Breastfeeding is when you feed your baby breast milk, either directly from your breast or from a baby milk feeding bottle.
You can sit or lie down to breastfeed. It is up to you what you prefer.
Breastfeed your baby as follows:
- Put your baby’s belly against yours.
- Bring your baby towards you with their nose at the height of your nipple.
- Your baby opens its mouth and licks your nipple.
- Your nipple and a large part of the areola are in their mouth.
- Your baby’s lips are curled outwards, and the baby sucks.
In the beginning, most babies feed about every 2 hours, then about every 4 hours. However, every baby is different. Feed your baby when they ask for it.
If your baby is hungry, they can give you one or more of the following signals:
- Moves arms.
- Moves mouth and tongue.
- Licks or sucks hands.
- Gets agitated.
To produce healthy breastmilk for your baby, do not:
- Drink alcohol
- Take drugs
- Take medicines without consulting your healthcare provider first.
If you cannot breastfeed, there are other ways to bond with your baby. These ways include holding your baby frequently and having skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
A woman is fertile again around three weeks after delivery. She can get pregnant if she has unprotected sex, even if she has not yet had a menstrual period.
Breastfeeding is a form of natural family planning.
The breastfeeding method only works under the following conditions:
- The method only works during the first six months following delivery. After six months, it is best to use a method of contraception.
- The woman must only breastfeed her baby. This means the baby only gets breast milk. There should never be more than 4 hours between feedings during the day and 6 hours during the night.
- The woman should not express milk. Expressing milk is squeezing the breast with a hand or using a pump to suck milk from the breast.
It is not easy to meet all of these conditions. If you do not meet these conditions, you may have an unintended pregnancy. You should use a modern method of contraception while breastfeeding. It is best to use one of these modern methods of contraception:
- Contraceptive pill.
- Contraceptive implant.
- Contraceptive injection.
- Copper IUD.
- Hormonal IUD.
Start using the contraceptive pill, hormonal IUD or contraceptive injection at least six weeks after delivery. You can start using condoms or the copper IUD earlier. Ask your midwife or healthcare provider for advice.