Breastfeeding not only provides your baby with antibodies to make her immune system stronger and protect her from allergies, chest and ear infections, and diarrhoea, it also contains the important components for the development of her brain and nervous system.
But, in certain circumstances, breastfeeding can be too challenging, and moms choose to formula-feed their babies instead. In this case, moms may be reluctant to try breastfeeding a second time, but here are some encouraging reasons why you should try your hand at it again.
1. You’ll know what to expect
Breastfeeding the second time around is easier because it’s not unfamiliar to you. Lactation Consultant Ana Frawley from the Netcare Parklane Hospital says that new moms fear the unknown, and breastfeeding for the first time is unfamiliar territory. “They don’t know what to do and they think that their newborn is very fragile, when in fact babies are quite strong.” Your little one is actually tougher than you think, and all she needs is to be fed, changed, loved and rocked to sleep. Moms will know this the second time around, and will thus be more settled and relaxed. You’ll have had a little practice by the time your second baby is born, and will know how to deal with any problems and challenges you may have had with your first baby.
2. It won’t hurt so much the second time
Ana says that breastfeeding is usually less painful the second time around, because you know how to breastfeed. “The reason for painful breastfeeding the first time is because your baby didn’t latch properly, but now that you know more about how to get your little one to latch, breastfeeding won’t be painful.” With your second child, you’ll know how to position her so that she can latch correctly and not hurt you. You’ll remember exactly where you went wrong with your first baby, and how to improve or change your methods with the second one.
Tips to get your baby to latch correctly:
- Make sure that your baby is hugging you and lying tummy-to-tummy against you.
- Your baby should be facing your breast, with your nipple pointing towards her nose. Your nipple shouldn’t be positioned straight in your little one’s mouth, as she won’t be able to tilt her head back and latch properly.
- When your baby latches, make sure there are no dimples in her cheeks. If there’s a dimple, it means she’s not latched properly and it may hurt when you breastfeed. If this happens, remove her from your breast and re-position her. Make sure that she has full cheeks when she’s sucking and that she’s swallowing.
3. You may have more milk this time
According to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, women produce significantly more milk with their second baby than they did with their first. So, breastfeeding your little one the second time around should be a lot less stressful, knowing that you are in fact producing enough milk.
4. You know what works for you
Having breastfed before, you’ll have a better idea of how your breasts work and what works for you and your baby. “Now you’ll also know that painful breastfeeding means that your little one isn’t latched on properly, and you’ll know how to fix the problem. And if you can’t find a solution yourself, you’ll know who to ask for help and advice,” says Ana.
5. You’ll be more relaxed
With your first baby, breastfeeding may have been stressful and frustrating because you didn’t know what to expect, or how to handle a screaming baby who seemed hungry but wouldn’t latch. This time around, you’ll understand what your baby needs, why she needs to wake up often to be fed, and why you shouldn’t stretch out her feeds. Although there may still be other challenges with the second child, breastfeeding will definitely be a little more smooth sailing from now on.
6. Breastfeeding around people should be easier
Hopefully by now you should be feeling a lot more comfortable when you have to nurse your little one in a public place. Breastfeeding in front of others, especially in public can be quite awkward, but you will have learnt a few discreet nursing tips with your first child that you can implement and improve on with your second baby. After all, breastfeeding is completely natural, and when done discreetly, there’s nothing to um and ah about.
The benefits of breastfeeding
*Information provided by lactation consultant, Sr Brenda Campbell from Netcare Clinic.
*Originally published in March 2012
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