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3 Breastfeeding Tips For Before You Have Your Baby

3 Breastfeeding Tips For Before You Have Your Baby

Mothers experience difficulties in breastfeeding due to a multitude of reasons, be it stress, lack of supply, incorrect latching etc.

I wanted to make sure that my breastfeeding journey was as smooth as possible.

Taking care a newborn baby is in itself an enormous task, and I don’t want to be stressed out about feeding too.

Prior to the birth of my firstborn, I decided to read up more about breastfeeding and it was the best thing I could have done for my baby and myself!

I am thankful to be able to breastfeed my baby exclusively. He feeds very well and has gained close to 100% of his birth weight at only 2+ months old.

 

Here I would like to share some of my tips for a successful breastfeeding start that can be done anytime prior to the birth of your baby:

Tip 1: Join Online Support Groups

I never realised this before being a mother, but there are many helpful groups on Facebook that provide support on various topics, including mummy and breastfeeding groups.

If you are a Malaysian mummy, you would definitely want to join TBAN (The Breastfeeding Advocates Network) on Facebook.

Reading about other mummies’ questions and answers helped me immensely – my knowledge went from 0 to at least 50% from that group of 114k members strong.

Tip 2: Read a Breastfeeding Book

The more you read, the more you know, the less stressed you are, the smoother your breastfeeding experience would be.

Reading about other mummies’ experience and what worked for them can sometimes more anecdotal than factual. What works for one might not work for another.

I highly recommend my breastfeeding bible. This book is written by a doctor who is the leading researcher in the field of breastfeeding.

I have provided a summary in a previous post.

This is so helpful because you tend to get a lot of unsolicited advice, especially during the first few weeks post delivery.

And because this book is written by a leading researcher, I trust that what I read and know are facts and not just other people’s opinion. It makes me feel more confident about my knowledge and hence be brave enough to stand up for what I think is right.

Tip 3: Be Optimistic

It is easy to be afraid that for one reason or another that you are not able to breastfeed your baby.

As new mothers, we tend to over-worry about this because so many others suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle because the more you worry, the more stressed and emotionally affected you are which might ultimately reduce your supply.

According to Dr. Jack Newman, the majority of women are perfectly capable of producing all the milk their babies need for at least four to six months. Most women are capable of feeding twins or even triplets. Only a small number of women truly do not produce enough milk for their babies. These women can still breastfeed, just not exclusively with their own milk.

So, if you follow my tip #1 and especially #2, along with a positive mindset, there is a higher chance of you enjoying your breastfeeding journey.

Trust that you are able to breastfeed.

IN SUMMARY

I hope that the above has given you some idea of what you can do to prepare yourself for this amazing experience called breastfeeding. The bond that you are able to develop with your baby, and also the feeling knowing that you are able to provide for your little one is irreplaceable.

The bond that you are able to develop with your baby, and also the feeling knowing that you are able to provide for your little one is irreplaceable.

I am a firm believer that knowledge is power in breastfeeding. If you know what to expect, then you can prepare for it better.

Good luck mummies!

Till next time! xoxo

Getting off to the Best Start for Breastfeeding

Getting off to the Best Start for Breastfeeding

This is a summary of a chapter from “The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers” by Jack Newman MD and Teresa Pitman.

AKA my breastfeeding bible.

I have read all 300+ pages religously, some sections even more than twice.

Of course I still had questions when Baby E came along, but at least I knew what to expect.

Baby E is 100% breastfed and has gained close to 100% of his birth weight in 2.5 months.

Perhaps I have an abundant of milk supply, but this book definitely left a positive impact on my breastfeeding journey and made it much easier.

Having a baby can be stressful in the first few weeks with all the feeding, crying and changing of nappies.

So equipt yourself with all the breastfeeding information that you can get before the arrival of your baby. Read more. Learn from other people’s experience.

I sincerely hope that it helps you as much as it helped me.

Knowledge is the key to having a good breastfeeding experience, especially for first time mothers.

Own your breastfeeding jorney.

Till next time! xoxo

**

A mother’s experience of breastfeeding can be profoundly affected by what happens during the first few hours after her baby’s birth.

A good beginning can help her find breastfeeding easy and painless; a bad beginning can make it painful and difficult.

Here are a few ways to get a good start breastfeeding:

 

1. If possible, have a natural childbirth

– Plan to give birth with as few interventions as possible

– Eg if labor is induced with Pitocin, fluids given by the IV may increase engorgement of the breast and result in the baby having more difficulty latching on.

– A poor latch will lead to poor feeding and a lethargic baby who is jaundiced because of poor intake of milk.

– If a mother has Demerol or other painkilling medication close to the time of baby’s birth, the baby will be sleepy and have trouble coordinating his sucking motions.

 

2. Baby is put to the breast immediately after delivery

– Babies usually experience a time of quiet alertness in the first hour or two after birth.

– They are awake but not crying and seem to be primed to learning to breastfeed.

– When the baby is first put to the breast, he will often simply lick or nuzzle the nipple which is fine.

– If the mother can have relaxed, unhurried time with the baby, he will soon indicate readiness to nurse – this might take 10 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour or more after birth.

– It is no use forcing a baby to take the breast when he doesn’t want to – forcing will only make him angry or upset.

– Most importantly, mother and baby stay together during this time with skin-to-skin contact.

 

3. The baby and the mother should room in together

– Rooming in should mean 24 hours a day, not only daylight hours.

– Mothers and babies who are together will get “in sync” as they sleep and wake at the same time.

 

4. Artificial nipples must not be given to the baby

– Babies sucking on a bottle and suckling at the breast are two very different processes.

– During the first few days after giving birth, mothers produce only a small amount of a special kind of milk called colostrum.

– Colostrum is high in antibodies and is a laxative helping to help prepare the baby’s intestines to handle the milk that the breasts will soon be producing.

– “Nipple preference” rather than “nipple confusion” happens – if babies go to the breast and don’t get much milk because they are not latched on well, and are then given a bottle and get a fast flow of milk, they will develop a preference for the bottle.

– The solution is to fix the latch so that baby is able to get milk just as readily from the breast.

 

5. There should be no restriction on length or frequency of feedings

– Unrestricted feedings encourage the mother to learn her baby’s cues.

– She will be watching her baby and learning how he indicates that he is getting hungry eg moving around restlessly, making sucking motions with his lips and tongue etc.

– Limiting and scheduling feedings can actually increase the risk of sore nipples. If the baby is ravenously hungry when coming to the breast, he may grab at the nipple and not be patient enough to wait until his mother gets him properly positioned. His frustration when the milk doesn’t flow quickly enough may make him pull at the breast, often coming off it and relatching poorly, causing more pain.

– Babies at the breast for hours most likely indicate they are not properly latched on and is not really getting much milk. However, there are also some “high need” babies who want to spend more time on the breast even if they are getting enough milk. It is important to watch the baby at the breast to figure out what is going on.

 

6. Supplements of water, sugar water and/or formula are rarely required.

– There are very few medical reasons for giving supplements to babies.

– If there is a true medical issue and the baby needs a supplement, it should be given by a lactation aid or supplemental nurser while the baby is at the breast.

– In most cases, the best way to provide extra milk for the baby is to get the baby well latched on.

 

7. Proper positioning and latching on are crucial to success

– “Latching on” refers to the way the baby takes the breast into his mouth.

– A good latch means pain-free breastfeeding, and it also means that the baby will get the milk he needs.

– If you are feeling real pain when the baby is breastfeeding, the baby is probably not latched on well no matter what the nurse or other people tell you.

– The greater the mother’s supply, the less the baby needs to latch on well, but the mother may pay a price. Eg, sore nipples are almost always due to a poor latch.

Good latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing “Short” feedings Feedings that are not that frequent
Adequate latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing Longer feedings More frequent feedings
Poor latch Abundant Milk Supply -> Slower weight gain And/or sore nipples
Good latch Average Milk Supply -> Good weight gain Pain-free nursing “Short” feedings Feedings that are not that frequent
Bad latch Average Milk Supply -> Slow weight gain Sore nipples Long feedings Frequent feedings

 

 

11 Breastfeeding Myths Busted

11 Breastfeeding Myths Busted

This article originally appeared in The Telegraph.

Breastfeeding is a minefield. There are hundreds of opinions out there, and every one seems to be different. Should you do it at all? In public? Is formula better? What if you’re struggling?

It means that, often, many mums have no idea what’s true and what’s not, when it comes to feeding their babies. They can feel pressured and even guilty.

Mumsnet poll of 1,030 mums to mark World Breastfeeding Week found that three-quarters said they believed that there was “too much emphasis on telling women why they should breastfeed, and not enough on supporting them to breastfeed”.

Such is the confusion, that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has recommended breastfeeding be taught in schools, to pupils as young as 11.

The only thing to do? Ask the experts. I spoke to Rosie Dodds, forner senior policy advisor at the National Childbirth Trust, and Rebecca Schiller, chief executive of Birthrights and a doula – to bust the top 11 myths around breastfeeding.

1. Not every woman can produce milk

Actually, 99 per cent of women can produce enough milk to breastfeed. It happens more quickly for some women than others, but most can produce all the milk their baby needs.

Dodds says: “The more milk the baby takes, the more the mum produces. Sometimes women don’t think they have enough milk because the baby wants more.”

2. You don’t have to do it for 18 months

A 2014 study by Brunel University suggested that 18 months is the optimum time a woman should breastfeed, and the World Health Organisation suggests doing it for up to two years.

But Dodds says: “I would say the right time is how long the woman herself wants to do it.” She says that a baby will just continue happily for as long as its mother decides to carry on.

She recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. Thereafter, she advises mums to continue giving breast milk alongside solid food.

3. Breastfeeding isn’t that different to formula

The two milks are very different. Formula is essentially cows milk, and may contain around 30 beneficial ingredients. While breast milk has about 300.

“Breast milk helps the baby’s developing brain, their immune system, and has more hormones that will help the baby sleep, and help mothers go back to sleep,” explains Dodds.

“Babies who have been breast fed are in hospital less often. Formula-fed babies will be in hospital more often, that’s why there are these [suggested] cost savings.”

4. You can’t drink alcohol

Some mums choose not to drink at all while breastfeeding, but this is not necessary. Drinking in moderation, such as having a glass of wine with dinner, will not affect the baby.

“Alcohol does get through to breast milk, so have small amounts,” says Schiller. “The best time to drink is when you’re actually breastfeeding because by the time it gets into your system, the baby’s asleep.

“It gets into the milk at the same speed it gets into the bloodstream. It doesn’t stay in your breast milk until you’ve fed the baby – it fades as it would in your bloodstream.”

5. You can’t breastfeed if you work

Dodds say that it is possible to continue breastfeeding if a mum returns to work.

“You either do formula in the day and breastfeeding at night and weekends. Or express your milk at work and keep the milk in the fridge for the baby’s nursery or child minder.”

6. Start with short feeds and build up

This a myth that has no scientific value. Dodds says: “It’s nonsense. Feed your baby as long as it needs to be fed.”

7. Breast milk doesn’t change

Actually breast milk changes both during a feed, and during the day.

“It starts off being more thirst-quenching then you get more high fat milk that satisfies the baby,” says Dodds. “If they’re hungry they stay on longer for the ‘pudding’ which is creamy.”

8. You can’t breastfeed if you’ve had implants or piercings

So long as a plastic surgeon has not cut a milk duct, then any woman who has had cosmetic surgery, or nipple piercings, can still breastfeed.

9. It will make your boobs saggy

Recent research suggests that there is no difference between breasts that have breastfed and those that haven’t. Childbirth itself may have an effect on a women’s breasts, but feeding doesn’t.

10. You can’t breastfeed in public

Contrary to the behaviour of some establishments, you can. Under the equality act, every British woman is allowed to breastfeed in public.

In Scotland, it’s a criminal act to discriminate against a woman breastfeeding.

11. You’re a bad mother if you don’t breastfeed

Breastfeeding is not for everyone.

Schiller stresses: “No one is obligated to breastfeed and shouldn’t have to if they don’t want to. Keeping an open mind, and having a good support system are the most important things.