Breastfeeding Questions

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breast feeding When Jemma Lovejoy was pregnant, all she was thinking about was how marvellous the experience of breastfeeding was going to be. She read all the articles sent to her in the post, everything she could find on the internet to find answers for breastfeeding questions, she attended the classes every week at her community practice and she couldn't wait for the moment to arrive.

Complications at birth forced the medical team to deliver Jemma's baby via a caesarean section. For nearly two days, the mum was strapped down to a hospital bed, unable to get up or nurse her baby the way she wanted. However, when she was sent home, the real fight started. Jemma realised how difficult breastfeeding was. 'Everybody told me it would come naturally and that it was the easiest and the best thing you could do for your child. But it's not!' she said.

 

No matter how natural it may seem, it takes a lot to learn and find the right answers for breastfeeding questions. 'A lot of women are surprised by how much education it takes to nurse.' wrote Dr. Lauren Feder, in his book, Natural Baby and Childcare.

What to expect?

If you are pregnant and can't wait to start your own natural experience, be prepared for:

  • Strong pain in your nipples and breasts, especially in the first one week or so
  • Spending time and effort to teach your baby the proper latching techniques
  • Waking up frequently at night for a feed
  • Possible complications such as engorgements or mastitis (blockage of a milk conduct leading to infection)

The facial muscles of a newborn are weak and it can take a little longer for them to start sucking properly and getting full before they get tired and fall asleep. That's why it is true what they say about the first weeks of breastfeeding. They are the decisive weeks. Anybody who passes the test of the first weeks will enjoy the truly wonderful experience of breastfeeding for as long as they want.

Jemma felt she couldn't cope anymore with the sleep deprivation night feedings brought. 'It was so frustrating to wake up every hour or so and feed him. He would have 2 or 3 sucks and would fall asleep again on the breast, only to wake up in another hour for a further suck and so on,' she said. 'I thought I was doing the right thing by introducing a bottle in the evening, but I was wrong,' she continued.

Because the breastfeeding process works on a supply and demand basis, introducing formula milk will gradually decrease the breast milk supply and will end up drying out the breasts. This is ideal when you decide it's time to switch to formula feedings, as the gradual switch prevents any complications, such as engorgements or blockages in the breasts.

What is the proper latching?

The main cause of sore nipples is the improper latching of the baby's mouth on the nipples. There are a few simple steps to take in order to improve your baby's latching to the breast.

  • First, make sure you make yourself and the baby comfortable. If it works, put some music on, get a glass of water or juice or a cup of tea by your side, as it is believed that breastfeeding can cause thirst.
  • Then make sure the baby's mouth is wide open before attaching her to the nipple. To do this, it's usually enough to gently move the nipple above the baby's mouth and nose area, so the smell stimulates her desire to start feeding.
  • Bring the baby to the nipple and not the nipple to the baby. The baby's body should be resting against you and not your body hanging over the baby.
  • Make sure the baby's mouth is wide open and his lips cover as much breast tissue as possible, with his chin ducked into your breast. The proper latching is when the baby's nose is away from your breast, his chin is fully touching your breast and there is no gap in between your breast and the baby's chin. If the baby is latched properly, you shouldn't feel any pain. However, if you do, try to find out what you're doing wrong. Ask for your midwife's or your Health Visitor's help and they surely can help you with the proper latching.

You might also want to visit La Leche League's website and find the nearest breastfeeding support group in your area.

What equipment do I need for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding requires quite a lot of equipment, despite the myth that natural things come strictly naturally. You won't be able to succeed in proper breastfeeding without:

  • Breast pads (disposable or washable)
  • Nursing bras
  • Nipple cream

And it would help a lot if you also have:

  • A breast pump
  • Ice packs
  • Bottles and teats
  • Sterilizing equipment
  • Breast milk freezer bags

Should I be worried about breastfeeding in public?

You've probably heard by now many mums choose not to breastfeed because they could not handle the public exposure while feeding their babies. However, this is not a strong enough reason to put you off breastfeeding, so you could treat it as an excuse for the lack of perseverance with the effort of breastfeeding in the first weeks. If you are a genuine person and have a common sense about discretion, you will soon find it easy. There are many ways to assure discretion in public while breastfeeding:

  • use the special facilities provided by the major supermarkets and cafes for breastfeeding mums;
  • use the changing rooms in the major high street stores;
  • use a blanket or a front opening top when out in the open;
  • use a pump and feed the baby the breast milk out of a bottle or sippy cup when out;

What's the right age to stop breastfeeding?

There is no set age to stop breastfeeding. You stop whenever you feel it's become uncomfortable to breastfeed any longer.

What else do I need to know about breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding doesn't come naturally. It is no doubt the best choice for the baby's immunity system, but it does take a lot of determination and will power to pass the first one or two weeks. After this, it is absolutely guaranteed to get easier and turn into the most rewarding experience for mother and baby.

Find out more answers related to baby feeding and formula feeding on our website.