Breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial gifts a woman can give to her baby. It is essentially “living food” and is filled with antibodies and probiotics. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer ear infections and other illnesses in comparison to babies who are not breastfed. This is due to antibodies contained within a mother’s milk. They also have fewer problems with reflux and constipation than other babies. This is due to breast milk being digested twice as fast as formula. For mothers, the benefits of breastfeeding come in bonding, a possible quicker return to pre-pregnancy size, and less money spent on formula. However, as wonderful as breastfeeding can be, it is not without its challenges. Here is an FAQ of common breastfeeding concerns:

  1. What are common holds to use when breastfeeding? Common holds include cradle, cross cradle, football, laid back, and side-lying. We recommend learning about and practicing these holds before your baby comes.
  2. Will my nipples be sore when I breastfeed? Sore nipples often result from a poor latch. We recommend fixing this first. Baby needs to lead with his chin first as he latches on with a wide open mouth. He then needs to take as much of the areola as possible into his mouth. If you hear smacking noises, break the latch. Then tickle his cheek, and allow him to relatch.
  3. If my nipples are already sore, what can I do? Always express a little breast milk onto breasts at the end of each feeding and allow to air dry. Never use soap on nipples as they are self-cleaning. If nipples are still sore, then lanolin ointment can be used as a barrier. Just wipe it off prior to your baby’s next feeding.
  4. How can I increase my supply? Remember that supply equals demand. The easiest way to increase this is to nurse or pump more frequently. Also, make sure to eat a wholesome diet with moderate calorie nutritious foods and drink 2.5-3 litres of water per day.
  5. What can I do to relieve a clogged milk duct? Apply a heated compress to the area of concern to “loosen” the milk. Then massage area while nursing or pumping. It may help to position the baby’s chin in the direction of the blockage.
  6. How do I continue breastfeeding when I return to work? Women going back to work need to learn to pump and store milk. Their babies will need to learn to take a bottle from an alternate care provider.
  7. How do I store breast milk and heat a bottle? For breast milk storage, the “Rule of Fives” is a good tool. Fresh breast milk can be stored at room temperature for 5 hours, in a refrigerator for 5 days, and in a regular freezer for 5 months. When heating a bottle, simply place it in a cup of hot water and test it on your arm prior to serving. Never microwave breast milk as it will kill the good bacteria.
  8. How do I wean? Remember that weaning takes time. The best way to wean is to drop one feeding a week until you are finished. In addition, you may use cabbage leaves applied directly to the nipples to reduce milk production. We also recommend tighter bras such as a sports bra and limited nipple stimulation.

The 5 . Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

  1. Skin to Skin
    Right from birth or as soon as possible place your baby on your chest. Skin to skin helps stabilize baby’s temperature and heart and respiratory rates. Babies cry less and both mom and baby feel more relaxed when they are skin to skin, resulting in an increased milk supply.
  2. Early Feeding Cues
    When babies are hungry they become more active and alert. They may make sucking motions and noises with their mouths, suck on their hands or turn their heads looking for the breast showing that they are hungry. Crying is usually a late sign of hunger. Generally babies feed every 1 – 3 hours in the first few days. If your baby is sleepy, be sure to wake your baby if it’s been 3 hours since the last feeding.
  3. Rooming In
    Keep your baby close to you but in a separate sleeping space throughout the night. “Rooming in” encourages skin to skin to contact and helps you recognize early feeding cues. In studies, new mothers slept an average of 2 more hours in a 24-hour period when their babies were close by.
  4. Exclusive Breastfeeding
    Unless there is a medical reason not to breastfeed, babies should receive only breast milk for the first 6 months of life and continue with breastfeeding for 12 months. Early introduction of formula can interfere with breast milk production and even one bottle can destroy the protective acidic environment of the intestines present from breast milk. If your baby is born early or needs special care, your breast milk will be especially important for proper development and helping your baby get better faster. Your nurse and Lactation Consultant can teach you how to pump your milk if your baby cannot breastfeed.
  5. Ask for Help
    Ask your nurse to help you breastfeed. She should watch you breastfeed several times before you leave the hospital. Talk to your Lactation Consultant if you are having any troubles. After you leave the hospital contact your Lactation Consultant when you have trouble with breastfeeding. Ask your Lactation Consultant about new mother’s groups in the area.
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