Embracing the myriad benefits of breastfeeding for our precious little one, we courageously embark on the path of nurturing them through this nurturing act. Naturally, this journey may not unfold without its challenges. One of the initial hurdles we encounter is the process of lactation initiation. Let us explore the insights shared in this article, guiding us towards the effective initiation of lactation.
The process by which a mother's milk production transitions from nonexistence to its initial onset immediately after giving birth is commonly referred to as lactogenesis.
Time of Occurrence:
Generally observed between 1 to 3 days postpartum.
Common challenges during the Lactogenesis and their corresponding strategies for addressing them.
1.Insufficient effective suckling affecting lactation initiation
- The baby's suckling is the best stimulus for mother's lactation, but some babies may have certain physiological defects after birth, such as tongue-tie or high palate, which impairs their ability to effectively suckle from the mother's breast. This can result in difficulties during the lactation initiation phase or even later stages of breastfeeding. It is recommended to take the baby to the hospital for appropriate treatment, as such treatments are not overly challenging, and parents need not worry excessively.
- In the event of unforeseen circumstances during late pregnancy, such as premature birth requiring the baby to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, resulting in mother-baby separation, the baby may be unable to suckle from the mother's breast. In such cases, the mother can use a breast pump combined with manual breast expression after childbirth as a substitute for the baby's suckling. This can accelerate breast gland activation and ensure a smooth lactation initiation phase.
- The condition of inverted nipples in mothers can significantly impact lactation. Inverted nipples refer to a situation where the mother's nipples are positioned below the level of the areola, making it challenging for the baby to latch on properly. Additionally, milk accumulation in the breast can increase the likelihood of developing conditions such as mastitis or breast abscess. It is advisable for mothers with inverted nipples to consider using nipple correctors to address this issue or seek guidance from a medical professional.
- The discomfort experienced in the nipples hinders the process of milk letdown.
- The baby's improper latch can lead to sensitivity, redness, and even cracked or fissured nipples for the mother. The optimal treatment approach involves exposing the nipples to sunlight, applying heat, and keeping the area around the nipples dry. It is advised to avoid using plastic nipple protectors or breast pads with plastic layers, as they can hinder moisture evaporation and impede nipple healing.
- Simultaneously, adjusting the baby's breastfeeding position is crucial to preventing nipple pain and cracking. The correct latch involves the baby's upper and lower lips flanged outward, creating a "fish mouth" shape. The baby's chin should be pressed against the mother's breast, while their nose remains free for normal breathing.
- Certainly, mothers can take preventive measures in advance. During the late stages of pregnancy, it is important to avoid excessive cleaning of the nipples. It is generally recommended to gently wipe the nipples with a warm towel and apply a thin layer of nipple cream. After giving birth, it is advisable to continue using nipple cream before and after breastfeeding to protect the nipples.
Moreover, for mothers who experience pain during breastfeeding despite having healthy nipples, breathable nipple protectors can be used to provide protection.
- Psychological issues can have an impact on milk production.
- Postpartum fatigue, hormonal changes, and maternal anxiety about milk production can all affect a mother's ability to lactate after childbirth. It is essential for mothers to ensure an adequate amount of rest, maintain a balanced diet, and supplement with sufficient nutrients. New mothers should understand that milk production in the early stage is typically measured in drops. On the first day, the reference amount of milk is approximately 10-50ml. For mothers who have undergone a caesarean section, it is common for lactation to be delayed, with milk production typically starting on the second day. Therefore, there is no need to be overly anxious.
- The first 72 hours after childbirth have a significant impact on the quantity of milk in the later stages. It is important to diligently breastfeed during this period, stimulating the mammary glands through frequent and regular nursing, which lays a good foundation for an ample milk supply in the future.
- Colostrum, also known as "liquid gold," is highly valuable in the beginning. The initial expressed milk can be fed to the newborn using a nursing cup or a silicone dropper, which helps prevent nipple confusion and increases maternal confidence.