By: Katy Siwirski
Disclaimer: Please speak with your doctor to configure if you and your body are secured and ready to breastfeed.
Pregnancy season is in full swing, and it’s never too soon to begin educating yourself on the concept of breastfeeding. Is breastfeeding the right way to go for me and my baby? Do I need to be careful with my diet, for the safety of the baby? When should I convert from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding? How will I know when my baby is full? Through a series of interviews, I was able to gather some tips and advice from various mothers that have breastfed their little bundles of joy.
My first interview was with Rachel. She specifies that you can ensure if your baby had enough milk by the amount and frequency of wet diapers. The baby should also be gaining weight. Most babies will unlatch from the nipple when they are full. When it comes to food, spicy and gassy foods can carry over into breast milk, causing the baby’s tummy to be upset. Beverages can also carry over into breast milk, which means that you should eliminate alcohol from your diet during this time. If you do end up having a few drinks, you should use the “pump and dump” technique, to avoid any harm to the baby. When it comes to bottle-feeding, she states that “introducing baby to a bottle is different for everyone. If you are returning to work, it’s necessary to have that available for feedings. I was fortunate to be able to stay home, so it wasn’t a concern. Introducing too early can cause ‘nipple confusion,’ so try to hold off until breastfeeding is well established.” Newborns will cry when they’re hungry, and they do an action called “rooting.” This is when they open their mouths and turn towards the mother’s body, looking for a nipple. Rachel states that a huge benefit to breastfeeding is that it’s free! The body is a great supplier of food for the baby. It also helps with weight loss because you are continuing to ear for two. Finally, Rachel states that it’s a challenge, at first. Always do what is best for you baby. You always have the option to pump milk, so that other family members or siblings can also feed the baby to gain that bond with their little one.
My next interview was with Marina. She states that babies will stop eating when they are ready. Some babies eat more less often, others may eat less more often. She emphasizes that any kind of dairy bothered her son while breastfeeding. Due to a lack of milk production, she introduced her baby to a bottle after a month or two. She states that “breastfeeding is the most natural way to connect with your baby, and it also has the most health benefits. If your baby is sick, your breast milk will adapt to whatever the baby has.” Finally, Marina states that breastfeeding is the most natural way to bond with the baby, but ensures that you shouldn’t feel like a failure if you cannot breastfeed.
My next interview was with Sam. She states that she knew her baby was full when they fell asleep or stopped suckling the nipple. She read that foods causing gassiness is a myth, but emphasizes that vegetables like broccoli or brussel sprouts would make her baby gassy. Sam breastfed for about a week, and stopped upon finding out that the baby was losing more weight than they were gaining. She wanted to breastfeed to gain a proper bond with her baby. The lactation specialists say that skin to skin contact helps the body know if it needs to produce more milk. Finally, Sam says to prepare for breastfeeding, in advance. Take classes to better educate yourself, and do any necessary research.
My final interview was with Sarah. She described to me that her baby had a full tummy, upon pulling away from the nipple. She states that it can be difficult finding out which foods cause gassiness and fussiness in the baby. She introduced her baby to a bottle after 3 months. The baby will typically grab for their mother’s breasts to inform them that they are hungry. Finally, she verifies that breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience for the mother and the baby.
A woman should never feel ashamed for breastfeeding her baby, whether it be in the comfort of her home, or out in public. Take classes, do online research, or seek advice from friends and family to properly educate yourself as to whether or not breastfeeding is right for you, or not. The human body can do amazing things, and it is crucial to take the right steps moving forward, if you wish to breastfeed your newborn.