Here are some things you need to know if you want to have a successful start at breastfeeding from day 1. No seriously. Come in. Read every word.
Read Time: 6 minutes
After being a victim of sexual abuse in my childhood and teenage years, I never thought my body was capable of doing something so noble, so useful, as nourishing my children from birth and beyond.
This is the reason why I’m a badass breastfeeder, apart from the multitude of benefits breastfeeding provides to a baby (and even a toddler).
My Baby #1 is 2 years old now and we still breastfeed. Not like you think. She eats 3 full meals and two snacks each day, yet we nurse a couple of times in the day. It’s beautiful and it’s called Tandem Nursing. We’ll talk about that later, though.
I am in my third year of breastfeeding as I write this, and I didn’t even have any boobs, to begin with! Needless to say, the size of breasts do Not matter when it comes to breastfeeding.
Isn’t God a genius?! He made nature with so much care, made it perfect.
Here is what you need to know about Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is natural and it is the perfect food for your baby, especially for the first 6 months, which is also known as “exclusive breastfeeding”.
Exclusive breastfeeding means to give your baby ONLY breastmilk for the first 6 months. So no water. No honey, no nothing. Just the liquid gold that is the breast milk.
If you are able to rest during the day, eat nourishing food, and surround yourself with people who support and help you, then that is all the reason you need to be successful at breastfeeding from Day 1.
You start with a great diet and supplements during pregnancy (and of course, after childbirth) for successful breastfeeding.
Pregnancy diet affects your breastmilk supply later. This booklet by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for mothers on what to eat during pregnancy and lactation.
I followed the survival guide for a happy pregnancy, and I Loved being pregnant! Here are some quick stats about my babies:
- My Baby #1 was born 4.06kg, at 41 weeks. Emergency C-section after 8 hours of labor. We breastfed within 45mins after delivery. Continued breastfeeding during pregnancy with Baby #2 and even after she completed 2 years.
- My Baby #2 was born 3.01kg, at 38 weeks. Planned C-section. We also breastfed within 45mins after delivery. She doubled her weight within two months of birth.
NOT Women’s Horlicks.
My OBGYN recommended I take Mothers Horlicks during pregnancy and continue it even after delivery. And MAN! This stuff is SO good.
Mothers Horlicks not only gives you the daily required amount of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, but it also helps increase the baby’s birth weight. Aiming for a baby with a good birth weight is ideal if you ask me. (Taking care of my Baby #2 was so tricky, she was so tiny… )
Whenever my milk supply gets low, I could pump up to 100 ml of breastmilk after consuming just 2 tablespoons of Mother’s Horlicks in warm or cold milk. It’s vanilla flavored so it is tasty if you like vanilla. Who wouldn’t like vanilla?! OK I digress. Let’s move on.
I breastfed my daughters within the hour of C-section.
It wasn’t easy as you think, though.
Breastfeeding on Day 1 is hard work. Babies need some time to practice and learn how to “latch” perfectly. You need to let them practice more by letting them breastfeed more.
The perfect “latch” or you know when breastfeeding is going perfectly well is when you don’t feel anything.
You can and need to start breastfeeding within the hour of delivery.
According to La Leche League International (which is only the world’s biggest NGO that supports Breastfeeding) confirm that for successful breastfeeding from Day 1, the golden window of opportunity is right within the hour of delivery. Your baby will be alert and will latch on right after birth, under ideal circumstances.
The results of my (unofficial) survey validate this statement.
When I meet new mothers I am always curious to know about the exact time when they started breastfeeding. Turns out, the mothers who had trouble with breastfeeding always gave the same answer. They were not close to their child immediately after delivery or started breastfeeding a day or two later. Some did ok, but most did not report a successful breastfeeding story when there was a long gap between delivery and childbirth. Of course, there are ways to bounce back, but that post is for another time.
So, unless the baby requires external support for carrying out important bodily functions, you are good to breastfeed immediately.
I successfully breastfed within the hour of both my c-sections. I was partially anesthetized, so I was awake and alert to get this job done right after delivery. Praise God!
You can breastfeed even after long hours of labor.
I was in labor for 8 hours with my first child.
They don’t allow you any food. With the C-sections, I had fluids pumping into my veins for a day or two. I was nourished, even though the “solid” food came after later. Breastfeeding on Day 1 was still successful.
My Horror Story of Fighting Nurses for Day 1 breastfeeding
I had read about this and so, I was prepared to face any deviant nurses from the hospital. I like to call them deviant because these are the ones who like to coax or even bully new mothers into giving formula milk to newborns.
Formula milk takes a long time to digest and so, bottle babies sleep for a longer time than breastfed babies. With formula, the nurses don’t have to come into the room every 45 minutes to help the new mothers breastfeed. Ok let’s call them the devil because a thought like this is pure evil.
By forcing the agenda of formula to new mothers who can perfectly breastfeed, nurses are robbing the precious times the colostrum from breast could go to the baby. In 4 hours (while the baby sleeps with formula) 2-3 breastfeeding sessions with colostrum are MISSED!
It’s time you appreciated the great value your colostrum can bring to your baby.
“Colostrum is so valuable that even the tiniest bit that you are able to give to your baby will be a priceless gift to him. It truly will be worth any effort you can make to give your baby colostrum.” ~ Le Leche League International.
If you don’t see colostrum after delivery, do NOT be alarmed!
It does not mean you don’t have breastmilk. Just that it is produced in tiny quantities and is immediately swallowed by the baby. It may look transparent so it may be confused with the baby’s saliva.
Fight the People who suggest Formula, to a mother who can breastfeed and the baby who is well hydrated.
Firmly state that nurses have no business offering formula to a newborn when colostrum is seen oozing out of the nipples or the baby had changed so many diapers! The multiple dirty diapers is a sure sign that the baby is well hydrated with just your colostrum.
Say NO to formula.
You don’t have to give your baby formula so that you can rest. Gosh, don’t make that excuse for yourself. You have your whole life to rest. As you grow older, that’s probably the only thing you will do. Rest.
Say NO to formula.
Babies have tiny stomachs and since the breastmilk is digested fast, you need to feed more often. Ideally, babies breastfeed every 2-3 hours (In my case, it was lesser for my Baby#1 and more hours for Baby#2)
… and that is why You don’t need to give formula to “rest” or sleep through those first newborn nights.
Your body will be so pumped with hormones after childbirth, that you may find it hard to stay still anyway. All that adrenaline is there to help you care for your newborn – day in and day out.
Nature is incredible and compensates you for staying up and being brave about breastfeeding your needy new baby.
Your baby may need a feed every 2 hours (more or less).
Yes, it’s true. It’s a hard day’s (and night’s) work.
Pro Tip: Don’t focus on how much sleep you’re getting or not. Focus instead on how it’s all worth it. Breast milk gives the baby all the goodness to thrive!
Your selfless service to your child is the only thing that matters at this moment.
I need you to trust me, and do more research, certainly discuss these matters with your OBGYN. Be encouraged that breastfeeding is nature at it’s best!
What other tips would you add here? Please comment.