Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift for the mother and the baby. It has many benefits for both of them. But if for any reason you are not able to do it, instead of feeling guilty or other negative emotion, find a solution how to nurture and bond with your baby in other ways. This post will try to cover the basic information about breastfeeding, what to buy and how to prepare for it. Make sure you ask for help when needed and just enjoy each moment with your baby!
Breastfeeding basics – What you need to know
Breastfeeding doesn’t need to be more complicated after a c-section than after a natural birth. As long as the proper hormones are in place, moms will start making colostrum. During the last months that women are pregnant, they already have colostrum in their breasts. The milk supply starts about 3-4 days postpartum. Before those days they have colostrum, very nutritious milk. In the second phase, when a baby sucks the milk it sends a signal to the brain to produce the milk. The body will produce milk as long as the milk is removed. As long as the baby is attached properly and the woman breastfeeds often (around every 3 hours), especially at night.
- You can start with breast massage already before birth.
- Look up basic breastfeeding positions (we found up to 11). Some of the most common ones are “the cradle hold” or “the laid-back nursing position”. You may need to try several of them before you find one that works for you and your baby.
- Make sure that you don’t have inverted or flat nipples.
- Tell the hospital staff in advance what is your breastfeeding plan (wish).
- Breastfeed the baby as soon as possible after the birth. Have lots of skin on skin moments.
- When breastfeeding, place baby to a breast, not breast to a baby.
- Don’t use a pacifier in the first month.
- The length of feeding is various for each baby, 20 min for one and 30 min for other, the maximum time is around 45min.
- Baby might not drink during the first 24-48 hours, because they still have energy stored.
- Keep close contact with the baby, breastfeed the baby according to his/her needs.
- During the first days and weeks, it will be approximately every 2-3 hours whenever the baby wakes up.
- Well-fed baby produces around 6-8 full diapers/day.
- If you still feel pressure in the breasts, extract the milk with the pump, you can store it in the fridge for 24 hours and in the freezer (-18) for up to 3 months.
- The supply of milk should adjust according to how the baby drinks.
- Check how baby gains weight on infant scales and record every feeding in the chart (during the first weeks), consult the doctor (or a lactation specialist) in case the baby is not gaining enough weight.
- The amount of milk also depends on the well-being of the mother, so make sure you drink enough water, eat a healthy and balanced diet and sleep as much as you can. It is also advised to avoid foods that cause bloating.
- Have a telephone number at hand for a lactation specialist (or rather 2, in case one is busy) if you need immediate help.
- It is up to each mom how long she breastfeeds. It is advised to breastfeed exclusively for first 6 months (if that’s possible).
Everything you need to buy for breastfeeding
We have listed below the products that we believe can help with breastfeeding. Some are a must and others are optional (affiliate included).
Breast pump – It can be manual or electric. You might think that you won’t need it, but even if you are at home with the baby and breastfeeding full time, pumping helps create a larger supply of milk, so a pump is handy.
Baby bottles – I recommend having at least one at home, even if you breastfeed. Be prepared for any situation. It is a good idea to buy the pump and bottles from the same brand so that you can combine them all.
Bibs and cloth-wipes
Oil for massaging breasts + Cream for soar nipples
Infant scales – You will need the scales to weight the baby and track their weight gain. It is helpful to have a chart to track how much baby drank during every feeding and their weight gain. You will see if the baby is prospering or if you need to consult someone or add formula milk.
Formula milk – Get a small package of formula milk. It is a good idea to be prepared, in case your baby suddenly stops wanting breastmilk. It could happen at night or even over a weekend so it is best to have a bit of formula milk at hand.
Syringe – If you need to add a bit of formula milk but are afraid that using a bottle might interfere with breastfeeding, you can use a syringe filled with the milk and let the baby suck your little finger at the same time.
Breast feeding bras and nightgowns– What you might not know is that you will even need to wear a bra at night when breastfeeding, which should be more “sporty”. You can either get some seamless breastfeeding bras for at night, or what we prefer is a night gown with an altered upper part, designed for breastfeeding. It will also come in handy at the hospital. Wearing the right bra is very important, because once it’s down; it will never get up again!
Sterilising machine (optional)
Bottle warmer (optional)
How to create a bond with your baby when you can’t breastfeed
We are speaking a lot about the importance of the mother and sometimes we forget to bring into discussion the father or the other parent. Bonding is essential for the healthy development of the baby and he or she must bond in different ways with the family members. In the pictures, you can find some simple but very natural actions that the parents, breastfeeding or not, can do to make sure the baby is bonding with them.
Is there anything you would like to add? What was your experience with breastfeeding? Let us know!