Six things nobody tells you about Breastfeeding

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Breast feeding sure is one of the most natural and instinctive things. It’s made out to be as if your baby would take to it like a fish to water. But honestly, it’s not that simple at all! Well, at least from personal experience, I can tell you it was quite a struggle till I got the whole technique right. And believe me, if you’re in India, it could make matters worse. Unfortunately, mindsets are still very conservative here. So you don’t really feel comfortable discussing these topics with elders or your health providers. Unlike in the West, where expectant mothers can attend breast feeding classes to get a lowdown on what to expect while nursing their babies, in India, we moms learn our own – either by reading or while on the job !

Of course, you get countless advice on the benefits of breast feeding (for both mom and baby) from all and sundry. But here a few things that nobody ever tells you.

The position is all important: After my first delivery, when the nurse handed the baby to me, she simply thrust the tightly wrapped bundle into my hands and hurriedly gave me superficial instructions on how to go about feeding the baby. All she told me was to make sure that the baby doesn’t get suffocated while pressing its mouth to the breast. While it was an important point, there was no elaborate talk on getting the position right. It was only through trial and error that both baby and I worked out a comfortable position. Remember, the latching on process could take a while, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. There are many positions you could experiment with before you settle for the most comfortable one.

Feed both breasts: Again, half-baked instruction here. All I was told was to feed the baby for 20 minutes every 3 hours. No one told me that it was imperative to feed both sides – with 10 minutes for each breast! How can anyone forget to stress on such an important point? After ten minutes, the milk supply reduces and the breast slowly begins to run dry. At this point your baby is frustrated because she is either getting the supply in trickles or none at all – sucking only air.  This is not only unsettling for the baby but also the discomforting for the mom whose breast begins to hurt because of aggressive sucking.

You lose your mommy fat pretty quickly, but beware! Breast feeding takes up a lot of calories! Experts say that nursing helps burn 300 to 500 extra calories a day. While that’s a great reason to smile, the not-so-good-news is that will make you constantly ravenous too. I found myself gorging on food all the time. So watch out and be careful about what you eat; because once you stop breastfeeding, all the wrong foods can show up again as extra fat!

It’s a 24/7 job: Becoming a mom sure turns your world upside down. I had been sufficiently warned about how demanding motherhood would be. But certainly not about breast feeding being a round-the-clock job. Babies wake up at the most unsuspecting hours expecting to be fed!  But take solace, it’s only for a short period this will last only for a couple of months. As they grow, they’re able to sustain for longer periods.

Staves off cancer: I’d known the long list of benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, but only later discovered that it reduces the risk of cancer – both ovarian and breast cancer. A new study reveals that breastfeeding for a year cuts your risk of breast cancer by a third, particularly for those women who have the disease in their family history! Now isn’t that a reason to celebrate!

Your breasts may sag, but there’s a solution for that! Unfortunately, this is an inevitable part of pregnancy. But if you take the right measures, at the right time, it can be prevented.

Wearing a supportive bra is one of the first and most effective steps. Protecting your breasts from sagging should start before the baby is born. During pregnancy, grow progressively larger and need to be supported accordingly with larger bras. Wearing an ill-fitting bra is not only uncomfortable, but also does not provide your breast the proper support.

Excessive weight gain is another reason for sagging breasts. As you gain pounds, your breasts also become larger and the more they sag because of stretched skin and excess weight.

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