A Special Gift
A Special Gift
If a product existed that was free, protected you against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and asthma, came ready to consume (in its own container and at the correct temperature), increased your IQ, was friendly to the environment, and contributed to weight loss and improving your figure that people would stand in line to obtain this miracle product? That product does exist. It is breast milk.
Human milk is the milk made specifically for human infants. It is important to begin breastfeeding as soon after birth as possible. The sooner you start the quicker your milk supply will come in and in greater quantity. Breast milk is made according to the principle of supply and demand, the breasts manufacture as much milk as the baby demands.
The most important part of beginning to breastfeed the baby is proper “latching on” at the breast. It is breastfeeding, not nipple feeding, so make sure that you have approximately one inch of your areola, or the dark brown area around the nipple, in the baby’s mouth. This helps prevent sore nipples and aids in stimulating the milk production or “letdown”. The baby should be skin to skin with mother and be allowed to “self attach."
There are tips that will make breastfeeding more successful:
- Avoid artificial nipples and pacifiers if possible to avoid nipple confusion.
- Nurse frequently, every two or three hours. Breast milk is easily digested, so consequently babies get hungry sooner.
- Make sure to offer both breasts at each feeding , so that they both receive stimulation to continue making milk. Alternating breastfeeding positions helps to prevent one area of your breasts from becoming tender or sore.
Some mothers become concerned by the fact that when you breastfeed you are not able to tell how much you are feeding the baby. Indicators that your baby is getting enough breast milk are that your baby has five to six wet diapers a day, one to two bowel movements per day, and regained their birth weight by the age of two weeks. You should be feeding your baby eight to twelve times in a twenty four hour period.
Mothers also express concern about medication. Caution should be exercised when using medication. Most medications are compatible with breastfeeding but should be checked with a pharmacist, doctor or lactation specialist.
The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department offers a Peer Counseling Program for new breastfeeding mothers.