SEVEN SE­CRETS TO SAVVY BREAST­FEED­ING

Know­ing these game-chang­ing facts makes all the dif­fer­ence

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Game-chang­ing facts make all the dif­fer­ence

The let-down re­flex only works when you’re re­laxed

Shut­ting your eyes for five sec­onds and tak­ing a deep breath be­fore you start a feed can re­ally help. Your let-down re­flex— na­ture’s way of turn­ing on the milk flow—works best when you’re re­laxed, so by let­ting go of any stress, you let your hor­mones do their job. You can give them a head start too by hav­ing a ski­non-skin cud­dle be­fore you be­gin, as this stim­u­lates the re­lease. With prac­tice, just think­ing about your baby will be enough to trig­ger a re­sponse. Hor­mones also kick in as your baby starts to suck on your nip­ple, telling your mam­mary glands to pro­duce and re­lease milk. You can mimic this by mas­sag­ing your breast gen­tly, help­ing in­duce the tin­gling sen­sa­tion that sig­nals milk is on its way.

Breastmilk is 88.1% wa­ter

Yes, it may be packed with all sorts of nat­u­ral good­ies, but breastmilk is al­most 90 per cent wa­ter. And this means that it’s vi­tal that you keep your body hy­drated. Have a medium-sized glass of wa­ter to hand while your baby’s feed­ing to re­hy­drate as you go. And your urine will in­di­cate whether you’re drink­ing enough: pale yel­low is good, but any darker means you’re not drink­ing enough.

You are right- or left-boobed

More than three quar­ters of mums find that their right breast nat­u­rally pro­duces more milk than their left—and this has no re­la­tion to whether you’re left- or right-handed. So you’re not just imag­in­ing that one boob is bet­ter at this feed­ing busi­ness than the other!

Tick­ling his ear will keep him awake

There’s a sleep-in­duc­ing sub­stance in your milk called tryp­to­phan, which means that your breast­feed­ing baby is likely to start snooz­ing on the job. This is of­ten more no­tice­able dur­ing evening feeds, as your breastmilk brings your baby’s cir­ca­dian rhythm (his nat­u­ral 24-hour pat­tern of be­hav­iour) in sync with your own, stim­u­lat­ing him ear­lier in the day and leav­ing him more re­laxed to­wards night-time. But nod­ding off can mean he doesn’t drink his fill. To get your baby to drink more in one sit­ting to avoid an all-night sleep-snack-sleep cy­cle, wake him gen­tly when he nods off at your nip­ple. Try tick­ling his foot and ear to see which works best at keep­ing him awake. If he still looks sleepy, try using a dif­fer­ent hold, or stop mid­way through a feed to wind him and change his nappy. Switch­ing him tem­po­rar­ily to the other boob, with its faster flow, then back, can also keep him busy suck­ling to make sure he has enough be­fore he set­tles to sleep.

Empty boobs make more milk

Breastmilk is pro­duced on a sup­ply-and-de­mand ba­sis, so the more of­ten and ef­fec­tively

your baby feeds, the more milk you’ll make. It’s im­por­tant to feed your baby fre­quently from the start. An emp­tier breast pro­duces more milk and with a higher fat con­tent, so en­cour­age this by al­ter­nat­ing which boob you of­fer first at each feed. Check your baby’s at­tach­ment —any click­ing noises he makes could in­di­cate a less-thanef­fec­tive latch, which will af­fect how much milk he gets out. And make sure he fin­ishes all the milk in one breast be­fore he starts on the sec­ond. Gen­tly squeez­ing your boob will help him drain the last drop. An empty boob is a soft one, so use a breast pump if yours still feel hard after he’s fed, or pump your en­gorged breasts be­tween nurs­ing ses­sions to main­tain a healthy milk sup­ply.

Your baby likes a var­ied menu

What you eat can flavour your breastmilk for up to eight hours. Stud­ies have shown that flavours pass from mum to baby, with sci­en­tists liken­ing the process to a ‘brestau­rant’ with a con­stantly chang­ing menu. So eat a var­ied diet, and let your lit­tle one en­joy his din­ing out!

His nap­pies tell you if he’s drink­ing well

The colour and tex­ture of your baby’s poos will tell you a lot about how he’s di­gest­ing his milk. From the dark and sticky meco­nium pro­duced for the first few days after birth, his poo should soon turn a bright or mus­tard yel­low. It may be softer or looser and con­tain grains of undi­gested milk fat – all per­fectly normal. Poo that’s lime green or frothy could in­di­cate di­ges­tive trou­bles, per­haps be­cause your baby is fill­ing up on the high­lac­tose foremilk and not get­ting enough of the richer, creamier milk at the end of the feed. Check­ing his latch and mak­ing sure he fin­ishes on one boob be­fore of­fer­ing him the other should soon fix this, but ask your mid­wife or health vis­i­tor for ad­vice if pe­cu­liar poo per­sists. Mon­i­tor­ing the fre­quency of your baby’s poos will of­fer more clues about his milk in­take. Ex­pect at least two poos a day for the first six to eight weeks—less could in­di­cate he’s not get­ting enough fluid.

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