Breast-feeding not always easy

La Femme Correspondent

BREAST-FEEDING does not always come naturally. “It is a very natural and easy thing for most new mothers, but for some, it is an incredibly stressful and traumatic part of mothering,” says Richardson.

She said breast-feeding until six months helped to prevent allergies later on in baby’s life but in addition, it also:

  • Is free;
  • Is always the right temperature;
  • Is easily digested and less likely to upset your baby’s stomach;
  • Is healthy, because it contains antibodies to boost the immune system; and
  • Perfectly meets your baby’s nutritional needs.

“Most first-time mothers would really like to give breast-feeding their best shot, but many factors can occur in the early days that can really thwart any of the best intentions she may have to breast feed.

“Sleep deprivation, cracked and bleeding nipples and a crying baby can all add up to a miserable and emotional mom, a stressed out dad and the idea of a pain free feed by bottle feeding is all too tempting.”

There are many issues that can make breast-feeding difficult, and Richardson will cover these on her visit to Port Elizabeth.

Not enough milk:

Don’t listen to old wives tales about your milk being too strong or too weak.

It is not the quality of the milk that makes the difference, it is the quantity. Some moms just do not have enough milk to satisfy their baby.

This is why it is important to weigh your baby frequently to ensure that she is growing adequately.

If your baby is gaining weight, having at least six wet nappies a day, and is relatively happy in between feeds which may be very frequent in the early days, lengthening to a few hours after a few weeks; then you can rest assured that you have enough milk.

However, your stress and anxiety, a poor diet and inadequate fluid intake all play a part in hampering breast milk production. Make sure you are eating enough protein (you need to increase your protein intake three-fold while breast-feeding), drinking at least a litre of fluid a day and that feeding times are relaxed and calm.

The main hormone that ensures adequate milk production (oxytocin) is controlled by emotions, so if you are anxious and upset at feed time, this important hormone will be affected, and you will produce less milk.

Take the good days with the bad:

Have realistic expectations around breast-feeding and realise that you will have both good and bad days. Sometimes the bad days seem to be worse than the good days, but follow these simple tips and hopefully breast-feeding will work for you.

1. Feed your baby in a quiet, calm environment;

2. Take an extra minute or two to get yourself organised before feeding your baby;

3. Find the most comfortable position in which to feed;

4. Make sure that your baby is latched onto the breast correctly, with both top and bottom lip in a snug seal around your nipple;

5. To release the suction on your breast so that you can take your nipple out of his mouth, insert your finger into the corner of his mouth and gently withdraw your nipple from his mouth;

6. Allow a maximum of 40 minutes per feed;

7. Breast-fed babies often need a minute or two in between sucks to catch their breath; and

8. Breast-feeding works on a supply and demand basis – the quantity of breast milk produced is directly related to how much your baby sucks.

What now?

If breast-feeding doesn’t come naturally to you, and you are starting to feel rather desperate, remember that it takes up to six weeks to establish a feeding routine and corresponding milk supply.

However, if your struggle with breastfeeding starts to affect your mood and bonding with your baby or relationship with your partner, stress you out or cause depression, it may be time to reconsider your options.

If you have made the decision to start feeding your baby formula, or have been forced to do so because of medication you are taking or a return to work, rest assured that with today’s wide choice of milk formulas…you can ensure that your baby will be well fed.

Infant formulas today are highly advanced and are easily available.

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