Are you a new mum like Kareena Kapoor Khan? Then here are 11 things you must know about breastfeeding

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We spoke to experts Dr Varsha Phadke and Dr Sujata Kanhere, to understand the most important aspects of breastfeeding

It is quite evident that new parents Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan are on cloud nine with the arrival of their chotta Nawab, Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi. In fact, they proudly showed off their little bundle of joy soon after Kareena's delivery and even hosted a Christmas party for their close friends and family.

The couple also did not hesitate to share candid moments from their private dinner with their fans and one such moment captured the glowing new mum Kareena. She was seen with her close group of friends including actors Amrita Arora Ladak and Malaika Arora Khan.

It was pretty evident that the new mum was enjoying this new phase of her life and on many occasions has even mentioned that she absolutely prepared to look after her baby and had all the relevant information to help her with it.

Theeeee girl gangggggg????????❤️Merry xmas ????????????????????❤️N we are backkk????????????????????????

A photo posted by Amrita Arora (@amuaroraofficial) on

In an interview she gave just weeks before going into labour she said, "I’m approaching this very organically. There are no plans. I’m not jumping into any preconceived notions, and I’m not listening to preset advice. I think pregnancy is such a personal journey that I need to feel this myself rather than go thinking this is what I want to do, and this is what I don’t want to do.”

New mums must be informed

But just going with the flow is not enough for a new mum, she must be armed with vital information to take care of her baby and one of the most important things to know about is breastfeeding.

We spoke to Dr Varsha Phadke and Dr Sujata Kanhere, Head of Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology at K.J. Somaiya Medical College and Hospital, Mumbai, and asked them a few important questions about breastfeeding, answers to which will help all new mums.

All about breastfeeding

"The first food that the neonate is provided is breast milk. It not only serves as a means of nutrition but has several advantages to the neonate as well as the mother. Therefore, the woman must start breastfeeding as soon as she delivers; and so usually child is given breast milk within half an hour of delivery," says Dr Phadke.

But that wasn't all, we asked them more basic questions about breastfeeding that all new mums would want answered. Here's an excerpt from our exclusive interaction.

Q: How often should I breastfeed?

A: The baby should be breastfed whenever he/she demands. Usually the baby will be required to be fed every 2-3 hours.

Q: How will I know that child is sucking properly?

A: Ensure that the dark part (areola) enters the baby’s mouth along with nipple. You will also feel the strong sucking force at the breast.

Continue reading to see some more questions answered by our experts and how to identify when to stop breastfeeding!

Q: How will I know that breast milk is adequate for my baby?

A: Remember, after delivery in the first 10 days, the child loses about 10 percent of its birth weight. Later the child starts gaining weight. If baby is gaining weight adequately, passes urine 10-12 times a day, passes stool four to five times, is not crying constantly and is not irritable it indicates that the child is adequately breastfed.

Q: Why should I breastfeed when there is milk formula available?

A: Breast milk is the best for the child. Though milk formulas are available they are no replacement for the natural breast milk. Breast milk provides advantage to both –the mother and child.

Advantages of breastfeeding for mother

  1. Develops bonding between mother and child.
  2. Reduces chance of postpartum depression.
  3. Stimulates Oxytocin production, thereby reducing chances of postpartum hemorrhage.
  4. Breastfeeding causes release of prolactin reducing chances of ovulation, thus acting as a natural contraception.
  5. Breastfeeding helps in involution of uterus, thereby assisting in maintaining the natural figure.
  6. Mothers who breastfed have reduced chances of menopausal osteoporosis.
  7. It is safe, cheap and can be easily provided.
  8. The breast milk is naturally made according to the child's growing needs, unlike the artificial formula.

Advantages of breastfeeding for the baby

  1. Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of cold, pneumonia, gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, and sudden infant death syndrome.
  2. Colostrum, the first milk produced contains immunoglobulin’s IGA, IGG which protect the child against various infections.
  3. Helps in proper growth and development.
  4. Breastfeeding helps in improving the IQ of the child.
  5. Prevents allergies.
  6. It is readily available.
  7. No need of giving extra water to the baby.
  8. Helps in providing warmth to the baby and preventing hypothermia.

Q: Is the milk same at all times?

The first milk is thick, yellow and is called colostrum. This contains antibodies which prevent the neonate from infections. However, breast milk can be divided into the following:

  • Fore milk: It is watery and quenches the thirst of the baby.
  • Mid milk: It is little thick and containing proteins and antibodies.
  • Hind milk: It is thick and contains fat, and it provides satiety.

"It is necessary that baby gets all the types of milk to develop immunity and adequate growth. As a mother one should ensure that child empties one breast completely by sucking and then rotate to other. Next time, start feeding on the other breast first and then go to initial one," says Dr Kanhere.

Continue reading to see how to practically breastfeed a baby in a way that fastens their digestion.

Q: What must one remember while breastfeeding?

  1. Drink lots of water before breastfeeding.
  2. Use clean and supportive nursing bra. Clean the breast before feeding.
  3. Comfortable position and use pillows if required for support.
  4. Be mentally relaxed and enjoy.
  5. Eat healthy nutritious food every 2-3 hours.

Q: How should one breastfeed?

"You can breastfeed in any position comfortable to you (sitting/lying), of course, sitting position is preferred. "Ensure that you burp the child after every feed to prevent aspiration. Breastfeed the child even at night, as at night the pitocin levels are high which increases the milk production," adds Dr Kanhere.

Q: What problems can occur while breastfeeding and what action should be taken?

If breastfeeding is done using correct technique, no complications would occur. Here are some problems which can be present and its solutions:

  • Flat or inverted nipple: The solution for a flat nipple is to massage the nipple and try to evert. You can use syringe to make nipple erectile (cut the syringe at the hub end with blade, use the smooth side to place on the breast and the cut end insert the piston and apply pressure.)
  • Sore nipple or breast engorgement: These problems could happen because of using a wrong technique of breastfeeding. However, there is a solution. "Use coconut oil or hind milk to apply on the nipple, and do not use any cream/ointment. Alternatively, use hot fermentation and express the milk manually. Use analgesic if pain persists," adds Dr Phadke.
  • Breast abscess: This is a form of breast infection and can be contained by incision and drainage of the abscess.

Q: How can I breastfeed once I start work?

Breast feeding is possible even while working. "Breast milk can be expressed manually or by breast pump and stored in freeze for 24 hours. You can take the required feed from the freeze, bring it to room temperature and then feed the baby with a spoon. Ensure that the vessel used for storing is clean," says Dr Phadke.

"You can also express the breast milk at work in a clean container and store it to ensure adequate production of breast milk. If no freeze is available, the expressed breast milk can be kept for 6-8 hours at room temperature," says Dr Kanhere. However, both add that one must not boil the breast milk.

Q: How long should one breastfeed the baby?

A: Exclusive breastfeeding should be done for six months. "Later you can breastfeed the child for as long as you desire. Usually the child is breastfed till he/she completes 2two years," add the experts.

Read: How do I know when to stop breastfeeding

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(All images courtesy: Instagram)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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