Breastfeeding at home after childbirth
When you leave the hospital or clinic, a few days will have passed since the birth and, if everything has gone smoothly and both mother and baby are fine, breastfeeding will have already started.
If the departure went without a hitch thanks to the theoretical and practical support from health professionals after the birth of the child, the return home to the family will allow greater relaxation and intimacy between mother and baby, essential for the continuation of one of the most intense experiences of motherhood: breastfeeding your baby.
The first few times you breastfeed it should always be considered that although the baby is looking for the breast on his own and naturally to feed on, it is important that the mother guides him to latch on in the right way. First of all, it is essential to find the most comfortable position for breastfeeding: the ease or otherwise of placing the nipple and areola in the baby's mouth will depend on this and the baby will also be able to suck correctly without causing pain in the nipple. Many times this aspect is mistakenly underestimated, but it is crucial and often it is precisely due to inexperience and lack of information that breastfeeding can risk becoming difficult, painful, losing all its emotional value and becoming a truly problematic experience.
So first of all the mother must be comfortable, possibly sitting in a comfortable armchair to support her back; alternatively it may be useful to put a lumbar cushion if instead, for example, you sit on the sofa. In this regard, it may also be useful to take advantage of the DreamWizard pillow used to sleep during pregnancy, which thanks to the EPS microsphere padding can be adjusted as lumbar support according to your needs. If you feel comfortable with your legs relaxed, placing your feet on the ground, that's fine, otherwise you can use a small stool, the important thing is that the whole body is relaxed. The newborn should be kept leaning on a pillow and approached to the mother's body which with the forearm and the crook of the elbow supports the little head and with the other arm the back (cradle position). The more comfortable and relaxed the mother is, the better the milk will flow. During the feed, the mother usually feels thirsty, this is the sign that everything is going well, and it is a good habit to keep a bottle of water close at hand and drink to replenish body fluids while the baby sucks.
A great help can be using a specific breastfeeding pillow like FeedFriend, specifically designed to support breastfeeding, the most comfortable for both mother and baby.
Positions for breastfeeding
The recommended positions for breastfeeding are mainly 4 and you can try them all to choose your favorite:
- the cradle position is generally the most adopted by new mothers who consider it natural and comfortable
- the rugby or cross embrace position for younger children and for breastfeeding 2 twins at the same time
crossed, useful when the baby struggles to grasp the breast in the right way
- The lying position is recommended for night-time breastfeeding and for new mothers who have undergone a caesarean section.
How to find out when the baby is well attached to the breast?
- it takes not only the nipple but also part of the areola of the breast into its mouth
- the lower lip is well curved out
- the chin touches the breast
- suck the milk in a steady and regular rhythm
- as the feed progresses, swallow at longer intervals (this is because initially the feeds will be fast and shallow, then slower and deeper)
- the mother does not feel pain in the nipples (a slight discomfort is possible at first, but it is transient and normal)
Breastfeeding after milk flow. What happen?
From 2 to 5 days after giving birth, the milky flow takes place, i.e. the arrival of real milk and this happens regardless of whether the baby was attached or not immediately attached to the breast after delivery; this is because in fact it is influenced by the expulsion of the placenta following which the production of "prolactin" increases, the hormone that stimulates the activity of the mammary gland.
After the arrival of the milk, there are two breastfeeding patterns to follow: breastfeeding on demand or breastfeeding with a fixed pattern
All paediatricians agree in recommending breastfeeding on demand , i.e. offering the breast to the newborn as often as it requires. It might seem very demanding but in reality it is a method that follows a very natural rhythm that settles down in a short time; only during the first weeks is it possible that the little one asks to be breastfed every hour but then as the days go by the tendency will be that of 3-4 hour intervals between one feed and the next. In this period, the mother will have to devote herself to resting to recover her strength, breastfeeding and taking care of the baby, asking dad for support for the household chores; in fact, for serene and problem-free breastfeeding it is very important that the mother is not tense or stressed. Around the third month he will skip the night feed when the newborn will generally have his last meal in the evening around 11pm and then be hungry again around 6 or 7am the next morning, pacing mum and dad who will finally be able to rest better.
As far as fixed-scheme breastfeeding is concerned, it is currently little practiced and little suggested as it forces the child to eat at set times, leaving him to cry if he complains at a different time. Studies have shown that this method is risky over time because it alters the innate hunger/satiety rhythm by which every child knows when he is hungry or full, so much so that even in the case of bottle-feeding with artificial milk, the tendency is to respect the child's requests and not impose established rules. This assumes that the parents The situation changes if the newborn eats less than 6 times a day; in this situation it is always advisable to consult the pediatrician or neonatologist of the hospital.
How long does the feeding last?
The duration of each feeding is established by the baby who will suck the milk as long as he wants. Normally, a maximum time to take on the sufficient quantity of milk is estimated at 30 minutes and during the first 5 minutes the feed is vigorous with a sustained rhythm. Some babies are already full after 10 minutes and it may happen that they stop feeding; there is no need to worry because it is probable that they have already taken the amount of milk they need based on their current appetite and physical needs.
If, on the other hand, the baby sucks little and listlessly and sleeps for more than 3 hours in a row after feeding, it is advisable to wake him up after 3 hours to attach him to the breast and stimulate him at the meal. This happens if the little one has little appetite or is a little lazy: the suggestion is to talk to the pediatrician or midwife or breastfeeding consultant to receive personalized advice should this situation continue over time.
One breast or both for the same feed?
It depends on the mother, as she prefers and as is more comfortable for her: both breasts can be offered by dividing the sucking time to empty them together. This can avoid arriving at the next feed with too swollen and sore breasts. Otherwise you can opt for one breast per feed; it all depends on the amount of milk that is reproduced and the timing.
After the feed
When the baby has finished feeding at the breast, it is advisable for the mother to massage a drop of her milk on the nipple and areola; this will help soothe the nipple that may be reddened, heal some cuts that may have formed and leave that smell of mother on the breast which becomes irresistible for babies even with less appetite. The breast should be left to air dry for a few minutes and then cover the nipples with milk-absorbing cups that can keep them dry until the next feed. It is very important not to have the nipples in contact with a moist surface to avoid any maceration of the skin and the consequent formation of extremely painful fissures which in certain situations can even compromise successful breastfeeding. It is advisable to use super-absorbent cups to be used day and night, individually packaged to be more hygienic and which do not leave odours, perfumes or synthetic and chemical residues on the nipple (which will then go into the baby's mouth). There are various types such as the Nuvita 1202 cups …
Breastfeeding is the most intimate moment between mother and child, a mix of indescribable emotions and sensations, including physical sensations, a secret dialogue made up of looks and attentions that does not exist in any other human relationship. It's the time for mutual discovery that needs silence, tranquility and good advice only from experts. Mothers, mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are warned!