Breastfeeding is a remarkable journey, unique to each mother and child. Breastfeeding is not only a precious gift but also an opportunity to provide our children with a head start in life. Mothers should find joy in their breastfeeding journey, making it a pleasurable experience rather than merely an obligation. In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, Singapore advocates for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Whether through direct latching, pumping, or feeding, the key is to provide your baby with the invaluable gift of breast milk. WHO advises introducing water or weaning food from six months onwards while continuing to supplement with breast milk.
As a part of Singapore Parenting Festivals 2023, panels in webinar “Newbie to Boobies” provide valuable insights on of breastfeeding, supporting breastfeeding mothers, overcoming challenges and maximazing milk supply, and essentials tips for successful breastfeeding
This discussion featured Ms. Yvon Bock, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC and also the founder of Hegen Pte Ltd. And hosted by Dawn Sim.
Breastfeeding is a crucial life skill that mothers need to learn before they embark on their journey of motherhood. Antenatal education is essential for new parents to gain the required knowledge to confidently start the breastfeeding journey on the right step. Mental preparation is a significant part of the process, and setting realistic expectations and goals is vital. When couples attend antenatal classes together, they can align their expectations and set goals.
They can make informed decisions, decline formula when offered, and take the lead in directing the breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding anatomy 101 is also essential. Understanding the anatomy of breasts, the nipple, areola, aveley, and oxytocin helps mothers to understand the whole process. Montgomery tubercles are oil glands that lubricate and prevent the nipples from cracking. The stages of breastfeeding should also be known. Milk is produced from the early stages of pregnancy and gradually increases in quantity over time.
Colostrum is the first milk produced after birth and provides essential nutrients and antibodies to the baby. Transitional milk replaces colostrum and gradually changes into mature milk. Finally, understanding the common breastfeeding problems like engorgement, blocked milk ducts, sore nipples, and mastitis is crucial for mothers. With adequate antenatal education, mothers can proactively prepare for the breastfeeding journey, breastfeed confidently, and have a better bonding experience with their babies.
Mental preparation plays a significant role in breastfeeding success. Setting realistic expectations and aligning goals with your partner are essential. When both parents attend antenatal classes, they can establish a shared understanding of what to expect and how to handle situations such as declining formula offers. Some may wonder if healthcare providers or confinement centers can take care of these aspects, but being clear and aware from the start.
Essential Tips for Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers
Breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of a newborn’s life, and supporting mothers during this journey is vital for their well-being and the baby’s health. In this article, we will discuss six key points to remember when assisting breastfeeding mothers.
These tips include the importance of skin-to-skin contact, practicing patience, achieving the correct latch and breastfeeding position, rooming in with the baby, monitoring hunger cues, and avoiding unnecessary supplementation. Additionally, we will explore the significance of seeking help, measuring nipple size, using the right tools, and maintaining a calm mindset.
By implementing these guidelines, partners, family members, and healthcare professionals can play an active role in supporting breastfeeding mothers.
1. Skin-to-Skin Contact
Immediately after birth, it is essential to engage in skin-to-skin contact with the newborn. This practice helps stimulate breastfeeding and strengthens the bond between mother and child. Even in the case of a C-section, fathers can participate by having skin-to-skin contact with the baby.
2. Patience and Practice
Breastfeeding is a skill that both mothers and babies need to learn. It is crucial to be patient and practice frequently, around eight to twelve times a day during the newborn period. Seek guidance from experienced professionals and don’t hesitate to ask for assistance to ensure you are getting it right.
3. Correct Latch and Breastfeeding Position:
Achieving a deep latch is vital for successful breastfeeding. The baby’s chin should touch the bottom of the breast first, and then they should latch on. Observing the mouth and lips position is important to ensure a comfortable latch without pain or nipple soreness.
4. Rooming In:
Rooming in with the baby allows parents to get to know their newborn and establish a strong bond. It also enables monitoring of hunger cues and facilitates feeding on demand. Regular breastfeeding stimulates milk supply and ensures the baby receives adequate nutrition.
5. Avoiding Supplementation:
Unless medically indicated, it is advised to avoid using bottles, tips, and supplements. Establishing a breastfeeding routine and ensuring the baby is familiar and confident with breastfeeding before introducing other feeding methods is crucial. Breastfeeding should be a collaborative effort involving both parents.
6. Seeking Help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a necessary step in supporting breastfeeding mothers. Spouses, family members, and healthcare professionals should be involved in assisting with tasks such as diaper changing, bathing, and burping, allowing the mother to focus on breastfeeding and rest. Consulting with a lactation consultant or pro-breastfeeding pediatrician can provide valuable guidance and support.
Overcoming Challenges and Maximizing Milk Supply
Breastfeeding is a unique and personal journey for every mother and baby. While it can be a rewarding experience, it also comes with its share of challenges. This aims to address some common concerns and provide strategies to overcome them, while also maximizing milk supply. From understanding low milk supply to maintaining motivation and seeking support, here’s a comprehensive guide to successful breastfeeding.
Defining Low Milk Supply
Low milk supply is subjective and can vary depending on the baby’s age and appetite. It refers to a situation where the mother’s milk production is insufficient to meet the baby’s needs. It is important to differentiate between true low supply and perceived low supply, as some mothers may compare themselves to others and feel inadequate even when their supply is sufficient.
Strategies to Increase Milk Supply
To improve milk supply, it is essential to stimulate the breasts and create more demand. The following strategies can help:
- Latching and Pumping: Breastfeeding directly is the best way to stimulate milk production due to the hormonal response it triggers. After each feeding, consider using an electric pump for an additional 15 minutes to further stimulate milk production.
- Herbal Supplements and Medication: If you genuinely feel you have low supply, consult your healthcare provider, whether it’s your OBGYN or family physician, who can prescribe herbs or medications to enhance milk production if necessary.
Seeking Help and Support
Breastfeeding challenges can be discouraging, but it’s crucial not to give up. Reach out to lactation consultants or other breastfeeding support groups for assistance. They can provide personalized guidance and address specific concerns, helping you navigate your unique breastfeeding journey.
Breast Massage and Stimulating Milk Supply
Massaging the breasts can help stimulate milk supply. Gently massage the breasts in a circular motion, avoiding the areola area. A few minutes of massage at 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions, while maintaining a distance of about three centimeters from the nipple, can make breastfeeding more comfortable and enhance milk flow.
Alcohol Consumption and Breastfeeding
Although alcohol consumption while breastfeeding is discouraged, an occasional indulgence is acceptable. If you decide to have a drink, it is recommended to nurse or pump before consuming alcohol and wait at least two to three hours before breastfeeding again. To be on the safe side, consider pumping and storing the milk for later use or repurposing it for other non-oral purposes, such as using it as a facial mask.
Breastfeeding and Vegetarian Diet
Maintaining a vegetarian diet while breastfeeding can be healthy, but it’s essential to ensure adequate nutrient intake. Inform your OBGYN or consult a nutritionist to address any potential nutrient deficiencies and obtain appropriate supplements if needed. A well-balanced vegetarian diet should not affect the quality of your breast milk.
Promoting a Good Latch and Overcoming Challenges
A proper latch is crucial for successful breastfeeding. Ensure that your baby’s posture is correct, with the ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line. Position the baby’s mouth so that the chin touches the breast, the mouth is wide open, and the tongue is
Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success: Monitoring, Challenges, and Preparation
Breastfeeding can come with its own set of challenges. Ms. Yvon shared the key points covering topics such as monitoring your baby’s intake, breastfeeding with inverted nipples, introducing water and bottles, the timing of colostrum collection, and preparing for breastfeeding success. By understanding these aspects, mothers can navigate the breastfeeding journey with confidence and ease.
To assess whether a newborn is feeding enough or not, a common method used by lactation consultants is to weigh the baby before and after a feeding session. The weight increment helps determine if the baby is taking in enough milk or not. However, it’s essential to weigh the baby without a diaper to ensure accuracy.
Inverted nipples can make breastfeeding challenging, but it’s not impossible. The severity of the inversion varies, and with the guidance of a lactation consultant, it’s possible to breastfeed successfully. There are step-by-step methods to follow, and consulting a lactation centre is recommended for the right guidance.
Introducing water to a baby’s diet can be done around the third or fourth week. However, it’s crucial to establish a breastfeeding routine first and ensure the baby is confident latching on and drawing milk regularly before introducing the bottle. Starting with one bottle a day with breast milk is recommended, and it’s best if someone else other than the mother gives it to the baby to avoid confusion.
Colostrum collection is another aspect of breastfeeding that requires guidance and hygienic procedures. It’s recommended to collect colostrum seven weeks onwards and only if it’s a full-term pregnancy, as early collection may trigger early labour. It’s essential to collect colostrum in a safe and hygienic way and store it properly as newborns have low immunity levels.
Nipple size also evolves along the pregnancy journey, and measuring them around 37 weeks of pregnancy is recommended. Preparing the breast pump before childbirth is also crucial, as it’s essential to have the right tools to help with breastfeeding. Lastly, buying a breast pump before childbirth is recommended to ensure it’s readily available when the baby arrives.
Overall, breastfeeding is an important part of newborn care, and seeking the right guidance and following proper procedures can help new mothers navigate it successfully.