Breast-feeding is a natural process, but it doesn’t always come easily and I sympathize with women who struggle with it. However, I know that getting good support and giving yourself time to get the hang of breast-feeding can help you succeed and enjoy it. You may find you get hooked on the closeness of breast- feeding, and even if you don’t, you will have given your baby a fantastic start to life. My best tip came from a nurse, who said: “Stuff as much of your areola as you can into your baby’s mouth and hold her firmly to the breast until she gets the hang of it.” It worked for me. At first, you may feel contractions when you feed because the hormone, which causes your milk ducts to squeeze the milk out also makes your womb contract. This only lasts a few days.
There are many advantages to breast-feeding your baby.
It is Nutritious
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs and is easily digestible, so there is less chance of her becoming constipated and more chance of her producing sweeter-smelling diapers.
Your baby will receive antibodies through breast milk, which help protect her from illnesses, such as ear infections, vomiting and diarrhea, urinary tract infections (UTIs), coughs, and colds. Research has found that there is a lower risk of crib death, known as SIDS, among breast-fed babies. It will also help her growth and development and make her less likely to develop allergies, such as asthma and eczema.
Once you and your baby have mastered breast-feeding, it is very easy, as well as practical. It is much simpler to pop out with your baby if all you need is a diaper in your pocket rather than all the paraphernalia that goes with bottle-feeding.
Good for you
Breast-feeding helps your womb contract after the birth and helps you lose weight (as long as you resist eating too many cakes and cookies). Research has found that the longer a woman breast-feeds, and the more babies she breast-feeds, the more her chances of developing breast cancer are reduced.
Although there are some downsides to breast-feeding your baby, it is possible to overcome most of these:
It requires patience
Without advice and support, breast-feeding can be difficult and make you feel anxious and inadequate, so do ask for help from your midwife or find a lactation consultant or group.
It may cause discomfort
Your nipples will almost inevitably get sore in the first couple of weeks. While this is a common side effect of breast-feeding, the risk of it happening is reduced if your baby is latched on to the breast correctly.
It is time-consuming
If you bottle-feed, you can share feeds and have a break.