..::AiN d'HeArTy::..


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Top Ten Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

How to Get Off to a Good Start with Breastfeeding Your Baby
(Jan 27, 2009 Hayley Nichols )

Breastfeeding can be a challenge in the beginning, but being aware of a few key pointers can prevent problems and ensure that you are able to continue feeding your baby.

The first weeks of breastfeeding are crucial in establishing a good milk supply and ensuring that mother and baby continue a happy nursing relationship. Support, patience, and knowledge that supports the instincts of mother and baby are all important.

The following tips come from Breastfeeding Naturally by Hannah Lothrop [Fisher Books, 1999]; The Food of Love: Your Formula for Successful Breastfeeding by Kate Evans [Soft Skull Press, March 2009]; and the Unicef pamphlet Off to the Best Start: Important Information About Feeding your Baby.

Support for Breastfeeding
With support, breastfeeding tends to continue for longer. Organisations such as La Leche League provide free support and information for breastfeeding mothers. A lactation consultant can also help with more serious problems. Meeting with other breastfeeding mothers through informal, community-based groups can keep motivation up and offers vital support.

Breastfeed When Relaxed
The let-down reflex, which pumps fresh milk down through the breasts, is intimately linked with relaxation and self-confidence. Therefore it is well worth “setting the stage” for successful breastfeeding by consciously relaxing. Make sure to have enough pillows, sit or lie comfortably, and take some deep breaths before beginning. Visualisation can help too.

Correct Latch/Positioning
If the baby is not correctly held and latched on to the breast, he will not be able to get a good “mouthful” and take enough milk in. This can also make the mother’s nipples sore and cause a discontented baby.

Look for the following signs that the baby is correctly latched on to the breast:

1.His or her head and body should be in a great line.
2.He/she is swallowing about once a second after letdown.
3.His/her jaw muscles are working.
4.He/she has a big mouthful of breast, with the bottom lip curled down and under it. 5.There should be more areola visible above the baby’s top lip than below his or her bottom lip.
6.He/she is relaxed after the “let down” of milk and feeds calmly.

Understand Supply and Demand
The more a baby is breastfed, the more milk will be produced. Giving other food or drink reduces the milk supply, as the baby will “ask” for the breast less often. In a few medical cases, a baby needs supplementary feeds of infant formula, but these are rare.

Similarly, using pacifiers and artificial teats can also reduce the number of times baby “asks” for the breast, thus reducing milk supply.

Let Baby Set the Pace
Allow baby to finish sucking on one breast before offering the other. If baby is taken off one breast before his sucking has slowed down and he seems satisfied, he may only get a taste of the watery “foremilk” and not be receiving enough of the richer “hindmilk” full of essential fats. This causes a risk of inadequate weight gain and other problems.

Self Care: Get Enough Rest
Get whatever help you can in the first weeks, and don’t worry about the house being perfect. Don’t be afraid to ask: friends and family who visit can bring freezable meals and help with the dishes. Lying in bed and relaxing with baby as much as possible in the early days increases the odds of breastfeeding going well.

Self Care: A Good Diet
Breastfeeding mothers need extra calories and quality food. Although no matter what mothers eat, enough milk will be made to nourish the baby, the mother’s health and energy levels can suffer if the diet is lacking. A normal, balanced diet with particular attention to calcium and zinc levels is advised.

Forget About Scheduled Feeds
Because breastfeeding is a matter of supply and demand, feeding when the baby needs it, rather than according to any schedule, is the best way to ensure a plentiful milk supply. Mothers who feed “on demand” also have half as many cases of sore and cracked nipples, as those who feed four-hourly. If long breaks between feeds have become a pattern, the milk supply can be restored within 48 hours by breastfeeding whenever baby is hungry.

Night Feeds
Night feeds increase levels of prolactin, the hormone that causes milk to be produced, and therefore keep milk supply up. While most mothers would ultimately like their baby to sleep through the night, in the early months this is unlikely to happen, and should not be forced, as babies genuinely need the calories of the milk and the comfort and physical contact that breastfeeding provides.

Feeding On the Go
It makes life much easier, and breastfeeding more convenient, if you can nurse in a sling or baby carrier. The Food of Love has some good tips on how to breastfeed in a sling.

Breastfeeding not only offers many health benefits to both baby and mother but also sets the foundation for a loving, close relationship in years to come. It is well worth the effort, and enlisting as much support as possible can make all the difference.

N/B: Can't wait to make this round breastfeeding moment a successful one for me. InsyaAllah.

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