The first couple of months after delivering the baby are nothing that anyone can prepare you for. Every mother-baby equation is different, their bodies, needs and patterns change radically over the course of the first year. The initial weeks will all be about multitasking; sneaking in some sleep time and juggling between other children if any and the household chores. Breastfeeding is no doubt a beautiful, most fulfilling and rewarding duty of the mother but it comes with its own set of surprises that can test any mother’s patience and drive her crazy.
The self- doubting is second to nature for every mother this makes things even harder for her like always thinking that her milk may not be enough for the baby, although there are some scrumptious breast milk cookies available in the market to profusely increase milk supply. But for that, a mother needs to have proper breastfeeding support from a nutritionist, doula and other family members to make this journey as smooth as silk for both the mother-baby duo. The feeding part is the most worrisome for a nursing mother as there’s no way to be sure of how many ounces the baby has drank and how much ounces he actually should.
Although the elders in the family might have some good suggestions but to be honest the things have changed a lot since you were an infant so those ways might be mundane and won’t work well now. Nowadays doctors and doulas advise mothers to feed the baby on demand rather than on the scheduled feed timings; this will make the baby happier and the milk flow more abundant. Milk supply supplements are great but if you have a good rapport with your baby’s demand then things like breast milk cookies and other supplements can be excluded from the routine, which trust me is going to be quite demanding already.
The first few days will all be about getting through with that hour, sheer survival will be your goal. Making sure the latch is not only good and secured but the baby stays on it, the milk supply is plentiful and when this getting-to-know-each-other period is through other questions and concerns start to pop up. Here we have a complete guideline for the first year of breastfeeding and what should be expected of it. Hopefully you will get a good idea about what is in store for you and how you can get through all this with flying colors.
The First Few Days
In the first couple of days the breastfeeding will be a bit painful and you won’t be producing a deluge of milk. In fact the first milk that will come out from your breasts will be just a few tablespoons of some thick, yellow liquid called Colostrum. This milk is produced in the last part of pregnancy and it contains some amazing nutrients and antibodies for the infant to make him survive the world. The new born baby’s stomach is marble sized at this point and a few tablespoons is what will be required for him to feel full and happy.
The First 2 Weeks
Within the first 3-5 days your milk will start coming in and the let down reflex will be fully operational. It’s a very pivotal time to build up the supply of the milk, for the child’s healthy weight gain. Mothers must nurse and pump regularly to develop the demand and supply relation which will ensure that there is enough milk for the baby to nurse. Not only will it help to increase milk supply it will also allow the baby to develop a good latch and both mother and baby can get more comfortable with this whole process. Be aware of breast engorgement at this time as your body will produce ample amounts of milk in the initial days but soon it will regulate itself with the demand.
In the first month you will witness your infants’ first growth spurt, but it won’t be in-your-face kind of growth, rather it would be quite unnoticeable. A proof of this can be the way your baby will be glued to your breasts will demand up to 12-15 feeding every day. This increase in the demand often tricks the mind of the mothers to believe their milk supply isn’t enough. Often mothers become worried and start on with milk supply booster to aid the supply, that’s where the lactation experts and doula’s come in to guide through this journey of doubts. You will probably also witness a dip in the weight as well around this time but don’t worry it’s just a glitch, a transition time for the baby to get a hang of nursing.
By this time the baby must have aced the latch but if you feel that your breasts aren’t drained properly or they hurt after the feeding session, the baby’s latch is still not perfect. You must have found the perfect nursing positions that suit both you and the baby. The urge to feed and the need to nurse will be in total sync with each other and a routine will be set. This ensures a constant weight gain for the baby and he can hit his second growth spurt, so be ready for a marathon of feeding sessions.
This period of breastfeeding is the most draining I feel, as the baby is not introduced to any solids yet; the appetite has increased marginally, along with more developed taste buds, hearing and sight sense resulting in a very distracted and hungry baby. But this time is ideal to slim that waistline as the more you nurse the more you lose weight, yes trust me. The nursing time will reduce as the young one can now suckle the same amount of milk in a much shorter span.
Around this time, mothers start familiarizing solids to the babies and the breast milk slowly starts to wane. Be prepared to get bitten by the over excited, happy and enthusiastic baby. Introduce solids slowly and try incorporating breast milk with it as after six months breast milk has many other benefits that help the baby develop better cognitive skills and immune system.
Breastfeeding journey teaches every mother different things as their experiences are different. But one thing all mothers can vouch for is the fact that it’s the most beautiful bonding time between every mother and baby. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition a mother can give to her child to despite many hardships mothers must give this to their child.