Breastfeeding will not always be normal or simple for your infant, especially in the beginning. It may be an incredibly caring, nurturing experience. On the other hand, it might also involve weeping and frustration if nursing sessions are not as expected.
Fortunately, there are ways to know what to expect and how to make the best of this experience. In the next sections, we’ll answer some of the most common breastfeeding FAQs for first-time moms.
Which is better, breastfeeding, expressed bottle or direct latch?
Feeding directly is extremely essential. There are plenty of benefits from doing that. It’s important to establish that the baby’s immune system depends entirely on the mother’s. From the baby’s conception, up until after birth.
Breastfeeding gives the baby direct nutrients that help protect it. If the baby somehow catches something, they can pass the illness to the mother through breastfeeding.
The mom will then build the appropriate antibodies, which then help fight whatever illness the baby is infected with. If you’re not breastfeeding your baby directly, this process will not happen.
This is why breastfeeding or direct latch is generally preferred.
Here is a guide to help your baby to latch on after being bottle fed to avoid nipple confusion.
Breastfeeding vs. formula: which is better
Whether you choose to breastfeed or feed your baby formula, is a major choice. And new parents can get a tad confused about what’s better.
Doctors unanimously agree that breast milk is the safest dietary source for babies. Yet, not all women have that option. It’s highly dependent on the mother’s convenience, lifestyle, and unique medical conditions.
Among the many benefits of breastfeeding is that infections are easily combated.
Infections and hospitalizations in children who are breastfed are lower than in infants who consumed formula.
Also, it’s worth noting that breastfeeding is essential for premature babies. It’s also a great choice when it comes to nutrition and digestive comfort.
Therefore, It’s generally preferred to breastfeed your baby, and only resort to formula when needed.
Do you have to burp a baby after breastfeeding?
Burping is essential for babies who are bottle-fed, but does the same thing apply to babies who are breastfed?
In short, yes. Scientifically speaking, it’s much more likely for bottle-fed babies to swallow more air than babies who feed directly from the latch. That being said, it’s still essential to burp your babies after each nursing session.
When an infant swallows air, the air gets wrapped up in the abdomen. It can be uncomfortable and make your child feel full. Burping is effective in extracting that air.
Do I need to pump at night when the baby sleeps through the night?
Night nursing is certainly good for inventory, but if they’ve been sleeping in the night, is it essential to wake your baby up or just pump?
You shouldn’t wake the baby up to eat if he/she is in an appropriate weight and they’re growing well. Also, if they don’t have an underlying medical condition (for example, jaundice) it’s not that important to wake them up for a feed. Let them sleep and enjoy a little rest yourself!
It’s not important to pump as the breastfeeding mechanism is supply and demand. When you pump, you tell your body to generate more milk, and your baby would most likely want a lot to eat after a long sleep night. It could contribute to excess supply.
If in the middle of the night, you feel tired, simply pump or convey a bit of milk by hand to help.
What does let down mean when nursing?
If you’re one of the people who pump, it’s important to learn how letdowns work. A letdown is when your breasts release milk for your baby (or when you’re pumping, if that’s the case).
You’re not just going to spray milk everywhere you go. Milk remains in your breasts most of the time until the breasts are stimulated by a baby or a pump.
This then triggers the milk letdown hormone, the oxytocin, which is known as the stimulator that then releases the milk from its ducts.
It’s not clear why you spray milk sometimes and why you can get almost nothing other times, even while pumping.
Will my milk supply decrease when the baby sleeps through the night?
Your supply is demand-driven. So theoretically, if the demand decreases, the supply is adjusted accordingly.
If you decide not to substitute the skipped overnight feeding with a pumping session, your body recognizes that you’re using less milk and then, it automatically adjusts to meet a less frequent demand by producing smaller volumes.
Many moms plan to cut night-feedings gradually while others prefer to pump instead. By focusing on regular pumping your body is still stimulated to produce milk as it believes that those night-time feedings are still taking place.
This ensures the continuous production of breast milk and minimizes the likelihood of lower milk supply. Unless you start to eliminate feeding or pumping at night.
How to prepare inverted nipples for breastfeeding
You may notice that your nipples tend to protrude all by themselves when your breasts develop during your pregnancy. If, however, that doesn’t happen, you might need to wear nipple formers.
Before each breastfeeding session, there are some methods that you can do that will make the nipples easier to latch onto for the infant:
- Rolling the nipple between the finger and thumb, so that it will hang out
- Compress your breast with your finger and move those fingertips around in a C shape, to encourage nipples to stick out
- Touch the breast with a cool compress or ice cube to erect it.
If none of the above is working and your baby still fails to feed properly from it, your lactation nurse can urge you then to feed your baby with a nipple shield.
How long can breast milk stay in the warmer?
The milk stays healthy for up to 2 hours if it’s at the right temperature. Your babies can’t drink the milk anymore after that. Breast milk contains both nutrients and bacteria.
The bacteria are kept under control if you pump and store it correctly. However, the milk bacteria begin to replicate after two hours at room temperature or colder temperatures.
Even though there aren’t any established studies to tell how easily bacteria in milk multiply, it’s not worth the risk to attempt to feed your child that milk. Physicians and specialists on lactation believe that it’s risky to give your child the unfinished bottle after two hours.
Can I breastfeed if I’m sick?
You may wonder if it’s safe to feed your baby if you or your child are ill. The good thing is, breastfeeding while ill can have several benefits for both of you.
It may be the last thing you want to do, but it’s safer to continue breastfeeding with virtually every infectious illness.
Your infant won’t contract the infection through breast milk. They’ll consume breast milk which will contain antibodies to whatever ailment you’re suffering from.
It’s because they’re in contact with you and get a daily dose of the antibodies you produce through your milk.
Can I drink coffee, take medications, or eat sushi when I breastfeed?
Caffeine-containing beverages or coffee is moderately safe. Coffee, tea, and sodas that contain caffeine are healthy for you to enjoy in moderation, and that’s according to HealthyChildren.org.
Breast milk usually contains less than 1% of mom’s intake of caffeine. Even if you consume just three cups of coffee spaced every day, little to no caffeine in your baby’s urine can be identified.
Sushi is also safe to eat if you consume it moderately. You should be reassured that sushi that doesn’t contain high-mercury fish is safe for mothers.
However, you need to tread lightly when it comes to medicines. Nearly any medicine in your blood transfers to some extent to your breast milk.
Every medicine must be treated separately since they don’t have the same effect. It’s safe to note though, that nearly all drugs can be taken safely while breastfeeding.
Your healthcare provider could recommend an alternative medication if you’re taking a drug that may be dangerous for your infant.
Breastfeeding is a natural, nurturing experience that all first-time mothers look forward to experiencing. It might take a few hiccups until one gets the hang of it, but it’s nothing mothers can’t handle.
This guide is designed to help you out whenever you feel confused. We hope it answered most of your questions regarding breastfeeding.