5 Benefits Of Early Breastfeeding, And Reasons Why It May Not Always Happen As Planned

5 Benefits Of Early Breastfeeding, And Reasons Why It May Not Always Happen As Planned

The classic image of a mother nursing her baby is ingrained in us since time immemorial. Early breastfeeding is definitely a healthy start for the mother and child, but what do you do when it doesn’t happen that way?

Early Breastfeeding And Its Benefits:

Early breastfeeding is the process of beginning to feed the newborn right after, or within one hour of childbirth. Early breastfeeding has many benefits. Here are the top 5:

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early initiation of breastfeeding, as it helps you and your child be committed to exclusive breastfeeding for longer. [1]
  2. The colostrum or early breast milk is rich in antibodies and nutrients. This gives newborns and their immunity a head start.
  3. Nursing the baby, when coupled with skin-to-skin contact in the early hours and days ensures that the newborn has a steady body temperature and blood sugar level. [2]
  4. Breastfeeding right after delivery can reduce the chances of hemorrhage for the mother. [2]
  5. In scenarios where care resources are low, regularly nursing the baby can help protect the newborn from infections and subsequent mortality. [3]

When Breastfeeding May Not Be An Option

However, mothers may struggle with early breastfeeding due to a variety of reasons. Practical considerations, including the best interest of the mother’s health, may prevent mothers from being able to feed their newborns themselves. As a new mother, keen to get every little step right for your precious child, it may be a huge disappointment when you learn that early breastfeeding may not be possible. Guilt will definitely loom large. Know that, as the mother, you’re doing your best. The rest you must leave to the medical professionals.

  • A C-section or an episiotomy can both result in stitches and pain of varying degrees. In such situations, it may not be advisable or possible for you to assume a sitting position and hold your baby. In due course, your doctor may advise suitable breastfeeding positions to try.
  • Some mothers find that milk doesn’t flow after delivery, for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Putting undue pressure on yourself in these situations can be counter-productive and even detrimental to your health.
  • In some rare cases, such as need for further surgeries or procedures, either the mother or the child may be too indisposed. During such situations, breast feeding is not the primary concern. 
  • Due to medical complications, a newborn may be placed in the NICU, where physical access to the mother might be restricted. It would be in the best interest of the baby to first avert the medical crisis and then attempt breastfeeding.
  • The mother may experience swollen and painful breasts, or even abscesses, that prevent her from being able to breastfeed. Treating the mother’s discomfort becomes first priority. 
  • Even if you have to discontinue after an early start, always put yourself first and allow yourself to heal. The doctors and nurses will attend to the baby.

Whatever the reason may be, if you find that you aren’t breast feeding easily, relax and don’t stress. If you think you would like to give it another shot, a lactation consultant or the gynecologist can give you breastfeeding tips or help teach you how to breastfeed. Every mother and child cherishes the bond of breastfeeding, but thankfully today alternatives are available to ensure the child’s health is not disadvantaged in any way.

Do you have a story of your own, or breastfeeding tips for other moms? Write to us at info@togetherforher.com and be featured on our website!

References:

  1. Early initiation of breastfeeding to promote exclusive breastfeeding, World Health Organization
  2. Breastfeeding, Alive and Thrive Technical Resources
  3. Begum, Khadija, and Kathryn G. Dewey. “Impact of early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding on newborn deaths.” (2010).

Team Together
30 May 2017

Dignity During Delivery: A Woman’s Right To Privacy In Childbirth

Dignity During Delivery: A Woman’s Right To Privacy In Childbirth

Like all other mammals, even human females when giving birth need a sense of security.

From that first pregnancy test to the first contraction, pregnancy and especially delivery are extremely personal and overwhelming experiences for a woman. It is imperative that she be accorded privacy during the intimate process of her baby’s delivery. At each step of the journey, care must be taken that she does not feel violated or uncomfortable in any which way.

Especially during a normal delivery, or vaginal delivery, a private bubble or cocoon created around the birthing mother goes a long way in giving her a sense of protection and comfort. When labour pain starts, intrusions should be minimised, unwanted members should be restricted, and her modesty should not be compromised under any circumstances.

During delivery it is essential that the mother-to-be feels relaxed and comfortable and does not experience anxiety due to her surroundings. If she is stressing due to lack of privacy or unwanted people at her labour it will increase stress hormones. This in turn will inhibit oxytocin production and will eventually slow down labour.

Here’s what hospitals and care institutions can do to ensure privacy for a woman in labour:

  • Examinations and procedures should either happen in closed chambers, or behind curtains.
  • Glass cubicles or panes if any should be frosted.
  • If the mother-to-be is giving birth in an open ward, curtains should be drawn around her.

Privacy and perceptions during labour and delivery:

Though these physical measures to ensure privacy are mostly taken, the concept and extent of personal space or “privacy” can vary from woman to woman.

Generally speaking, a woman should have the right to decide which, if any family member is going to be present at the time of her delivery or even during pregnancy check-ups.

In India this is a sensitive topic and should be approached with an open mind and the mother’s best interests at heart. Care should be taken that the woman does not feel pressurized to have, for instance, her mother-in-law with her at the time of labour. If the mother-to-be feels uncomfortable it will make the labour process protracted and long-drawn.

The mother must at no point feel obligated to include relatives especially in-laws at these junctures.

If the woman cannot stand up and ask for privacy it may be a good idea to involve the attending physician or administrative staff in limiting the number of individuals attending her delivery.

Typically, in Indian families several visitors flock to see the new born and the new mom immediately after birth. Sometimes the new mother, already worn out from the process of giving birth is almost forced to make small talk with visitors who drop by. Extra precautions should be taken to restrict visitors (such as enforcing visiting hours) to ensure the new mother gets adequate rest after her baby delivery, which will ease her passage into this new and challenging phase of life.

Privacy for a mother is important at all stages – pregnancy, delivery and post-pregnancy. Doctors, nurses, support staff and families should work in tandem to see that her need for privacy is upheld during the entire process.

Did  you find this article useful? Do you feel you had adequate privacy during your labour and delivery? Share your story with us at info@togetherforher.com and be featured on our website!

References:

  1. https://www.nct.org.uk/birth/hormones-labour