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Breastfeeding tips for moms

Breastfeeding tips for moms

Breastfeeding a newborn can sometimes be a source of stress for a new mom. “Is the latch right?” “Is my baby getting enough milk?” “This hurts!” 

We are here with expert tips and really great information about breastfeeding to alleviate some of the stress. 

Nutritionally, breast milk is a complete and perfect food, an ideal combination of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients for your baby.  Breast milk is a living, changing as needed, nourishing miracle.   Some of this information is from this article, read the whole thing, it is fascinating!

Why Breast milk is important?

Colostrum special milk for a newborn. Colostrum is low in fat but high in carbohydrates and protein, making it quickly and easily digestible to newborns in urgent need of its contents. It also has a laxative effect that helps a baby pass its meconium.

Mature breast milk, which typically comes in a few days after a woman has given birth, is 3 to 5 percent fat and holds an impressive list of minerals and vitamins: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and E. Long chain fatty acids like DHA (an omega-3) and AA (an omega-6).  All these nutrients make growth and brain development possible. 

There are sugars called oligosaccharides in breast milk.  These are complex chains of sugars unique to human milk. Oligosaccharides can't be digested by infants; they exist to feed the microbes that populate a baby's digestive system. Breast milk is filled with good bacteria, that keep our digestive systems functioning properly.

So mother's milk contains not only the bacteria necessary to help a baby break down food, but the food for the bacteria themselves to thrive.

Breast-fed babies have lower instances of colds and viruses. When they do get sick, they are often able to recover more quickly because the mother's body produces antibodies specific to the baby's infection. It is really a mind blowing idea, one human body creating specific antibodies for another human body! 

This is how it works, according to Katie Hinde, a biologist and professor at the Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University,  when a baby suckles at its mother's breast, a vacuum is created. Within that vacuum, the infant's saliva is sucked back into the mother's nipple, where receptors in her mammary gland read its signals. This "baby spit backwash," contains information about the baby's immune status. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that baby spit backwash is one of the ways that breast milk adjusts its immunological composition. If the mammary gland receptors detect the presence of pathogens, they compel the mother's body to produce antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies travel through breast milk back into the baby's body, where they target the infection. 

AMAZING!!

 Tips from a professional

Anna Burch, RN, IBCLC gave us the 3 top concerns that she gets as a Lactation Consultant.

#1 - Breastmilk Supply

People are often concerned about their milk supply and feel like it has decreased. (As women we have the tendency to jump to the worst case scenario in our head really quickly).

Breastmilk supply is demand driven, meaning the more milk that is removed from the breast the more milk your body will make to replace that milk. Because of this, your breastmilk supply does not decrease without something triggering it.

Common causes for “sudden” decreased milk supply are:

  • increase in length of time between feedings (such as baby sleeping longer throughout the night, or skipping a feeding session at another time, or baby eating more solid food and having less breastmilk)
  • recent changes to caloric intake (such as decreasing calories and exercising to lose weight - this sometimes affects supply, not always);
  • having hormonal imbalances, such as Thyroid disorder, PCOS, or Diabetes, that are not managed.
  • Stress

For the most part, I have found that when moms perceive their supply to have decreased it is actually baby going through a growth spurt and demanding more milk to meet their increased need. Which means that your supply is actually increasing. ;) 

When babies are going through a growth spurt they will

  • often feed more frequently,
  • feed for longer periods of time,
  • wake more frequently at night,
  • act hungry right after a “normal” feeding session.

This is your baby demanding your body to make more milk, NOT telling you that you aren’t making enough milk anymore. (At least that is the case the majority of the time).

#2 - Baby not staying latched very long/refusing the breast

 Always offer the breast first, before supplementing with expressed breastmilk or formula. Be patient with yourself and your baby, you are both learning a new skill and it can take time, practice, and a whole lot of patience.

It is common for your newborn to fall asleep at the breast quickly for the first several weeks. Do what you can to keep them awake and keep them sucking.

  • massage the baby’s head (crown) in a circular motion while nursing.
  • using a wet cold washcloth and wiping back against the grain of the hair growth can help Try this for several days and see if there’s improvement, and please update us as you can.
  • switch breasts as soon as the baby begins to lose interest in active nursing, this *may* need to be done every 30 to 60 seconds at first (the first few times you do it). You should begin to see a difference within a couple days of doing this.

 

If the baby won’t stay latched onto the breast and gets fussy I recommend doing hand-expression or pumping for 1-2 minutes (until let-down occurs) to help have milk readily available for baby (this is especially helpful for babies that are used to the ease of bottle feeding). This can help babies to stay latched on for longer and not get as tired as quickly.

I always recommend frequent skin-to-skin contact to help promote breastfeeding and promote a mother/child bond.

#3 - Best way to feed baby with a bottle

 Paced bottle feeding

Use a slow-flow nipple (size “0”). When feeding the baby, have them sit more upright and hold the bottle more perpendicular to the baby. (there are videos on youtube about paced bottle feeding).

I like to teach women to trust their bodies and know that they can produce the milk needed for their baby. If they ever have questions or concerns they should reach out to an IBCLC.

Contact Anna for a consultation




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