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This seemingly natural body function of a new mom doesn’t come as easy as you may think. Some mums struggle to breastfeed after giving birth, especially with their first child. From problems with latching and low milk supply to feeling immense pressure from family to breastfeed the child, every mum goes through a unique journey when it comes to feeding. Some expert advice from lactation consultants, your OB/Gyn, a registered nurse, dai ma, your mother-in-law or mum, can really be helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure, or underprepared.

1. What are the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby?

For The Baby: Breast milk contains all the right nutrients in the right quantity for the baby. It almost acts like a vaccine as it contains antibodies that protect your child from viruses and bacteria. – For the first six months, the baby’s immune system is weak and it is vulnerable to diseases like cold and cough, ear infections and gut infections. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of such diseases and improves the health of your child.

2. Until what age should a child be breastfed?

Dr Ananya states, “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), all babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. You should start homemade foods for the baby after 6 months of age, and continue to breastfeed until the child is two years or as the mother and baby desire.” Dr Ranjana’s adds, “Exclusive breastfeeding up to six months for infants allows them access to an easily digestible and suitable form of protein, sugar and fat for the unique needs of a newborn.”

3. What are the reliable signs a baby is not getting enough milk?

– “Baby is passing a small amount of urine (less than 6 times a day) after 6 days of life. – Baby is gaining less weight (less than 500gm a month) or is less than birth weight after 2 weeks of life. Keep a lookout for these signs,” says Dr Ananya.

4. What does latch mean in breastfeeding? How do I know if the baby has latched on properly?

Dr Ananya explains latching as nothing but how your baby attaches to your breast to breastfeed. A good latch is essential to have a successful breastfeeding session. She says that a latch is considered proper if there are these signs: – Baby’s mouth is wide open – Baby’s lower lip is turned out like a fish against the breast – Baby’s chin touches the breast – You can see more of the areola above the baby’s mouth and less below