For some new mothers, milk may not start flowing immediately after the delivery of their babies.
This is why lactation experts recommend that new mothers should start breastfeeding immediately; within an hour of their baby’s life and continue as often as possible to increase their milk let down.
The very first milk, which is known as colostrum, is very important in a newborn’s life. It is very rich in nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates and has antibodies, which are essential for development of the baby. Colostrum is also low in fat.
In addition, it is easy to digest and has a laxative effect that enables the baby to pass gas. Some health professionals have linked too much gas in a baby’s stomach to colic so colostrum can help to reduce this gas.
How often should a baby breastfeed?
A newborn baby should be fed at least 8 to 12 times or even more every day. Breastfeeding stimulates the production of milk hence the more you breastfeed the more your milk supply increases. Moreover, breastfeeding frequently will prevent breast engorgement which is very painful.
How do I know my baby is hungry and needs to breastfeed?
This is a question that most new moms ask. But the first sign is when your breasts feel extremely full because it means that you have not breastfed your baby in a while. Other signs include baby crying and being restless even when they do not need a diaper change, sucking their fists, and turning their head in your direction when you hold them in a nursing position.
What are the main causes of low milk supply after delivery?
Health professional consider milk supply to be low if it does not meet the normal growth and development needs of the baby.
Some mothers may have low milk supply after delivery due to:
- Baby latching poorly due to reasons such as mother having inverted or flat nipples
- Mother has not eaten well for a while
- Mother having medical conditions like diabetes
- If the baby is affected by the anaesthesia or epidural given to the mom during labour
How do I increase my milk supply?
Fortunately, low milk supply is usually not a permanent situation. There are various ways you can increase your milk supply to meet the needs of your baby.
- Breastfeeding as often as possible.
- Taking enough rest
- Latching the baby properly
- Compressing breasts when baby is feeding to increase milk let down
- Pumping milk after feeding the baby to ensure that the breasts are emptied completely
- Taking lots of fluid especially water
- Eating a balanced diet without skipping any meal
Breastfeeding essentials checklist
- Nursing bras
- Nursing tank tops
- Baby feeding pillow
- Baby Nursing cover/breastfeeding poncho
- Burp cloths
- Pumping bras
- Nipple shields
- Nipple cream
- Breastmilk storage bags
- Lactation cookies