I’m not a breast feeding expert and I am no where near being one. But these are just some of the things that I learnt which I’d like to share with you. They are 5 things you HAVE to know about breastfeeding. I know I said I would be talking more about my personal breastfeeding journey in my first Dear first-time mom post, but I really just feel it’s more important to share these important facts with you, before I share my own experience.
Theres so much to breastfeeding, and believe me when I say, EVERY mother has their own story to tell and many also have so many untrue “facts” about breastfeeding. Let me clear some of the most important things, this will help you. So I’m going to get right into it.
1. Don’t freak out when you don’t see milk in the first few days.
The first few days after birth, your body will produce colostrum which is yellow in color and very little. Your milk only comes in a few days later. This is exactly how it is supposed to be and it’s all that baby needs in the first few days. This is also the time when many moms turn to formula thinking they don’t have enough milk. If you intend on exclusively breastfeeding, don’t fall into this trap.
2. You cannot overfeed an exclusively breastfed baby.
Your baby uses about 40 different facial muscles during breastfeeding. So they will not drink for long than they actually need to. Your body also then produces exactly the right amount of milk that YOUR baby needs. Feed on demand, and allow him/her to suckle for as long as he/she wants to.
3. Your milk is tailor-made to your baby’s physical needs.
Your body reads from your baby’s saliva, and it screens for bacteria and viruses. It then produces milk tailor-made to your baby’s needs. The color of the milk may change to a yellowish color and the percentage of infection-fighting white blood cells found in the breast milk increases up to about 94 percent.
4. Don’t stop breastfeeding when you fall ill.
This goes hand in hand with point number 3. Many moms immediately think they need to stop breast-feeding when they have a cold or the flu. Don’t. When you fall ill, antibodies are transferred to your baby to help fight off the colds and flu and they will actually help your baby in the long run too.
5. If it’s painful, it ain’t right
The only pain you could possibly experience during breastfeeding is when your milk begins to come after the first few days after birth. If you are feeling a continuous pain during breastfeeding which doesn’t get better even after using various creams, it is most likely that your baby is not latching on correctly. That pain is nearly the same as the pain of your tooth being extracted without anaesthetic. I am speaking from personal experience. Seek help from a lactation specialist or breastfeeding clinic who can help you get your baby to latch correctly. Here are some contact details for those of you living in the Western Cape:
The Breastfeeding Clinic: 083 703 7711
If you know someone who needs help or is soon to be a mother and may need help, please share this post with them. You can also join in and share your important breastfeeding facts in the comments section below.