Breast feeding

The first food the new-born baby is given is water with sugar added to it. Breast-feeding begins a few hours after birth. At first the baby may be sleepy and not very willing to feed, but he will wake up bit by bit. It is important for both the mother and the baby to be comfortable so that they are both more relaxed as feeding will be more pleasant.

The first milk from the breast is called “colostrum”. The actual milk “rises” on about the third day when the baby begins to get really interested in feeding.

At each feed he should take milk from both breasts and the nursing time should be gradually increased. The purpose of this gradual increase is to harden the skin of the nipple. To prevent or relieve pain caused by cracks that may appear in the nipples it is advisable to apply special ointments after feeding times, wiping them off with a piece of gauze and warm water before giving baby the breast.

Initially, nursing will last for 2-4 minutes, increasing progressively. The more milk baby suckles, the more is produced.

If baby suckles well he can extract 85 % of a breast’s milk content in about 5 minutes. After a few days the correct method is to give him one breast for 10-15 minutes and then the other for another 10-15 minutes. At the next feed give him first the breast from which he fed last the previous time.

While nursing, it is recommended that the mother’s diet be something like the following:

1 litre of milk per day.

50 gr of cheese a day and 150 of meat or fish.

Plenty of boiled vegetables and fruit.

Avoid: asparagus, cauliflower, artichokes, garlic, radishes and onions.

Cut down on: bread, rice and Italian pasta.

It is very important for the mother to be as relaxed as possible and to get extra rest. As soon as the gynaecologist permits she should go out for walks, at least half an hour each day. It is also advisable that she go out for these short strolls alone. Thirty.minutes or so away from baby will do her the power of good.