World Breast­feed­ing Week cel­e­brated in Au­gust

Vuk'uzenzele - - Youhtehalftohcus - You know your baby is feed­ing well when: Where to get help and sup­port Talk to the nurses at your lo­cal hos­pi­tal or clinic. La Leche League of South Africa is a vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and sup­port to women who want to breast­feed t

BreAsT­Feed­Ing is ar­guably the best start in life you can give to your new­born baby.

The first week in Au­gust is World Breast­feed­ing Week, an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign that sup­ports and pro­motes breast­feed­ing to im­prove ba­bies’ health.

Breast­feed­ing is ar­guably the best start in life you can give to your new­born baby. And while it is not al­ways easy, get­ting ad­vice or help from a pro­fes­sional in the early stages will be well worth the ef­fort for you and your baby.

Why breast is best for baby Breast milk is eas­ily di­gestible and has the per­fect mix of vi­ta­mins, pro­tein and fat, giv­ing ba­bies the best nu­tri­tion to help them grow.

In ad­di­tion to con­tain­ing all the vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents your baby needs in the first few months of its life, breast milk is packed with dis­ease-fight­ing sub­stances that pro­tect your baby from a long list of ill­nesses.

It helps your baby fight off viruses and bac­te­ria, and also re­duces your baby’s risk of de­vel­op­ing al­ler­gies or asthma. Stud­ies also in­di­cate that stom­ach viruses, lower res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses, ear in­fec­tions, and menin­gi­tis oc­cur less in breast­fed ba­bies and are less se­vere when they do oc­cur.

Fur­ther­more, ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing – where the baby is not fed any solid food, for­mula or wa­ter – is deemed to of­fer the most pro­tec­tion in the first six months.

The phys­i­cal close­ness in the form of skin-to-skin touch­ing and eye con­tact pro­mote mother-and-child bond­ing and helps your baby feel se­cure.

Ben­e­fits for mom

Although breast­feed­ing can be hard work in the be­gin­ning, be­sides the many health ad­van­tages for your baby, you also stand to ben­e­fit in many ways.

Firstly, the baby’s suck­ing dur­ing breast­feed­ing causes the mother’s uterus to con­tract and re­duces the flow of blood af­ter de­liv­ery. It also re­leases a hor­mone – oxy­tocin – that not only pro­motes a feel­ing of warmth and calm, but also helps your uterus re­turn to its pre-preg­nancy size.

In terms of health ben­e­fits, breast­feed­ing low­ers your risk of breast and ovar­ian can­cer and re­search in­di­cates it may also lower your chances of os­teo­poro­sis. In ad­di­tion, it burns ex­tra calo­ries.

And of course when it comes to cost, breast­feed­ing is the most eco­nom­i­cal way for you to pro­vide your baby with the nu­tri­tion needed with­out hav­ing to spend a cent. It is also con­ve­nient and saves you the time and trou­ble of hav­ing to pre­pare for­mula and ster­ilise bot­tles, al­low­ing you more time to bond with your baby in­stead.

Many new moth­ers worry that they don’t have enough milk, and stop breast­feed­ing in favour of for­mula when they see their baby’s weight drop­ping.

How­ever, re­mem­ber that some weight loss in the first few days is com­pletely nor­mal and most ba­bies re­turn to their birth weight within two weeks of de­liv­ery. Nor­mal weight gain is be­tween 20 and 30 grams per day, or be­tween 150 and 210 grams per week.

If your baby is not steadily gain­ing weight ev­ery week,

How to breast­feed

Every­one will have their own opin­ion when it comes to how you should breast­feed your baby. How­ever, what works for some­one else may not nec­es­sar­ily work for you.

It’s best to take it day by day and find what works best for you and your baby. Let your baby feed when it is hun­gry or you will risk de­creased milk pro­duc­tion for your­self and poor weight gain for your baby.

Make sure you are sit­ting com­fort­ably and you are well sup­ported.

Hold your baby close to you, fac­ing your chest. Po­si­tion your baby on his side, with his nose op­po­site your nip­ple.

Sup­port your breast from un­der­neath.

Po­si­tion your fingers well back from the are­ola/nip­ple, so your can take a big mouth­ful of breast tis­sue. Touch your baby’s lips with your nip­ple to en­cour­age him to open his mouth wide.

Make sure your baby’s mouth is very wide (like yawn­ing), then bring him to the breast quickly, chin first.

Make sure your baby’s bot­tom lip is well down over the are­ola, ‘off cen­tre’. Con­tinue to sup­port your your mid­wife or nurs­ing pro­fes­sional will be able to ad­vise breast un­til your baby is suck­ing and swal­low­ing, in a deep rhyth­mic pat­tern. If you ex­pe­ri­ence pain once your baby has started swal­low­ing, take your baby off and re-at­tach. Re­mem­ber to insert a clean fin­ger be­tween the baby’s gums, to break the seal when tak­ing your baby off the breast. Af­ter some ini­tial short fre­quent sucks to stim­u­late milk flow, your baby be­gins to swal­low. Suck­ing be­comes slower, deeper and more rhyth­mic with rest pe­ri­ods be­tween each suck­ing burst. As the feed pro­gresses, the suck­ing bursts be­come shorter and the rest pe­ri­ods longer. You can hear or see your baby swal­low­ing.

Your baby is set­tled af­ter most feeds.

Your baby is alert, ac­tive and con­tent when awake. Your baby has at least six soaked cloth nap­pies, in 24 hours, af­ter your milk ‘comes in’; dis­pos­able nap­pies should be heavy and spongy.

Your baby has at least one yel­low, loose bowel ac­tion ev­ery day, af­ter ini­tial meco­nium (the first bowel ac­tion) has passed. you whether you should be top­ping up with for­mula.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.