If your ultimate goal is the nourishment of your baby, then without any doubt, the best nutrients for him/her are in the milk that you produce. However, if you just want to feed his/her hunger, then there are usually many relatives and friends who will try to persuade you to give him/her the formula milk. Do not forget that the stomachs of newborn babies are the size of a marble.
Their sucking instinct makes itself known because when they are awake that would be their only pastime, but don’t think this will always be the case.
His/her stomach will be enlarged, he/she will learn sucking properly, your milk supply will increase, and soon an order will emerge.
To be able to put things in order you must go through this process.
You can observe the daily feeding routine by jotting down the times your baby sucks milk after the first month.
The volume of the first post-labour milk is usually small; however, even a drop of it would be beneficial to your baby and is specially produced for him/her. When the interim milk first starts to come, your breasts will feel tender, full and you might even have a fever. However, if you take the necessary steps, soon mature human milk will be produced. Your breasts will feel comfortable and the milk flow will be quite steady. When your baby is sucking on one breast some milk may also leak from the other. This may cause wetness on your clothes. At this stage you can use special containers to collect your milk and thus start accumulating your milk. After the mature human milk supply sets in, you must feed your baby from only one breast each time he/she feeds. The beginning of the mature milk is usually very watery, however the milk supplied from higher up is full of fat and very filling. It is also rich in antibodies, enzymes, and minerals, aiding immunity and growth. If you continue to feed your baby from both breasts, your baby will feel full, but will soon get hungry again and his/her weight will lag behind and you may need to supplement your milk with formula. When your visit to the doctor reveals that your baby has not reached his/her target weight, you will feel sorry, and for nothing as you have sufficient milk. You may assume your milk is not nutritious enough, when you learn that your baby has not put on enough weight in spite of frequent feedings. Breast milk is always nutritious but your breastfeeding might be to blame. To be able to reach the creamy nutritious part of the milk reserves, you must let your baby suck from only one breast each time he/she feeds. The initial flow of milk is like soup, it fills you but is not rich in nutrients. When the baby empties one breast each time he/she feeds, the desired feeding will have been achieved, he/she will feel full and become hungry again after 2 hours. If the breast you have not nursed from is uncomfortable, you can pump some milk to feel more comfortable and feed your baby from that breast the next time. You can store the pumped milk for 72 hours in the fridge, 1 month in the freezer and 3 months in the deep freezer. When you take out cold or frozen milk to give to your baby, place it in a container full of warm water at 33 degrees C, and place this container in another that is full of hot water and give it to your baby when the milk is at room temperature. The baby must not be fed through a bottle until he/she is fully skilled at sucking. In other words, not before 6 weeks after birth. Naturally, nursing him/her is ideal; however when you cannot do this, you should choose to give him/her your breast milk pumped for this purpose, instead of formula milk. Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby. Nursing facilitates the shrinking of your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size, helps burn the extra fat and aids you in getting back to your pre-pregnancy form. It does not cause deformation of your breasts, as in reality pregnancy does that. On the other hand, nursing ensures that the breast tissue gradually gains back its previous shape and protects against any terrible diseases. Mothers who raise their baby healthily and safely with this miraculous fluid are happy with their achievement and do not experience postpartum depression. The recommended duration of breastfeeding is two to four years according to the World Health Organisation (four years is for countries experiencing famine. When mother has enough food he/she can nurse his/her child, providing him/her with nutrition.)
To prepare your baby’s metabolism and immunity system for the later stages of life; keeping him/her on a diet of only breast milk for a period of 6 months would be sufficient. After the 6th month you can try supplementary foods, but there is no rush, your breast milk is still the best nutrient available for your baby. Experimenting with different foods will introduce him/her to solid foods and teach him/her to hold the spoon. After giving him/her a couple of spoonfuls of other foods, nurse him/her and don’t hold back from breastfeeding your baby. If you are not impatient, you will see that his/her curiosity to learn solid foods will add to your baby’s excitement to test new tastes. Nursing your baby is the most precious gift you can give him/her in life. The source of this life elixir that nurtures life and renders a person healthy all through his/her life, starting from babyhood, is produced by the mother’s body.