Things to do before and soon after delivery

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The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after a child’s birth and should be the exclusive method for feeding children for the first six months of their lives

Representational image. ANI

World Breastfeeding Week is marked from 1 to 7 August each year. The week aims to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding as the healthiest and best way to feed a new-born.

Breastfeeding is important as the baby receives all the required nutrients to grow from the mother’s milk. The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after a child’s birth and should be the exclusive method for feeding children for the first six months of their lives.

However, there are some things new mothers need to keep in mind both before and after the baby’s birth. Breast milk is the source of all nutrients for a child.

Before delivery:

Learn the basics: Many hospitals hold antenatal classes. You can attend them or talk to your gynecologist about the changes your body will undergo as it prepares for breastfeeding. You can even consult a lactation expert.

Stock up on clothing that will make it easier for you to comfortably feed the baby such as nursing bras. You can also add a breast pump and breast pads to the list.

Soon after delivery:

1. Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby right after giving birth. It will help keep the baby warm and steady their breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact with the baby will be a bonding experience for both the mother and child.
2. The first days after the delivery, your body will be making colostrum, the first milk for your baby. Colostrum is a thick, golden yellow coloured fluid which is a very concentrated food. Your baby will need only a small amount at each feeding. After some days, your body will start producing breast milk.
3. In the first few days, you will have to breastfeed your baby very often. The amount of milk your body produces will depend on how often your baby feeds.
4. It can take some time for both the mother and child to adjust to breastfeeding.
5. Sometimes breast milk can leak out. Wearing breast pads or expressing some milk can help out in these situations.

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