3. The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding
Breast-feeding an infant is a supply and demand function. The more (and longer) a baby nurses, the more milk is produced. This causes the milk supply to keep up with the growing and developmental needs of an infant.
As explained in the definition of let-down reflex, there is front milk and hind milk. The front milk gets sucked out by the baby which causes a hormone to be released into the mother's body and lets the hind milk down. The hind milk is richer than the front milk and there is more of it. Sometimes when the hind milk lets down it drips out and may spray outward from mothers' breasts. Oftentimes the mere sound of the baby crying, the sight of him, or the thought of him, can cause this let-down reflex.
Sometimes the milk gushes out too fast for the baby to swallow and he may choke a little on it. He usually turns, his head to one side to catch a breath of air. He then gets squirted in the face. Keep a spare diaper or other cloth handy to absorb this extra milk. You may need to burp the baby after swallowing too much milk to prevent upsetting his stomach.
Nursing for just a few minutes on each breast will fail to let down the hind milk in most cases. The baby needs this richer, higher-quality milk in order to ensure his nutritional requirements. Make sure you nurse for at least five to ten minutes on each breast to obtain hind milk.
After a few weeks a new mother will get used to the feeling of the let-down reflex. She will recognize the tingling sensation in her breasts and the full feeling.
More milk will let down when a woman relaxes. If she is tense and upset, only the front milk will come out and baby will be dissatisfied. It is best to wait until calm to nurse.
Colostrum has long been thought of as useless—as a waste product—and yet it comes into a woman's breasts before birth and remains there for a few days following birth. Surely nature made no mistake in putting it there. Colostrum contains half the carbohydrates and fats of regular milk and a newborn has difficulty digesting these. Colostrum is specially adapted to meet the immediate needs of the newborn.
Many women have trouble with their breasts engorging with this fluid (colostrum) after birth. Her breasts may become swollen and sore. To alleviate this get the baby to nurse to express the colostrum. Once the nursing cycle is established this problem will disappear.
Another thing to consider with breast-feeding, especially if for the first time, is prenatal nipple care. Prior to birth "toughen up" the nipples so they won't get tender or sore from baby's sucking. Do not use soap on them as this causes them to dry and crack. To open milk ducts hand express colostrum by cupping breast in hand with one finger above nipple and the other below and then squeeze. Also exposing the breasts to air and sunlight will toughen them.
3.1 Mother's Diet
A mother who eats of fruits and vegetables in their raw natural state will have no trouble producing adequate quantities of rich, healthy milk for her infant. The dairy products, herbal teas, excess drinking of water, etc., that are frequently recommended to increase production of milk in women are not only unnecessary but can be harmful.
Drinking excesses of cow's milk on the part of the mother rather than providing much calcium actually drains the calcium resources of the body. Excesses of fluid consumption cause extra strain on the kidneys to excrete them. Also herbs are irritants and not recommended.
Green vegetables have a high-calcium content and therefore should be consumed abundantly. Fruits are a rich source of a multitude of vitamins and minerals to produce the finest milk in mother.
A diet high in protein can result in excess protein in the milk and could be detrimental to the baby. Nervousness or lack of exercise can also result in too much protein in milk.
The same advice as in the last lesson on prenatal care also holds true while breast-feeding. Eat only when hungry, never overeat (to fullness or beyond), eat only when relaxed and in a positive state of mind, properly combine foods so they will digest most efficiently, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and sleep, breathe fresh air, and get lots of sunshine.
The difference that diet makes to the breast milk is incredible. Breast milk does not remain the same no matter what you eat. It changes quite rapidly according to what you eat or otherwise ingest.
Remember, breast-feeding is easy if you eat well, live an easy, relaxed life without stress, and your family and friends have a good, supportive attitude toward breastfeeding.
3.2 Don'ts While Breast-Feeding
Home > Lesson 56 - Normal Feeding Of Infants; Feeding Babies Under Abnormal Conditions Until Weaning Age
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