G] [BREASTFEED­IN Take spe­cial care to avoid breast­feed­ing prob­lems

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier Breastfeed­ing - BY ME­LANY BENDIX

The best care you can give your breasts while breast­feed­ing is to en­sure you get the right latch and a good hold­ing po­si­tion. Get this right from the first feed and you’re highly un­likely to suf­fer from cracked nip­ples, en­gorged breasts, mas­ti­tis or many of the other com­mon breast­feed­ing prob­lems.

The only other es­sen­tial breast care you need to prac­tise is wear­ing a good ma­ter­nity bra – prefer­ably cot­ton – in the right size, and avoid­ing tops and blouses that are too tight.

Other than this, no spe­cial care is re­ally nec­es­sary, not even lo­tions or po­tions for your nip­ples. “Your nip­ples are al­ready pro­duc­ing what they need for their pro­tec­tion,” ex­plains Esme Nel Hough, spokesper­son for La Leche League South Africa, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and sup­port to breast­feed­ing moth­ers. Just re­mem­ber not to use soap on your breasts, as this can dry out the skin. “When you bath or shower, rins­ing your breasts with clear wa­ter is fine,” says Esme, who adds that there is noth­ing wrong with us­ing a good lu­bri­cant if your nip­ples do feel a bit dry. What is wrong, though, is that old wives’ tale of need­ing to toughen up the nip­ples by rub­bing them with a towel. “It has been found that do­ing so can re­move the pro­tec­tive sub­stances pro­duced by the breast,” ex­plains Esme.


De­spite your best in­ten­tions, you may run into a few snags on your breast­feed­ing jour­ney. Deal with these sooner rather than later. con­sul­tant and chair of the Breast­feed­ing As­so­ci­a­tion. “There are rare cases where it’s caused by some­thing like a tongue or lip tie in the baby, but usu­ally the rea­son is a bad latch and/or im­proper hold­ing po­si­tion,” she ex­plains.

THRUSH Thrush is a fun­gal in­fec­tion (can­dida al­bi­cans) that can af­fect your breasts and also your baby’s mouth. “You may be at higher risk for de­vel­op­ing thrush if you or your baby has had a re­cent course of

TREAT­MENT: This dif­fers depend­ing on the cause, so it’s im­por­tant to visit your doc­tor or clinic for treat­ment.

Louise warns that thrush can easily re­cur if you don’t stick to what­ever treat­ment is given (usu­ally drops or cream) for the full du­ra­tion of the course – don’t leave any over.

Esme says there are a few good home reme­dies that can help treat thrush. “These should be used in ad­di­tion to the pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion, not in­stead of it,” she stresses. She rec­om­mends wash­ing all bras, bra pads and any other cloth­ing that comes in con­tact with your nip­ples with bleach in boiling hot wa­ter and dry­ing at high heat in a dryer or in the sun. “Rins­ing your nip­ples with a vine­gar and wa­ter so­lu­tion of one ta­ble­spoon of vine­gar to one cup wa­ter af­ter ev­ery feed­ing is help­ful,” she says. “Some women find that re­duc­ing yeast, sugar and dairy prod­ucts in their diet also helps.” YB

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