16 Nov Are you prepared for breastfeeding as you are for the birth?
It is as important to be well prepared for the period after birth as it is for the birth itself. As a doula, very often, I meet women after birth who tell me “I was so trained for the birth and it was as it was, but nobody ever told me that after the birth it can be even more difficult”.
If you ask a pregnant woman if she wishes to breastfeed, she will probably answer “yes, if I can”. It is surprising but frequent to hear this lack of confidence about our capacity to nourish our babies. We don’t doubt how our lungs or kidneys perform, so why do we do distrust our breasts?
- Be informed during your pregnancy, find out about the benefits of breastfeeding, and if possible, attend a “breastfeeding meeting group” in your neighbourhood. These groups are free and pregnant women are very welcome. Here, you will see other women breastfeeding and you will gain an awareness of some of the difficulties they have encountered and also the solutions implemented. Alba Lactancia groups are very good: http://albalactanciamaterna.org/grupos/
- Just after the birth, babies are in a state called “latent alert” for at least 90 minutes. If you maintain skin to skin contact with the baby in 90% of the cases they will search instinctively for the breast and the latch will be correct.
- Until breastfeeding is well established it is best to avoid any other interference with the nipple (no pacifiers or bottles are recommended). If an extra supplement is needed, the best way to give this is with a “finger-syringe”.
- It is essential to organise your homecoming. Your baby will need all your attention during these first weeks, therefore it is a good plan to have help at home with preparing meals, cleaning, attending to your older children, etc. (it can be your partner, a family member, a friend or someone hired for that).
- A newborn needs to breastfeed frequently as breast milk is very easy to digest and their stomach is very little. It is good to be aware of the fact that your baby will need your continuous presence. Baby-carrying can be a very good option to feel free at the same time as caring for your baby.