Tips To Ensure A Comfortable And Healthy Lactation Experience For New Moms
Lactation plays an important part in a new baby’s life. This term refers to milk that is produced by the mother following childbirth. During lactation, the mother provides nutritional substance for the demanding and growing newborn. This process is also referred to as breastfeeding or nursing.
Newborn babies can feed on their mothers until ages 3, or sometimes much longer. Some mothers prefer to stop with this process only after a year, where they rather provide alternative methods to give the baby still the necessary nutrients.
The alternative methods some mothers prefer to use often include buying supplementary powdered milk. This depends on the mother and her preferences.
After pregnancy, the mother will continue to produce milk for as long as she is feeding the child.
Why is lactation important for the baby?
Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way of feeding a newborn baby, because:
Breast milk is produced by the mother and contains the perfect combination of nutrients for the baby.
It has not undergone any processes of “purification” or removal of certain nutrients.
No added flavorings or preservatives.
It comes at the right temperature, which is more suitable for the baby’s delicate digestive system.
Breast milk is not only healthy, but it is also full of disease-fighting supplements that protect the baby from oncoming illnesses such as stomach viruses,ear infections, lower respiratoryproblems, including meningitis. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning nothing else but milk) for the first six months have been observed to offer the most protection for the baby. Studies show that breastfed children have a 20% lower risk of dying between the ages of 28 days and one year, compared to those who were not breastfed. It is clear that breastfeeding has benefits.
The most important immune factor responsible is the substance known as “Secretory immunoglobulin” which is present in large amounts within “colostrum” the first milk produced by the body for the baby, this substance is present in lower amounts in more mature breast milk.
The substance forms a protective layer on the baby’s nose, intestines, throat and mucous membrane. This protection against illnesses lasts long after the breastfeeding stage has ended. Breastfeeding also protects babies from developing allergies.
Pressures and challenges for breastfeeding mothers
Although breastfeeding is recommended for any newborn baby, this might not be possible or easy for all mothers. Here are some challenges to look out for:
Public breastfeeding: This causes much discomfort among many mothers. Use cover-ups, or transfer your breast milk into a bottle and carry a flask with hot water to slightly warm up the milk in time for feeding.
Low milk supply: feed your baby as often as needed, this encourages milk production.
Flat and inverted nipples: when nipples cannot protrude via stimulation, or a nipple that has retracted inward instead of being erect. To solve this, a mother can wear a breast shell (also called milk cups) over the nipples inside the bra.
Sore nipples: when the baby does not take the nipple deep enough into the mouth, this can cause discomfort and pain. Yeast infection on the skin may also develop in some mothers. The mother needs to adjust the baby into the most comfortable position and treat the nipple with nipple cream and nipple shields to provide soothing after breastfeeding.
There are unnecessary pressures regarding breastfeeding, especially where and how it should be done. Society places very high and unreasonable standards on who should do what where. This leaves many new mothers under a lot of pressure regarding this matter. Some give in to these expectations, while others decide rather do their own thing.
The pressures placed upon mothers who are breastfeeding their child includes:
Whether or not women should breastfeed in public.
Should they cover up while doing it or not?
Judgment from others who think it should not be done in public etc.
In the past breastfeeding was seen as nudity and offending the law. In some cases, women who would breastfeed in public were given a hard time. Some would be asked to leave restaurants, schools, and churches because of that. With our progression in human rights, we can see now that many states have started protecting the rights of women when it comes to breastfeeding. The law today protects mothers who breastfeed in public in close to 50 states, It is natural to breastfeed after all.
Healthy experiences during lactation
All the tips and suggestions are given above and what will still follow below, are vital for a healthy lactation experience. Not only are they important for the mother, but for the baby too. This will ensure the most harmonious interaction between the mother and the baby, and the steady growth of the child too.
Clothing also plays a significant role in how comfortable the mother will be. Wearing loose clothing can save many women a lot of discomforts as their bodies change during that time. Their usual clothing and underwear might not fit as comfortable as before. Getting a sports bra, for example, can be a very physically rewarding investment in the long run.
There are breastfeeding products that can make the experience much more pleasant, such as:
A nursing cover-up.
A nursing pillow.
A breast pump.
Nipple creams, ointment & lotions.
It is up to every woman’s preference as to what they want to go through, and the level of discomfort they are willing to experience. There are ways that can make the experience pleasant and healthy for both the mother and baby. With a couple of tips and including certain accessories, breastfeeding can become a more comfortable experience for both the mother and the baby. So to all mothers out there, make the best (and healthiest) choices for you and your baby.