Whether or not to breastfeed, by the time your baby is almost there, you will probably know it. Even if you do not want to breastfeed, you can choose to latch on your newborn. The first milk, named colostrum, is packed with antibodies!
Breastfeeding, formula and engorgement
Whether or not to breastfeed, by the time your baby is almost there, you will probably know it. Even if you do not want to breastfeed, you can choose to latch on your newborn. The first milk, named colostrum, is packed with antibodies! Give as much nutrition as possible in the first 48 hours: at least 8 to 12 times a day. This way you get the milk production going well. It is good to place your newborn directly on your stomach after delivery. You can actually breastfeed her right away if she shows the feeding signs. And whenever she will show you those signs you latch her on. It is called: feeding on demand. You will notice when your baby has drunk enough. Sometimes it can take a while for breastfeeding to start. Certainly after a complicated delivery or if you are ill, it can take longer. It usually starts with a little bit of milk, a few drops. Also important - and the most difficult - is the correct latching of your baby. Only if you latch her on well and she drinks with a good technique, she can get enough milk. It can be uncomfortable or a hassle in the first days after delivery, but this is intended to change quickly. Make sure you are relaxed and adopt as comfortable a position as possible.
Sometimes breastfeeding is not an option. Fortunately, there is formula as an excellent alternative. The composition of formula is now so close to breastfeeding that it basically contains almost everything your child needs. There are several types of powdered infant formula, all of which are prepared with water. Usually, the food is based on cow's milk and precisely tailored to your baby's digestion. Often the standard nutrition is recommended in the beginning. This is most like breast milk. The package says 'infant formula', which means it contains all the nutrients your baby needs. There is also soy milk based infant formula. There is also special, more easily digestible food that helps with colic, more saturated food for very hungry babies and slightly thicker food or goat's milk for babies who spit a lot (reflux).
If milk production starts a few days after giving birth, you may experience engorgement. Your breasts are full, tense and very sensitive. Usually you will have to deal with it between day three and five, but you can also only get it after ten days. How much it bothers you differs from person to person. Sometimes you just notice that your breasts are a bit tense. But your breasts can also become so large and sore that your nursing bra no longer fits and your breasts seem to explode. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce engorgement.
Are you breastfeeding? Then breastfeed your baby as often as possible. It is important that she "latches on" well and drinks the breasts well. Check if your breasts feel supple after every feed. If your breasts are so tense that it is difficult for your baby to put the nipple and a lot of the areola in her mouth, you can first try to massage away some milk by hand or pump it by hand. If this does not work, you can express a little milk with a breast pump before feeding. Are you really bothered? Then you can try to gently massage your breasts, especially the hard spots in your breasts, under the hot shower. The milk can come out in this way and that reduces the tension. Do you prefer something ice cold? Put a cold pack on your breasts. Don't forget to wrap a thin cloth around it before applying this cold compress to the painful areas on your breasts. Cabbage leaves can also work wonders. If all of the above do not help enough, you can take paracetamol in consultation with the midwife or GP.
Even if you are not breastfeeding, you will experience engorgement around 3 days after giving birth. Because the nipples are not stimulated, the milk production will not start and the engorgement will disappear by itself. Some moisture may still come out of your nipples for a few weeks. This will stop by itself.
It is important to wear a sturdy, tight bra, day and night and also while taking a shower. In most cases after doing this for around 5 days, the engorgement will have disappeared. You can then start taking a shower without wearing your bra. And when your breasts stay supple and no milk spots disappear in your bra during the day, you can also stop wearing the bra at night. To combat the unpleasant feeling, you can put cold compresses on your breasts during the time of the engorgement.
*the use of the word “her” also refers to “him” in the text of the entire website. This choice is made for readability