Episode 2 - Breastfeeding
Top tips every mother needs to know about breastfeeding.
For many, the first few weeks of a breastfeeding relationship can be challenging. Both mum and her baby have to learn about each other, about positioning and a good latch.
And then just when you’ve dealt with colostrum, your milk comes in and it’s all about how often the baby feeds and sleeps and poos and wees. And just when you’ve hit your stride, something else happens to change the pattern and there’s another issue to worry about!
- Give yourself and your baby time to learn this new skill; keep your baby close with lots of skin-to-skin contact
- Watch and listen to your baby. Learn her cues; eye movement, hands coming towards the face, mouth movements, rooting towards your chest, whimpering: know that crying is a late sign of hunger
- There are no rules about how long a baby will feed! Some are very efficient feeders, nursing in shorter spurts more frequently.
- Be flexible. Most babies do not feed by the clock. Trying to force a schedule will make everyone unhappy
- Babies do 25 percent of their growing at night and need food to do so; they are not designed to ‘sleep through’
- You cannot spoil a baby. They aren’t capable of manipulation. Her wants are her needs – for at least the first year! Listen to yourself; you know your baby better than anyone else. Trust your instinct
- Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If it does take your baby off the breast by gently breaking the suction and then relatch. If things don’t improve talk to La Leche League.
- You can get pregnant while breastfeeding however it is less likely if a) your baby is under six months AND b) your periods have not resumed AND c) your baby is breastfeeding exclusively day and night
There’s so much more to breastfeeding than a good latch. Support and encouragement from partners, whanau and friends can make the difference to how long you breastfeed.
As a La Leche League Leader I am often asked about babies’ ‘normal’ feeding habits. My observations as a Leader coupled with my personal experience of extended breastfeeding, have taught me that every baby is different. If you want more useful information, a fantastic reference book is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – I highly recommend it! There are few rules and there is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. If you need support, talk to La Leche League ( www.lalecheleague.org.nz). The secret is to do what works for you and your baby.
Things you didn't know about breastfeeding:
- Breastmilk is a living food. It develops with your baby so your milk is always right for your baby
- Once you start breastfeeding, milk is always being made. It’s made more rapidly when the breast is less full
- Your baby is in control of your milk supply and will regulate the supply to meet his needs, by sometimes feeding more frequently; the less you feed your baby, the less milk you will make
- Human milk remains an important source of energy, protein and other nutrients such as vitamin A and iron, even when babies begin to consume additional foods after six months
- Human milk helps protect your child against disease for as long as she breastfeeds
- Breastfeeding protects your health too. Breastfeeding reduces the chance of osteoporosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the child's first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.