Whether you’re bot­tle- or breast­feed­ing, follow our four-step plan: it will help

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

A step-by-step guide to ease nurs­ing woes

IF your baby has colic, then you’ll know how tricky it can be to soothe him. That’s be­cause colic has many causes, and not all of them are fully un­der­stood yet. And it might be that there are sev­eral causes con­tribut­ing to your baby’s colic. Ex­perts be­lieve that some symp­toms may be feed­ing-re­lated, ei­ther trig­gered by the milk it­self or the way a baby drinks. So, as a first step, it


One of the most likely colic cul­prits is trapped wind—and even if this isn’t the pri­mary cause of your baby’s colic, air in his di­ges­tive sys­tem will con­trib­ute to his symp­toms. “So part of the puz­zle to soothe his colic is mak­ing sure you don’t put any air into him as you feed him,” says feed­ing spe­cial­ist Shel Banks. And po­si­tion­ing your baby care­fully as you breast­feed is an im­por­tant first step, as this will af­fect how he draws and then di­gests the milk. Shel ad­vises hold­ing him closely and se­curely against you in a near-hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion: “Wrap him around your ribs like a belt,” she sug­gests. “Use the arm op­po­site the breast you’re feed­ing from to sup­port him, po­si­tion­ing your fore­arm un­der his lower body as if you were play­ing a set of bag­pipes. Place the palm of this hand be­tween your baby’s shoul­ders, with the heel of this hand on his spine (A, above). Use your first two fin­gers to sup­port the un­der­side of his head, like a shelf (B), point­ing your thumb to­wards his jaw on the up­per side (C). makes sense to elim­i­nate any po­ten­tial prob­lems caused by how your baby is drink­ing his milk. Whether you’re feed­ing him by breast or bot­tle, or a com­bi­na­tion of the two, these mustdo steps will keep his di­ges­tive sys­tem run­ning smoothly and hope­fully help ease his colic—and may even pre­vent it in the first place! Your other arm can pro­vide ex­tra sup­port if needed (D).”

Do all this, and get him com­fort­able be­fore you put him near your breast. “Once he’s in place, move him so his face trav­els around from your cleav­age to­wards your breast, un­til his nose is at your nip­ple,” she adds. And take your time to make sure you’ve got this step just right be­fore you move on to the next.


Think about drink­ing through a straw your­self: suck­ing up a drink through one straw is fine, but try it with two and you’ll draw air through the gap in the mid­dle. And in the same way, any tiny open­ings in the seal be­tween your baby’s mouth and your nip­ple will mean that he sucks air down with the milk. Your baby’s ‘at­tach­ment’ is how he takes your breast into his mouth to feed, and get­ting this spot-on will pre­vent him from swal­low­ing any air that will con­trib­ute to colic. So you’ve com­pleted Step 1 and your baby’s nose is at your nip­ple. Next, place his chin against your breast while his mouth is still closed. “He will reach up with his face at this point, open­ing his mouth wide,” ex­plains Shel. “As his top lip passes over your nip­ple, keep his chin gen­tly pressed against your lower breast. Now move him fur­ther onto your breast by bring­ing your wrist to­wards your ribs, with­out chang­ing the an­gle of his chin.” It will take a few tries to per­fect this ma­noeu­vre, but take it slowly and once you’ve got it, it will be­come sec­ond na­ture. And you’ll find your baby is more pa­tient with you than you might ex­pect! Your nip­ple should now be point­ing up to­wards the back of the roof of your baby’s mouth. This can be dif­fi­cult to judge from above, so look in a mir­ror to check. Draw an imag­i­nary line through your breast from your ribs and out of your nip­ple—if that line ex­its your baby’s head at the pointy bit at the top of his head, the latch is cor­rect. If it’s point­ing to­wards his ear, re­po­si­tion him. There are other checks you can do to make sure your baby has a good ‘latch’ —the name given to the way he uses his mouth to draw milk. “His chin should be pressed against your breast, but his nose should be clear of it and his mouth wide open,” says Shel. “He should have a dou­ble chin and full, rounded cheeks. Check too that more of the dark area sur­round­ing your nip­ple, the are­ola, is vis­i­ble above his top lip than be­low his bot­tom lip.”


Breast­milk changes from a wa­tery liq­uid at first, to a thicker, fat­tier con­sis­tency as your baby drains more from your breast. “The wa­tery milk is thirstquench­ing,” ex­plains Shel, “and while it will tem­po­rar­ily fill your baby, it won’t sat­isfy him for long. It’s high in lac­tose and low in pro­tein, and too much of it can fer­ment in his gut, caus­ing tummy pain. But if your baby draws plenty of the richer, fat­tier milk as well, he will be more con­tented.” These two types of milk are some­times called ‘fore milk’ and ‘hind milk’, but don’t be mis­led by these terms, which sug­gest a cut-off point where the con­sis­tency switches. In re­al­ity, the change is more grad­ual. “Think about us­ing just one breast per feed,” Shel adds. “So if he comes off your breast but doesn’t look fin­ished, try the same breast again. If he ob­jects, then of­fer him the other breast. That way, you’re en­sur­ing he gets that thicker milk. And you’ll know if he’s had his fill of richer milk as he’ll look ‘milk drunk’, maybe lolling his head slightly with per­haps some creamy liq­uid trick­ling from the side of his mouth. He’ll be sat­is­fied, and won’t want to feed again for a while.”


The ‘com­pres­sion’ tech­nique is re­ally use­ful when it comes to help­ing a very young, col­icky baby. It sim­ply in­volves us­ing your hand to ap­ply pres­sure to your breast as your baby suck­les to en­sure full ‘let down’ of your milk. “The pres­sure should never be so great as to hurt or bruise your breast,” ex­plains Shel. “Your baby will start to pat or smack your breast with his hands as he gets older, to im­prove milk flow. Com­pres­sion is sim­ply do­ing this for him, be­fore he learns to do it him­self.”





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