Breastfeeding

1. Basic Notions

Here are some breastfeeding basics that you may find helpful.

Shortly after giving birth, the woman starts a new phase of her life, the childbed period, which usually lasts between six to eight weeks.

During the postpartum period the women’s body begins to recover its normal functions. The first changes appear few days after childbirth: the uterus shrinks, the bruises of the perineum or vagina begin to heal. The entire recovery process may last between two to four weeks.

Breastfeeding is primarily controlled by a pituitary hormone called Prolactin, that produces the milk secretion and is maintained by the baby suckling. When the milk is coming in, the breasts become full, firm, warm, and painful. The term used to describe this event is “milk fever”. This phenomenon is normal and lasts from 24 to 48 hours. During this time, stopping the breastfeeding only for few days may result in the complete loss of the milk.

Mothers are traditionally required to spend a period of 10-12 days in confinement after childbirth; today the new mother is confined to the home only for 24 hours.

2. Rational alimentation of nursing

A rational alimentation of nursing is very important both for the baby and for the health of the mother. The meal of a women who breastfeeds must be composed of fresh food easily digested, rich in vitamins and tasty dishes. Overnutrition must be avoided, as it causes digestive disturbances which can affect the newborn. In the first 1-2 days after birth, the rational alimentation consists in vegetable and meat soups, milk, stewed fruit, soft drinks, bread and sweets. Gradually, the new mother will proceed to a full diet.

It has no scientific proof that a large quantity of liquids would stimulate milk production, drinking too much fluids can produce an excessive congestion of the breasts.

Breastfeeding offers many benefits to the mother and her baby. Besides offering all the substances needed for growth and child development, breastfeeding is the most convenient for the mother.

When you breastfeed, milk is always ready prepared for the baby, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize or to warm in the middle of the night. The essential things for a hygienic feeding are the constant washing of the breasts and of the baby hands with water, cutting and folding the nails. So, maintaining the hygiene of the source of milk requires first of all regular cleaning. The hands of the women who breastfeeds must have fingernails cut short and before each sucking they will be well washed with soap and brush. It is recommended not to hold the child to the breast more than 10-15 minutes , otherwise the long-lasting suckling may cause irritations of the nipples. In case the secretion of milk is too abundant and the mother has the impression that her breasts have not been cleared it will squeeze the breast with a special pump sterilized by boiling. The custom of squeezing the breasts with bear hands is dangerous as it can result in infection. Throughout the period of breastfeeding, the breasts will be maintained in bras of cloth, which can be easily washed and cooked.

Women who breastfeed are expected to get as much bed rest as possible during the postpartum period. Keeping the mother away from any stressful activity allows for the body to heal in the appropriate manner.

baby, breastfeeding, breasts, days, milk, mother, new, period, pregnancy, women