You can start feeding your baby as soon as possible after birth or within 1 hour of delivery. This is necessary to get your milk production started. Also, your baby is most alert during this period.
In the first 3 days after childbirth, only a thick yellow secretion (called colostrum) is produced. But don't worry. Colostrum is sufficient for the needs of the baby in the first few days. It is very rich in nutrients and antibodies and helps protect your baby against infections. So you can see how important it is.
During this time, your baby should be suckled whenever he wants to be fed.
Your breasts may also feel empty in the beginning, but it's all right because you have enough for what your newborn needs.
The milk usually comes in on the 3rd or 4th day. By now, your baby is bigger too and you will have quickly learnt to distinguish the cry of hunger.
Feed your baby as long as he wants to. If your baby is hungry, the automatic response is to cry. If your baby is contented, he will fall asleep or release the nipple spontaneously. Feed your baby as often as and whenever he wants to be fed. This is called "demand feeding".
It is important to breast feed your baby for as long as possible but for at least 6 months. Many mothers continue to breast feed even after going back to work.
Weight baby regularly. You'll be able to see that he puts on weight steadily if he's getting enough breast milk.
GETTING READY FOR BREAST FEEDING
So you've made the smart decision to breast feed. Congratulation !
Naturally, you will want to discuss this with your husband and what better way to do it than to let him read this booklet.
To prepare yourself for successful breast feeding, pay close attention to your diet even before pregnancy. Eat a balanced diet. Do eat body-building foods that include fish, eggs, meat, milk, legumes and pulses; energy-giving foods like rice, bread and mee, and of course, protective foods like vegetables and fruits.
During pregnancy, you will notice that your breasts start to enlarge as extra milk-producing tissue is laid down. Your nipples become darker too.
Continue practising personal hygiene throughout pregnancy. Wear a good supporting bra. Now you're on your way!