling down the formula. Most city water supplies are quite safe.
If you do not have good water, either boil it for 10 minutes (plus one minute for each 1,000 feet of elevation) or use distilled water until you child is 6 months of age. If you prefer to prepare a batch o formula, you must use boiled or distilled water and close follow the directions printed on the side of the formula. This prepared formula should be stored in the refrigerator and must be used within 48 hours.
If you don’t have a dishwasher or aren’t certain about your water supply, you may wish to follow another method.
- Wash and rinse the used bottles, nipples, rings, and caps by hand, then fill each bottle with the prescribed amount of water.
- Cover with nipples and caps, and boil in a sterilizer for 25 minutes.
- After the bottles have cooled, remove them from the sterilizer, and store them at room temperature until needed.
- Then add formula, cap, shake, and use without heating.
An advantage to this method is that you open formula only as necessary.
- After a bottle has been used, rinse the formula from it with clean water.
- Remove and rinse the nipples, squeezing water through them to remove scum or butterfat from the holes.
- When ready to prepare formula, wash bottles, nipples, caps, and nipple covers in hot, sudsy water, using a detergent, which cuts better than soap does.
- Use a bottle brush to clean the insides of the bottles, and a nipple brush to cleanse scum or dried formula from the nipples.
- Also wash the measuring pitcher, can opener, tongs, and other utensils, rinsing everything in hot, clean water.
- With soap, wash the top of the can containing liquid formula and wash well.
Your Step-By-Step Guide to Bottle Feeding
- Follow These Steps:
- Measure the prescribed number of ounces of warm water into the graduated pitcher.
- Add a full can of concentrated formula, or specified amount of powdered formula, and stir with the long-handle spoon. Always add concentrated or powdered formula to the water.
- Pour the mixture into the clean bottles – about one more ounce per bottle than you expect the baby to drink.
- Put nipples, rings and caps on bottles loose so steam can escape.
- Place the bottles on the sterilizer. Add about 3 inches of water.
- Bring the water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and allow it to boil gently for 25 minutes.
- Remove sterilizer from heat, and allow to cool until you can touch it.
- Remove the lid and cool the bottles gradually by adding cool water. (Gradual cooling keeps scum from forming.)
- Remove bottles and tighten caps.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Before feeding, warm the bottle by heating it in a small saucepan of water, by placing it under the hot water faucet for a few minutes, or by using a bottle warmer. Shake a few drops on your wrist to test the temperature. It should feel pleasantly warm, not too hot or cold.
How to Store Prepared Baby Formula?
Bacteria grow rapidly in milk. Don’t give the baby an unfinished bottle of formula unless he or she is definitely hungry again within an hour.
Be sure to refrigerate the formula as soon as it has cooled after sterilization. It will then keep as long as ordinary milk. Canned formula must always be refrigerated after opening; cover the top with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. You might mark it with date and time.
Visitors and Bottle Feeding
You may not want many visitors during the first few weeks you are breastfeeding. Company and excitement can hold back the milk flow and result in a less than satisfactory feeding. Guests shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the nursing schedule. Don’t delay the feeding more than a few minutes.