Newborn Care & Breastfeeding Guide
New born clinic
Providing skilled and compassionate services to new borns, including routine child care and quality medical intervention.
Breastfeeding is not just a need but an emotionally fulfilling experience for the mother and the baby. As Dr. Butani likes to say, "Breast milk is 'Amrit' that nurtures a new life." So, this is a unique and overwhelming experience for every woman.
Do's & Don'ts
The following tips will ensure 'Happy Breastfeeding' for both the mother and the child.
- Breastfeeding should be started as soon as possible after childbirth. It stimulates the release of Oxytocin which is also known as the 'love hormone'. This also helps in shrinking the uterus and controlling uterine bleeding.
- If/when the breast is engorged or lumpy the milk must be drained out manually or by a pump. The baby must get a soft, supple breast to suck on.
- Feed on demand preferably from both breasts.
- It is not that the baby is hungry every time he/she suckles. Babies feel a comforting bond with the mother and may suckle while snoozing.
- A baby needs to be fed frequently on-demand as their stomach size is small.
- Many mothers complain of 'sore nipples'. To avoid this, the baby must be taught to put the entire areola into the mouth while feeding.
- Being in a comfortable position is important for both the mother and the baby. So, a comfortable position where the back does not hurt is important.
- To prevent the baby from getting smothered avoid feeding while lying down.
- There are many fads and myths related to the diet during lactation. A lactating mother should eat healthy but there's no such list of dos and don'ts. Also, there's certainly no need for the mother to eat for two.
- There is no need for water, honey, supplements, etc.
- Continue breastfeeding even after the first six months but add weaning foods to the diet for the baby's increased demands. Breast and bottle feed together may cause nipple confusion and the baby may give up the breast for the ease of bottle feed. It is okay to breastfeed even after the first year and maybe the second year as well!
Some Interesting facts about breast milk & breastfeeding
- The first milk produced is called COLOSTRUM that is secreted in small quantities. It is a thick yellow fluid rich in calories, proteins, and antibodies. So, it is enough to keep the baby full. Colostrum further initiates the regular production of milk.
- When the child sucks at the mother's breast frequently a signal is sent to the pituitary gland. This signal instructs the breast to produce more milk. So, more demand more supply, less demand less production of milk/supply- hence, failure of lactation!
- Initially, after childbirth mothers experience engorged, swollen, painful breasts. This happens because in the first few days the demand and supply chain is not regulated.
- Breast milk is easily digestible as it is tailor-made specifically for the baby. So, the baby may not need to be burped. Also, breast milk is less wind/colic-producing.
- The moment breast milk goes into the stomach, the intestines gurgle out a stool. This happens because of ‘gastrocolic reflex’. The stool is often bright, yellow, watery, frothy. It is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
- There are no contraindications to breastfeeding.
- Breast milk, tested for centuries is a complete and perfect food for the baby. There is indeed no substitute for mother’s milk.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother & the baby
BREASTFEEDING IS A WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR BOTH THE MOTHER AND THE BABY. Here's how:
- Babies who are breastfed at least for the first 6 months have lesser ailments or health complaints. They have fewer ear infections, respiratory ailments, allergies, urinary infections, and diarrhoeal episodes.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- It reduces the chances of diabetes and obesity.
- The baby gets milk as per demand at the right temperature with warmth and comfort from the mother’s breast.
- Breast milk has more than 80% water, so the baby’s need for water is fulfilled by breast milk even in hot dry climates.
With childbirth a new phase starts in a mother’s life. It may take time to get accustomed to it and some may find it difficult. It is definitely not easy with the pain and discomfort post-delivery, lack of sleep, postpartum depression, swollen painful breasts, intruding, interfering - ‘I know it all’ - mothers in law and mothers and elders, demanding family and children, sore nipples, backache to name a few.
So, of course, there’s no pain no gain’ adage, but there is also a saying - this too shall pass.
So, enjoy exclusive breastfeeding for six months and more!
How to check that whether a newborn is having enough food, sleep, and normal pooping?
When a normal newborn makes a fuss, sucks fists, or cries, such actions give a hunger indication to the mother. It is advised that the mother should feed the baby only when a baby shows hunger signs. If the baby is on bottle feed, the entire bottle doesn't need to be emptied by the baby. In every feed, the amount of milk consumed can vary.
In the initial days, the newborn baby frequently wakes up after every few hours to have milk and sleeps for about 16 hours a day. After some months (usually 4 to 6 months), the baby starts sleeping at a longer stretch without having food.
Every time the mother nurses a newborn, a small bowel movement is normal.
How to breastfeed a baby?
Breastfeeding is the healthiest practice for a baby which requires some patience and practice. A baby shall be fed after every few hours or when hunger signs are observed such as fussing, the movement towards breasts, or fists sucking. A comfortable sitting place and the position shall be chosen before starting breastfeeding. Mother can use a soft pillow as a support to the head and neck of the baby. A fussy baby can be made relaxed by skin-to-skin contact with the mother. One hand of the mother shall be put underneath the head of the baby and the other hand shall be used to support the breast. As the baby opens his/her mouth elevate the head towards the breast so that the areolae and nipple go inside the mouth and the baby starts sucking milk. After the baby stops drinking milk from one breast, try burping before lying the baby down or switching breasts.
How much time does it take to nurse a baby?
It takes few minutes (about 20 minutes or longer) on both or one breast. Mainly it depends upon the following factors:
- The milk supply has begun from breasts (this takes few days after birth).
- The time taken for the let-down reflex (the milk flow from the nipple).
- Milk flow is slow or fast.
- The baby takes in milk immediately or does slow gulping.
- The baby is easily disturbed or distracted by the nearby surrounding.
- The baby has a good latch (i.e. baby takes a maximum of the areola of breasts inside the mouth).
- The mother must make an appointment with a general pediatrician in Delhi if she feels that the breastfeeding time is too long or short. Some babies that are having growth spurts need frequent breastfeed. The mother can count the length of the time taken between the two breastfeeding’s.
When it becomes important to get medical assistance for a breastfeeding mother or a newborn?
The mother of a newborn must schedule an appointment with a child specialist in certain circumstances:
- The baby is not waking up to take its feed.
- Even after long feedings, the baby remains unsatisfied.
- There are only a few dirty diapers changed in a day.
- The mother is having pain and discomfort in breastfeeding.
- The breasts or nipples of the lactating mother become red, inflamed, cracked, sore, or starts to bleed.
- If the newborn is having a fever (i.e. above the normal body temperature) higher than 100.4OF.
- If the neonate is having odd behavior, declining intake of milk, losing weight, having pale skin, having lengthened or shortened breastfeeding time, often spitting more after having milk, or making more of a fuss.
- To get medical advice for newborn health care and well-being.
- To take vaccination for newborns.