4. Methods Of Breast-Feeding
While nursing the baby it is best to sit up—not slouched—in a comfortable chair or cross-legged on the floor. Aim the breast downward as milk flows best downhill. To eliminate slouching bring the baby up to the breast rather than the breast down to baby.
Put the breast into the baby’s mouth with as much of the areola in the baby’s mouth as possible. This helps the baby latch on better and get the milk out more easily and at the same time you won’t get sore nipples. Merely putting the nipple in the baby’s mouth will cause him to chew on the nipple with his gums in an effort to get milk out. Aim the nipple upward in baby’s mouth holding breast, up with hand with thumb on top. When baby is first born, it is more difficult for him to hold onto the breast and he needs your help.
Be sure to press the breast down just a little bit away from the baby’s nose so that he can breathe. The fullness of your breasts could smother him.
If baby still acts hungry after you’ve emptied both breasts (usually about ten minutes on each side), he may merely want your company. A good baby carrier can help so you can resume your other duties. This provides the motion and closeness that the baby was used to in the womb.
Don’t try to pull baby off of breast when still sucking. This will be painful. Release the suction by gently pressing in your breast on both sides of baby’s mouth.
When baby falls asleep in your arms while you nurse him, don’t just ly him down by himself. Ly down with him for awhile with your nipple still in his mouth. Then remove nipple and continue lying down with him. Then get up very slowly so as not to disturb him. The baby suddenly misses the presence and warmth of mother if not done gently and slowly and may awaken.
Babies like to be snuggled firmly and closely to mother while breast-feeding. This makes them feel secure and loved.
A baby’s natural reflex is to suckle the nipple if its mouth is brought close to it. Bring baby’s legs close to you angling baby so he can breathe. If baby still has trouble getting the nipple, hand express some milk first and let him taste it to create an impulse in him to begin nursing.
When baby cries, it doesn’t always mean that he is hungry. Sometimes merely turning him from one side to another will stop him from crying. Other times he may want cuddling or motion. Don’t always assume he is hungry and immediately push the breast in his mouth. This could create a problem later in life where he seeks food for security.
4.1 How Often to Breast-Feed—Overfeeding, Normal Feeding
Babies need only be breast-fed three times a day for the first day or two following birth. A normal, healthy baby may only awaken that number of times during a twenty-four-hour period. A baby should never be disturbed from his sleep to nurse.
By about the fifth day after birth to the second week baby should feed at about four-hour intervals during the day. A good schedule is at six a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. Never feed baby at night. Nighttime is a time for sleep, not for the burden of digestion and elimination. It may be difficult at first to not nurse at night as baby might awaken, but once you get a routine established baby will follow it.
Shelton recommends merely turning your baby from one side to the other if he cries. If this does not work, perhaps walking baby will help.
Most mothers, especially new mothers, have a tendency to overfeed. They seem to think that whenever baby cries, he is hungry. In fact, some women dislike their baby’s crying so much that they get into the habit of pushing the breast into baby’s mouth every time he cries. This can be detrimental to baby. Overfeeding, such as this, inhibits function and retards growth and development.
Shelton recommends that following the second week after birth baby be cut back to three feedings a day. Of course, with this amount of feedings your baby will not be the fat little butterball that is considered so healthy in this society. But he will be much healthier and will develop and mature more quickly. He will develop good eating habits later in life as a result. In fact, most bad eating habits begin during infancy.
How long should baby nurse during each feeding? That depends entirely upon the flow of milk from the breast. Sometimes the baby will be thoroughly satisfied after only five minutes on each breast—sometimes it may take ten to fifteen minutes. Watch baby to see if he seems satisfied.
Besides creating fat, slowly-developed babies with bad eating habits, overfeeding causes baby to suffer from indigestion, gas, intestinal colic, diarrhea or constipation, stuffy noses, skin rashes. Overfeeding causes a frequency of urination and bowel action so that the mother is constantly changing diapers. Even at night when baby (and mother) should be sleeping, he is busy emptying his bladder and bowels.
Another common problem among infants is hiccoughs. Hiccoughs are the evidence of undigested residue. Their purpose is to eject the overload.
Most babies have regular hiccoughs and mother usually just stuffs more in—either water or sugar or both. Hiccoughs are also a result of overfeeding.
Other common complaints are drooling and spitting up so that baby can be seen wearing a bib as regularly as he would a diaper. Teething can be a painful ordeal if baby is overfed. A baby who is fed only what he needs and when he needs it does not have this problem.
Most doctors will say that baby should gain about a half a pound of weight per week for the first several months. This is an incredible amount and it is only fat that will eventually have to be lost as fat is merely toxins.
Most midwives or alternative doctors will recommend nursing your baby upon demand. But this also is not good advice as baby does not always know what amount is best for him. He needs to be trained in good eating habits— they don’t necessarily come naturally. Shelton says, “In all nature there is not another, example among mammalian species where the female permits her young to feed upon demand., All of them exercise control over the nursing of their offspring….”
Oftentimes the cries of pain a baby, lets out because of intestinal distress from overfeeding are mistaken for cries of hunger and baby is fed more. The breast becomes like a pacifier and baby equates it with security. Most of these overfed babies will sleep off these feedings like a drunk sleeps off his binge. Their lives become a round of eating, vomiting, sleeping. Most people consider this a normal infant’s life though.
After all the abuse an infant receives in infancy by overfeeding, his digestive organs may never function normally. He may have dyspepsia later in life and will be more susceptible to disease.
The three-feedings-a-day plan, although it may seem cruel to some of you, is definitely adequate. Many Hygienists have proven this with their own children. Their children grow faster and develop better.
They sleep better at night and give their parents less anxiety and require less attention as they’re rarely complaining or sick.
The newborn possesses the power and ability to digest and assimilate, easily and continuously, only the amount of food necessary to produce normal growth. And you’ll know that when you see it.
4.2 How Long To Breast-Feed
The normal nursing period of mammals, and that includes humans, is directly related to the time it takes for their young to develop. Mammals that grow rapidly and mature early have short nursing periods. Likewise, mammals that grow slowly, such as humans, have long nursing periods.
Shelton has divided the periods of feeding in a person’s life into three parts. The first one is the infant period. During this period, the only food necessary to sustain normal life is breast milk. This period lasts until the infant has a mouth full of teeth—not just one or two teeth.
The next period is the transition period (discussed in next section on feeding) where baby is fed both breast milk and solid foods. This period begins when baby has the anatomical and physiological equipment (full mouth of teeth and adequate digestive juices) to digest solid foods and it ends with weaning from the breast.
The third and final period is the adult feeding period. This begins with weaning and continues until the end of life.
Most books and articles on the subjects of how long to breast-feed recommend feeding solids by the time a baby is three to six months old. They say as soon as baby begins getting teeth he is ready to handle solid food. This is obviously not so—how can anyone chew with only one or two teeth? So mother mashes, chews, and blends baby’s food so that he may swallow it. But why? Breast milk is already in a form that baby can handle. When baby is ready for solids, he will have the tools to handle them.
Many doctors or books will advise mothers not to rely solely on nursing for her baby’s nourishment once the baby reaches nine months to a year of age. They say mother’s milk is no longer nutritionally sufficient to baby’s needs and they need to supplement it. But why would nature do such a thing?—make baby’s food insufficient before he is ready to deal with other foods. If mother is healthy, her milk is healthy.
The human infant is helpless much longer than any other animal. Therefore, there should be a longer nursing period. By about the age of three most children are ready to wean but some may wean earlier and others later.
By about the age of two a child has most of his teeth and has digestive enzymes to break down foods properly. By now mother’s milk has insufficient amounts of iron and other nutrients as milk has already done its duty. This is a good time to include fruits and nonstarchy vegetables into the child’s diet. However, this does not mean abruptly ending breast-feeding. Combine the two for as long as seems right for both you and your infant.
I realize that nursing babies for long periods such as three years, as a rule, is not an acceptable act in this culture. Many people will frown upon you and make snide remarks about it being sexual as the child is so old. Don’t let this disapproval cause you to prematurely wean your child. Avoid situations and people that make you feel uncomfortable about nursing your toddler. Just remember you’re raising your child as nature intended—in the best way possible.
- 1. History Of Infant Feeding
- 2. Importance Of Breast Feeding
- 3. The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding
- 4. Methods Of Breast-Feeding
- 5. Feeding Solid Foods
- 6. Feeding Under Abnormal Conditions
- 7. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Simplicity of Infant Feeding By William L. Esser
- Article #2: Indigestion in Babies By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: The Long Nursing Period By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton