Breast is best!

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

GET­TING STARTED

Take your time to es­tab­lish the cru­cial skill of build­ing your breast­milk sup­ply. It is a myth that breast­feed­ing comes nat­u­rally for most moms. It can be dif­fi­cult in the early days. But be­cause of the long-term im­mu­nity and other ben­e­fits, it is worth­while per­sist­ing.

On day one, latch your baby to your breast within 10 min­utes of birth. The nurses in the labour room can as­sist you with the latch. In the first three days you won’t have ma­ture breast­milk. In­stead, your baby will be get­ting a tiny amount of a creamy sub­stance called colostrum.

Colostrum is much higher in pro­tein and lower in sugar and fat and is the per­fect food for your new­born baby. It is also full of an­ti­bod­ies, which kick-starts your baby’s im­mu­nity.

On day three, your milk will come in – your breasts will be­come hard and warm and may even hurt as a feed ap­proaches. Your baby will start to gulp the milk so even if you don’t have all the signs of milk com­ing in, if your baby is gulp­ing, you know the milk has come in.

If your breasts be­come un­rea­son­ably painful and hot, they may be en­gorged. Place cab­bage leaves in the fridge and then put the leaves in­side your bra be­tween feeds – they will be sooth­ing and re­duce the en­gorge­ment.

If the pain is lo­calised to a spe­cific area of the breast, you may have a blocked duct and it is im­por­tant to re­lease the block­age. You can do this by feed­ing fre­quently and mas­sag­ing the sore spot while in a warm shower to pre­vent a pro­longed blocked duct, which can lead to an in­fec­tion (called mas­ti­tis).

CAR­ING FOR YOUR NIPPLES

If your nipples are bleed­ing or feed­ing is painful, there is a good chance your baby is not latch­ing well. Not only is a poor latch dam­ag­ing for the nipples, but it also does not foster the es­tab­lish­ment of a good milk sup­ply.

A good latch is achieved when your baby takes the full are­ola (not just the nip­ple) into his mouth. To help him latch well, face him in to­wards the breast and stroke his lips with the nip­ple. He will open his mouth. As he opens his mouth wide, bring him in swiftly onto the breast.

In this way, he will latch right over the are­ola. If the latch is cor­rect, his lips will purse out­wards (like a duck’s beak) and

very lit­tle are­ola will show. Even if you have a good latch, you may find some dis­com­fort (not pain) on your nipples.

A lano­lin-based nip­ple cream should be ap­plied af­ter ev­ery feed. Breast­feed­ing can be a real chal­lenge and if your nipples are sore or you feel like your baby is not feed­ing well, the best thing you can do is call in a lac­ta­tion con­sul­tant. Find one by vis­it­ing La Leche League at www.llli.org/southafrica.

PO­SI­TION­ING FOR FEEDS

There are a few good po­si­tions for feed­ing and it will take time to find the one that works best for you and your baby.

Whichever po­si­tion you use, re­mem­ber that the most im­por­tant prin­ci­ple when po­si­tion­ing your baby is to have him fac­ing to­wards the breast with his whole body and head aligned.

The most com­mon po­si­tion is the Madonna po­si­tion, where your baby lies with his body across your tummy and legs to­wards the other breast.

If your baby is a lit­tle fussy on one of your breasts it is worth try­ing the rugby hold on that side. Face your baby to­wards your breast with his legs un­der your arm on the same side – like a rugby ball.

If your sup­ply is too strong, ly­ing down and feed­ing ly­ing down can work well to de­crease the ef­fect of grav­ity on the flow of milk. Lie on your side and face your baby to­wards your breast. YB

Es­tab­lish­ing a breast­milk sup­ply should be your num­ber one goal if you in­tend to breast­feed your baby. We share a few tips to help you get down to the ba­sics

MADONNA HOLD RUGBY HOLD

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