Manner of Breast Feeding

In comparison with the benefits of breast-feeding in terms of nutrition, immensely greater benefits result from the proper manner of breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is a scientific process, and cleanliness as well as health is intimately connected with it. The mother should wash her hands, scrubbing them well with soap beforehand. She should also clean cloth dipped in warm water. It is only after these measures that the baby should be fed.

The first feed at about six o’clock in the morning should be invariably given while lying down in bed, because the first feed must be given when the mother is comfortable, relaxed and mentally at peace. Sometimes the mother can recline against the wall or cushions, and hold the baby in her arms while feeding it, and she should relax for some minutes after the feed. In any case, the mother should assume a comfortable position, and feed the baby lovingly, with a peaceful mind, taking care to see that no discomfort or difficulty is caused to the baby. If necessary the baby’s health can be supported in the crook of the arm, the rest are large and heavy, it would be advisable to support the breast being used for feeding with the free hand, so that its weight does not bear down on baby’s face or neck.

Breast feeding is not merely a physical process; the activity involves, and is affected by, the entire personalities and emotions of the mother and baby. That is why it is important for caresses, while thinking noble, peaceful thoughts and in a generally benign mood. This is not an activity to be engaged in when you are angry or in a hurry. Never should the baby be fed while mother is engaged in quarreling or loud altercation. Feeding under these conditions will not benefit the child, nor quieten its emotions, As the body or the child is intimately soothing and inspiring atmosphere while feeding.

The mother should select, if possible, an isolated, peaceful, airy and well-lighted place for feeding the baby.

Another question that is worth considering is whether the baby should be fed at one breast or both the breasts in one feeding session. Ordinarily, the baby should be fed at each breast alternately till the milk in each one is exhausted. The proportion of fats in the last portions of breast milk is greater, and if feeding is continued till the milk in a breast is exhausted, the baby at both the breasts, but the baby does not get the last portion of milk with the extra fats. It would therefore be advisable to feed the baby at one breast till all the milk in it is exhausted. The next time it is fed, the baby may be put to the other breast. If even this system fails to empty the breasts, the mother may carefully express some of the milk into a clean sterilized glass, cover it and keep it aside to be given to the baby with a spoon when necessary.