There is a whole lot to be precautious about when it comes to feeding yourself during the pregnancy. The expecting mother has to intake the right amount of nutrients for the baby’s development and as the baby’s comes home with you, that’s when a new journey starts. The baby stays close to you and you will see it growing day by day. This is the time when parents have umpteen safety concerns for infants. One of which is feeding the baby right. The cute little one is so delicate that carrying out the slightest of tasks demands utter safety! When it comes to feeding, gynecologists recommend breastfeeding unless you have other medical conditions due to which you have to go ahead with formula milk.
If you are breastfeeding you baby, this one is a must read for all necessary information.
Why is breastfed milk the most safe form of food for newborns?
- The milk that your body makes is a perfect combination of the nutrients that are essential for your baby’s growth.
- Breastfed milk can be easily digested by the newborn.
- It has antibodies which help the baby’s body fight against certain viruses and bacteria,
- The infant has lower chances of asthma, diarrhea, respiratory illness or allergies.
Also note that when you breastfeed the baby, it is physically very close to you. The skin to skin touch and the eye contact makes your baby feel secure which also fosters the baby’s ability to consume milk peacefully.
Until when should you breastfeed your baby?
Babies should be breastfed for at least 6 months. This can extend upto to the next one year depending upon whether your body is producing enough milk and whether the baby and you are comfortable with the process.
After the first six months you can start feeding your baby with small amounts of other foods like veggies, fruits, grains. However, before feeding any food to your baby, make sure you seek proper medical advice from your doctor.
Breastfeeding benefits for the mother
- You can burn extra calories which would help you shed or maintain your pregnancy weight faster.
- It is also favorable for your overall health since the process releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps bring your uterus size to how it was before pregnancy. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding essentials :
The baby and you would take a few weeks to get used to the breastfeeding mechanism. It, also, is a tiresome process for many. The baby feels hungry and wakes up every 2 – 4 hours. And it requires the mother to certainly keep the following things in mind when it comes to feeding the baby :
- Be Aware :
Observe your baby’s signal of hunger. The baby might fuss, move, make sucking noises, turn towards your breasts or touch your breasts. Try to stay aware of these actions at the right time and feed the baby before it starts crying. Make sure you clean your nipples before nursing the baby.
- Be Patient :
Watch for your baby’s response to nursing. Do not under or over feed. Make the baby suck from each breast. Do not rush the baby through nursing. Give it the time it needs. It might get exhausting but try to maintain calm. Any negative emotion, anger or frustration can be felt by the baby as well. This will prevent the baby from consuming as per its actual need.
- Be Comfortable :
Staying relaxed is vital to breastfeeding. It will promote a better flow of milk. If required, use pillows to support your head, neck, and arms. Go for a footrest, as needed, before you start to nurse.
When the baby and you get an encouraging environment it would be easier for both of you to go through the process.
Foods to eat while nursing
Your food intake has direct influence on your baby’s growth. Knowing what to eat and avoid is the key and what is equally important is to understand that you can eat most of the foods, but in moderation. Do not consume too little or too much. Your body essentially needs Group 1 and Group 2 nutrients for the baby’s growth and to maintain your health. Below listed are the sources for :
Group 1 Nutrients
- Vitamin B1 : Fish, Nuts, Bread and seeds.
- Vitamin B2 : Almonds, Eggs, Fish (which has low mercury), Cheese
- Vitamin B6: Seeds (flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds), Fish, Nuts, Chicken, Bananas, Dried Fruits.
- Choline: Eggs, Chicken liver, Peanuts, Fish
- Vitamin A: Carrots, Green leafy vegetables, Sweet potatoes, Eggs
- Vitamin D: Mushrooms, Exposure to sun, Supplements (if prescribed by doctor), Cod liver oil.
- Selenium: Seafood (crab, shrimps, fish), Seeds, Whole wheat.
- Iodine: Milk, Iodized salt.
Group 2 Nutrients
- Calcium : Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Legumes, Leafy Vegetables
- Copper: Beans, Nuts, Whole grains, Potatoes.
- Folate: Avocados, Beans, Lentils, Green Leafy vegetables
- Iron: Certain fruits and vegetables like pomegranate and spinach, Red meat, Chicken, Seafood, Dried Fruits, Beans
- Zinc: Dairy (pasteurised), Red meat, Eggs, Chicken, Beans, Nuts
You would feel thirstier than usual when you breastfeed. This is normal because of the release of oxytocin. Instead of reaching a certain water goal of 2 – 4 litres, make a conscious rule of having water as and when you feel the need to. Do not keep yourself thirsty at any point in time.
Foods to avoid
- Caffeine and Chocolate
Caffeine impacts your baby’s sleep. Babies take a longer time to metabolize caffeine and it’s highly suggested to avoid caffeine while you breastfeed. Chocolate could also have a laxative effect.
- Cow’s Milk
Many infants are allergic to cow milk and show signs of eczema, vomiting, diarrhea or develop rashes when exposed to cow milk through you.
This would get to your milk’s taste which the baby would certainly not enjoy and do away with having the milk.
- Gassy foods
Foods like beans, lentils, cauliflower etc could cause gas which in turn will result in your baby burping, bloating, passing gas or feeling sick.
What are the most safe positions to breastfeed your baby?
To keep the baby safe, holding it properly while nursing is crucial. Here are few positions you can try :
- Cradle position : Hold the baby in your arm with its head in the crook of your elbow. The baby should face towards you while sucking. Use your other arm to support its head and neck.
- Football position : You might find this one the most comfortable. Tuck the baby under your arm and hold its neck and head in your palm.
- Side lying position : This would be the most used at night time in bed. Lie on the side facing your baby, support its head and neck with one arm and hold your breast with another and nipple into your baby’s mouth.
Breastfeeding is a demanding task to accomplish. You will gradually get a hold of the techniques and prerequisites to breastfeed. We have made sure that you have all information that helps you in case of any query. You can also check out safety dos and don’ts to bathe the baby and to bring the baby to sleep. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking up or following anything new which has unknown repercussions.