Breastmilk can rightly be referred to as the elixir of life. It is loaded with nutrients to nourish and nurture a newborn. While we do discuss how important it is to nurse newborns, it is also good to highlight the mistakes that we as mothers tend to do with our baby while breastfeeding. Lavanya P Kesan, parenting expert at Momspresso has highlighted a few errors from which new moms can understand where they have been going wrong and what can be avoided.
You are feeding on schedule
Try not to feed your baby on a schedule. It is easy to go by one, but certain researches state that feeding on schedule has probable chances to decrease your milk supply and reduce the fat content in breast milk. It is good to nurse your baby on demand and understand his/her hunger cues. Sometimes your baby may just want to nurse for comfort. Having a fixed schedule would really not help with it.
In fact, the more you nurse your baby, the more your body understands cues and produces milk. Nurse frequently, as per the infant’s demand, whenever he/she is hungry, as it helps establishing supply.
You think that baby is not getting enough milk
It is so common to not trust your instincts, think that the baby is not getting enough milk and nutrition and blame yourself. Put a stop to those thoughts. It could only cause unwanted stress and turn into a vicious cycle leading to decreased milk supply. Learn to understand baby cues and above all, trust your instincts. If your baby’s weight and poop/pee count per day is good, so is your milk supply. Always ensure to feed as per demand.
You introduce formula milk thinking that your supply is low
This is one of the most common mistakes that mothers tend to do. The new mom’s paranoia about low supply is mostly the reason to introduce formula as a supplement to breast-milk. Irrespective of the breast sizes, be it small or big, mothers have different storage capacities in their breasts according to their milk glands. Also, all babies take in milk in different amounts - even the same baby will not take the same quantity throughout a day. So, do not judge your milk supply based on the nursing durations.
Let the baby take the lead and feed him/her as per his needs. Do not fret about low milk supply and the formula is not a go-to option. Enjoy your feeding sessions as breastfeeding is also more about snuggling with your baby, the warmth and comfort that are involved and the bond that develops between the mother and the infant outside the womb.
You want the baby to feed from both the breasts during each session
Although nursing the baby with both the breasts seems comfortable for the mother (as she may feel heavy or full on one breast and empty on the other), it is actually not necessary to. As mentioned above, let the baby take the lead. If he/she feels full and turns away from feeding on the other breast, it is just fine. Do not force-feed from the other. As long as your baby is growing at a healthy pace, it doesn’t really matter if you feed from one or both the breasts during each session.
More importantly, the baby needs to consume both foremilk and hindmilk from each breast. Foremilk is watery and keeps the baby hydrated whereas the hindmilk is rich in fat and nutrients that is more in calories than the foremilk. Changing sides quickly may result in the baby consuming only the foremilk from both sides and not the hindmilk.
You start using a bottle very early
To make the infant habituate to feeding from a bottle too early is not a good idea. When the mother is beginning to establish her copious milk supply, the regular nursing sessions by the baby would only do wonders in making the milk glands secrete more. As much as the baby suckles at the mother’s breast, her body tends to get familiarised with the cues and aids in good milk supply. Also, if bottle feeding is practised more, the baby might start getting used to it and find it easier than suckling at mommy’s nipples.
Make your breastfeeding journey enjoyable for both you and your baby as it is more an emotion than an assigned new-mom task.
For more tips on breastfeeding, stay tuned to HerZindagi.