The First Milk : It's Importance & How To Master Latch - Manual For New & Would-Be Moms
Today we all know about our baby’s very first meal. Yes, you are right! I am talking about the “first milk of mother”. In this blog, we will cover all about it from its head to tail. That means -what is the first milk? Why it's important? And how you can master in latching?
And now, without further ado, let’s introduce the opening act…
THE FIRST MILK :
This first milk is called Colostrum. It is the first breast milk produced by your mammary glands during pregnancy and in the first few days after the delivery of your peanut. This is the initial stage of breast milk production.
After the first milk production, your body upgrades its production to the second stage-transitional breast milk and finally reaches its mature breast milk production, which will be its final stage. The primary drops of colostrum are what your little one gets the first time you put them to your breast to feed.
Colostrum is often golden-yellow or orange color. It acquires this color because it has a high concentration of beta-carotene (It is an organic compound known for its strongly red-orange colored pigment). It is also thicker than transitional and mature breast milk.
The body starts generating colostrum as early as the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy. In some cases, you might observe leaking of small drops of clear or yellow fluid from your breast or liquid patch on the bra while you are pregnant. That’s my friend, is Colostrum. This production stage can last up to the second to fifth days after birth. After that, the transitional stage of breast milk starts. That means breast milk will be a mixture of colostrum and mature breast milk. Although, it is no longer called the first milk colostrum. Even after six months, it's still found in the breast milk in a small amount.
Your body only makes a small amount of colostrum. In the first 24 hours after your precious is born, your body will produce on average of a little over 2 tablespoons (30 ml). But on the second and third days, it produces approximately twice of first day-60ml. That’s why everybody says breastfeeding in the first few days is very vital for your baby. Milk production will gradually increase from the transitional stage, which will begin around the third day after the delivery.
WHY COLOSTRUM IS IMPORTANT?
Even though colostrum only comes in small amounts, but it is fully packed with concentrated nutrition. It contains everything that your little one will need in the first few days of life. That;’s the reason, it is also known as “Liquid Gold”. It will even protect your newborn and help them battle against the infection, illness, and disease by improving their immune system. Other benefits of colostrum are like:
- Colostrum has higher protein and, lower fat and sugar level which makes it easier to digest compared to transitional and mature breast milk.
- Colostrum is known as your child’s first immunization as it is full of antibodies, white blood cells, and other immune properties.
- The high level of special secretory immunoglobulin A (SIg A) found in colostrum. This protects your baby’s GI tract and helps to eliminate viruses and bacteria.
- Colostrum is a natural laxative. That means, it helps your baby move their bowels and present you with their very first potty-the meconium. As this meconium contains bilirubin (a yellowish substance in our blood), removal of this helps in preventing newborn jaundice.
The very first breast milk is only that can set the foundation for your child’s health and your future breast milk supply. This is the best thing you can do for your baby, so do it. Only by breastfeeding frequently during the colostrum stage, you will prepare your body to generate a healthy supply of breast milk.
MASTERY OF LATCHING :
After knowing the first milk benefits, let's know the ropes of breastfeeding. So, here are tips which we promised from staring at this blog to mastering that perfect latch.
But before starting we should know what is a latch? Right! Latching is referring to the positioning of your baby’s mouth on your breast when feeding. If latching is proper, your baby will be able to flawlessly remove milk from your breast without causing lasting pain or other problems. So, don’t think breastfeeding is easy mommy! But worry not, with these amazing HunyHuny tips and with time and practice, you will get the hang of it.
First of all, wear some comfortable Maternity Wear with zippers or feeding pockets for hassle-free feeding practice.
1. Find a comfortable position
- Try various breastfeeding positions and find the most comfortable for you as well as your baby. Whatever position(s) you choose, be mindful that;
- Your baby’s head, neck, and spine are not twisted.
- Your baby’s chin is not on her chest, rather tilted upward and presses into your breast.
- You are well supported and comfortable.
- Make sure you choose a chair or couch with plenty of support for your back and arms. Then put your feet up – either on a table or on the stack of pillows. If you prefer to nurse in bed, make sure you use plenty of pillows. Whichever position is most comfortable for you, remember to bring your baby to your breast, rather than hunching or bending toward your baby.
2. Hold your baby close
Your breasts will naturally be heavier while you’re breastfeeding – after all – you’re producing breast milk! So you may need to support them as well. Once you are comfortable and ready to breastfeed, cup your breast with the palm of your hand – your four fingers should be underneath your breast and your thumb should rest above your nipple, opposite your baby’s nose. This position is called C-Hold. While you are ready to feed, line your nipple up with your baby’s nose and keep her body close to your torso so that her tummy is facing and touching your belly. In this position, her nose will be turned up slightly which will allow her to breathe easily while her feeding time. This will help her learn to coordinate sucking and breathing at the same time.
3. Encourage your baby to open wide
To encourage your baby to open up her mouth wide you can gently touch your nipple against her upper lip. She will automatically turn her head and open her mouth wide, then aim your nipple towards her mouth while allowing her to take a large portion of your areola into her mouth. Help your baby to take in as much as possible by squeezing your breast with your finger and thumb towards each other. The areola is the small circular dark pigmented ring surrounding the nipple.
4. Look and listen as your baby feeds
After your baby is latched on, she should begin to suck. At first, you will observe her doing short, rapid sucks to stimulate milk production. Once the milk starts to flow, her sucking will become slower and deeper with some pauses as she swallows milk. If you notice clicking or smacking sounds this could mean a poor latch or poor positioning. Remove your nipple from her mouth and try again.
If you still face problem regarding latching or notice some red flag signs like your baby experiencing poor weight gain or poor poo/pee output, seek help from breastfeeding( Lactation ) professional that will be the women in your life let them be your friends or family who already has mastered the latching. Or you can consult you a doctor too with any questions you may have.
Some Key Points:
- Relaxation plays a dramatic role in breastfeeding success. Try to start each nursing session out by taking a deep breath in through your nose, holding that breath for one to two seconds, and exhaling slowly through your nose for at least four seconds until you feel relaxed.
- Before you sit down for a nursing or pumping session, be sure to bring a tall glass of cool water to drink. Not only does staying hydrated help maintain milk production, but it always seems like thirst strikes in the middle of a session when you can’t get up.
- Some moms feel content to stare blissfully into their baby’s eyes while nursing. Other moms like to use that long session, they want something else to do while they’re nursing to keep them engaged and entertained. If that sounds like you, make sure you grab your phone, tablet, or a good book before sitting down. Or, position your favorite chair in front of the TV, solve some crossword puzzles. Just remember to pay attention to your little one’s cues.
- If you notice your nipples are sore or starting to crack, try soothing them with lanolin or hydrogel pads. These products can provide much-needed relief and the ingredients are entirely safe for your little one. Remember, sore nipples are typically a sign something isn’t right, so be sure to find the root of the problem so you can correct it instead of simply treating the symptoms.
BREASTFEEDING IS NOT ALWAYS EASY… BUT IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT.
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