Pregnancy brings some serious physical changes to a woman's body, especially her breasts. If you're currently pregnant or have ever been pregnant you've probably noticed a metamorphosis in your bra cups or the darkening of your areolas. These are only the visible changes taking place; many more are taking place inside a pregnant woman's breasts. In fact, a woman's milk duct system will be fully developed about the time of your second trimester. This makes it possible to breast feed even if your baby arrives earlier than expected.
Breast milk is the absolute best food you can give your newborn. A complete food source containing at least 400 nutrients your baby needs, many that aren't found in formula.
An intimate bond is created between mother and child when nursing. Infants should be introduced to breast feeding within an hour of delivery. Even though the mature milk has yet to develop, colostrum is present. Colostrum is a substance that helps protect a newborn from infections.
Don't panic if your newborn is finding trouble latching on correctly. Not all women adjust to breast feeding easily. Breast feeding is truly an art and will require a lot of patience on your end. This is truly a practice makes perfect activity. Your baby's mouth should cover most of your areola below the nipple, and the nipple should be far back into your baby's mouth.
Breast feeding shouldn't be painful, so pay attention to how your breasts feel. You can always break the suction and try again. Slide your finger inside your infant's mouth to break the suction, never pull the nipple out of their mouth.
Nurse on demand and frequently. The more you nurse the faster your mature milk will come in and the more milk you'll produce. Aim for breast feeding at least 8 to 10 times every 24 hours, spending about 10 to 15 minutes per breast each time. This might mean you have to wake your baby to begin breast feeding during the first few days, especially if it has been four hours since the last time they were fed.
Breast feedings can take 40 minutes or longer, so get comfortable before starting. The last thing you'll want is to be distracted or have to readjust. For comfort you can try a nursing pillow to help support your baby.
The important thing to remember is not to get discouraged. Breast feeding will take practice and patience. Take it one feeding at a time. The more you breast feed, the more you'll learn.