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When, during pregnancy, we ask expectant mothers if they have thought about how they want to feed their babies, most of them respond that 'they would like to breastfeed if they can'. Why do we doubt the ability to breastfeed with our breast, but not with the ability of the lung to breathe or the heart to beat? Because we have all heard stories of women whose milk did not rise, or it was cut after a few months, or women whose milk did not feed. Many stories. Forget all of them and make your dream come true: breastfeed your child freely and without pressure.
But if this were true, and breastfeeding went wrong so many times: How has humanity managed to survive so many thousands of years? The answer is easy: because breastfeeding works. Our breast has the capacity to breastfeed our baby (or our babies, if we have more than one). Only a very small percentage of women (less than 10%) can have problems in milk production. So what about all those stories we've heard? Let's see it!
For many years, the recommendations given to new mothers did not favor a good establishment of lactation. They were told that they had to breastfeed every 3 hours, 10 minutes from each breast. Now we know that breastfeeding has to be on demand, that when a baby is hungry they have to be put to the breast without looking at the clock, and that the more a baby eats, the more milk our breast will produce. So these rigid guidelines were not enough to properly feed a newborn, or to achieve a good milk supply, and most ended up turning to formula milk.
Unfortunately, these are concepts that we have very engraved on, so it is common that when a new mother is faced with a baby who asks every hour and a half or two hours, she thinks that it is that she is left hungry, when in reality it is the normal pattern. of many newborns.
Another circumstance that can make us doubt our volume of milk is not noticing the rise (or fall, depending on where you live), that feeling of having the breast loaded with milk before taking it. It usually appears around the third or fourth day of delivery, but it does not occur in all women; Also, if you have a baby who asks every so often, it doesn't leave enough room for that milk to accumulate, it takes care of emptying the breast earlier!
If to this we add that we have a baby who cries a lot (although, what is a lot for you?), Who takes very long feeds, that we have the feeling of being breastfeeding all day, that we are tired because he also asks at night , and that there is always someone who with the best intention asks us why 'we do not give him a little help', we have the perfect cocktail to doubt our lactation.
And it is that the culture of breastfeeding has been lost, and many times we have not shared the raising of other babies before having ours. So we take it for granted that a “normal” baby should ask every 3 hours, take short feeds, last longer at night… nothing is further from the truth! But we don't know that, because we have those old recommendations in our head.
So, know that if your baby cries when he is not with you, he asks every two for three, he does not like to sleep alone, he takes a breast often… he is a normal baby !!! And if he gains weight and pees and poops properly, your milk is most likely perfect for him or her. Still, there may be a few things we can do to optimize our milk supply:
- The first and most important thing would be to ensure a good start to breastfeeding with adequate stimulation the first days. And that means that the baby should breastfeed about 10 times a day.
- Skin-to-skin contact with your baby is crucial, since it makes it easier for you to recognize when he is ready for the next feeding, and it helps the baby to latch onto the breast whenever he wants. In addition, it is more rested for the mother, which is also important for the lactation hormones to work properly.
- If that is not enough, we can resort to expressing milk to increase the stimulation of the breast. You know, the more demand, the more production. You can do this in the way that is easiest for you: by hand or with a breast pump. But keep in mind that the amount you manage to extract is not related to the amount your baby ingests, so do not panic if it comes out too little.
When in doubt, you can go to your midwife or breastfeeding reference professional to make sure everything is fine. And if there is a nurturing or breastfeeding support group in your area, don't hesitate to stop by as well. There you will see other moms with experiences similar to yours, who can give you really great points of view. Happy breastfeeding!
You can read more articles similar to Make your dream come true: breastfeed your child freely and without pressure, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.