Breast is best!
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