Breastfeeding, part 2

First part is here.

One of the best things about breastfeeding is that it gives you a close bond with your child. You have to stop to feed baby numerous times a day, so you have to take that time with them. Of course, you have the option of doing something while baby is nursing, if you feel you need to make use of the time. You can read a book, work on a shopping list, check your mail, etc.

There are many things you can do so that you don’t feel you are just “sitting there”. It is tempting to hurry baby along so you can get back to work, but having something you can do while sitting will keep you occupied and you can allow baby to take his time while feeding. You could also just relax since you have to sit to nurse. You could even lie down and take a little nap while nursing. You know you need it so don’t feel bad about it.

For the first 3 or 4 months, you will need to burp your baby during a feed. There is no need to slap baby’s back hard; it is best to gently rub baby’s back with your hand or lightly pat until the burp comes up. Put baby on your shoulder, making sure to put a cloth there first to catch any spit-up. With a newborn you can also sit him up on your lap, cradling his chin in your hand, rubbing his back with your other hand, until it comes up. You will know baby has a burp when he stops nursing and refuses more, even if it has just been a short time. After burping, he will pick up again and continue until the next burp. Burping the baby is important, otherwise he will be uncomfortable, even in pain, and will cry until you get it up.

When I had Logan, I wasn’t sure when to burp him. I always thought he was done, but then he would cry unconsolably and I didn’t know what the problem was until someone told me about the need to burp him and not just lie him down when he stopped nursing. Things got easier after that, and by the time Scarlett was born, I automatically knew what to do.

As your baby gets older, he will eventually learn to burp on his own, usually around 4 months but will have to be sitting up to do so. Scarlett often falls asleep while nursing, so I lie her on her tummy. That way, if a burp wakes her, she just has to lift her head and it comes up. She always lies back down and sleeps again. I’ve seen this many times. On the other hand, if I leave her on her back, or if she rolls over, she screams in pain until I pick her up and she burps. But then she is awake and stays awake, and misses her nap, making her fussy until she can sleep again.

Oh, yes. Don’t forget that breastfeeding has an important benefit for you too: weight loss. Lots of the fat your body stored during your pregnancy will be used to make milk over the first few months. You still need a nutricious diet, but be asured that you will lose weight even if you can’t exercise yet.

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