As a new mommy, you’ve been hearing a hullaballoo of information regarding breastfeeding. You’ve most likely heard about how it bonds you and your infant even more. But when breastfeeding presents itself difficult, you may find yourself a tad discouraged or fearful if you’re doing it right.
Here are the benefits of breastfeeding to inspire you to carry on. Alongside these are its stages for you to discover if breastfeeding gets easier.
Although formulas are manufactured with a number of targeted nutrients and minerals to support infants’ development, breastmilk is the most ideal and natural way to provide your baby with nutrition.
Breast Milk is what’s medically termed “complete” in terms of what babies need.
Additionally, it contains nutrients in proper portions.
The first four weeks after conception are crucial stages, and breastmilk will assist in stabilizing your child’s physical and mental functions.
Even the composition of mothers’ milk shifts to accommodate the changing needs of babies as they grow rapidly from said first month onwards.
The initial form of milk that’s produced following a newborn’s delivery is called Colostrum.
This, upon producing it, is important in supporting your newborn’s unstable and sensitive digestive tract.
A few days into it, the mammary glands will adjust to produce more milk, in parallel to your infant’s growth.
Another benefit of breastmilk is that it naturally has antibodies your baby will require to ward off diseases.
Bacteria won’t easily harm them since these antibodies build and support babies’ immune systems.
Going back to the topic of Colustrum, did you know that it contains excellent amounts of IgA?
IgA, also known as immunoglobulin A, is a very strong antibody that protects your child against viruses it’s susceptible to (i.e., diarrhea, pneumonia, etc.) at this stage.
IgA is able to cause babies’ bodies to build a kind of layer that safeguards the eyes, nose, throat, and digestive organs.
Moreover, through breastfeeding, you aid in lowering the risk of contaminating milk itself, compared to synthetically manufactured infant milk products.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether formula milk truly is a contributor to unhealthy weight gain in infants.
Numerous studies have shown that when having compared infants who partook of breastmilk and infants who partook of formula, the latter were more prone to gaining weight beyond what’s averagely “healthy.”
Some even had the propensity to be obese.
On the other hand, researches are stating that breastfeeding for at least four months straight lessens the risk of infant obesity.
Said researchers continue to say that there’s a possible link between breastmilk and gut bacteria.
Breastmilk provides higher doses of healthy gut bacteria, which aid in breaking down excess fat.
At the same time, leptin is found to be at higher levels in infants who breastfeed than those who don’t.
Leptin is a hormone that regulates fat storage and appetite control.
This implies that babies who breastfeed are likely to have enough bacteria to get rid of excess fat, along with leptin, which ensures excess fat isn’t unnecessarily stored.
Also, there’s the issue of unhealthy sugars that may be found in formula milk.
Although a number of approved brands need to follow certain standards regarding this, it can be said that unhealthy sugars are not present in breast milk.
This isn’t merely about physical development but cognitive as well.
Through experimental observation and studies, it has been suggested that babies who feed on breastmilk can have their cognitive functions enhanced much more than those who feed only on formula.
Of course, this runs on a case-to-case basis, depending on the quality of formula milk mothers give their infants.
Nevertheless, breastfeeding has presented significant positive outcomes regarding brain development and long-term cognitive and behavioral benefits.
When Does Breastfeeding Get Easier?
The milk production through your mammary glands is, to oversimply it, based on a kind of demand-supply-demand cycle.
Because your body has never before produced milk, it’s normal to experience difficulty producing it now and during the first few days to weeks after your baby is conceived.
You shouldn’t have to worry about whether something’s wrong or not regarding your milk production.
Some mothers don’t experience this, and they’re the exception (bless them).
Still, the larger percentage goes through this milk production “testing phase.”
One of the key factors in letting your body get used to it and make breastfeeding easier is “frequency.”
The more often your nurse, the more familiar your body is with the process.
This is how it will establish its supply of breastmilk.
Alternately, this is a reason why mothers are recommended to stick fully on breastmilk (unless an imbalance or ailment is hindering your body from doing so) for the first six months.
If it really is proving quite the toughie, you can always ask for help from your child’s pediatrician or talk to a consultant for lactation to offer you tips on how to accomplish this effectively.
The Two-Week Challenge
Generally, once babies learn to latch onto their mothers’ nipples without trouble, you can give yourself somewhere around two weeks before you can have a consistent (or close to consistent) supply of breastmilk.
Having said that, there are numerous cases wherein that span stretches out to 4 to 6, or 7 weeks.
There’s no means to offer up a boxed-in number here since there are a slew of variables (your body composition and your baby’s lifestyle, diet, your baby’s rate of development, etc.) that can’t be controlled.
Perhaps, you can count up to 6 weeks to be in the safe zone.
And if breastfeeding becomes easier before the 6th week arrives, then it’ll be a happy surprise!
Roping this in with nursing frequency is where breast pumps are exceptionally helpful.
On occasions where your child isn’t feeding, you should train your mammary glands to continue with milk production by employing breast pumps.
Think of it as an exercise for your mammary glands. Plus, this will have you be acquainted with breastmilk pumping for when you’ll actually need it in the future.