In this section about breastfeeding we will look at
● Reasons you may like to breastfeed
● Getting breastfeeding started
● Latching baby at the breast
● Signs breastfeeding is going well
● Expressing & when the mother cannot be with baby
● Common challenges
Reasons you may like to consider breastfeeding
Reasons breastfeeding is good for your baby
● Helps to build baby’s immune system
● Reduced risk of childhood obesity
● Reduced risk of childhood leukemia and some cancers
● Antibodies are in breastmilk that help to fight of viruses & illness
● Reduced risks of SIDS
● Less likelihood of vomiting & diarrhea bugs
Reasons breastfeeding is good for parents & mothers
● Reduced risk of breast & ovarian cancer
● Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
● Reduced risk of osteoporosis
● Its free
● Helps to encourage the womb to contract after birth
● Protective to mothers mental health
● Ready when you need it
Reasons breastfeeding is good for society
● Zero waste product
● Save the NHS money due to better health outcomes
● Helps to reduce inequality
These points are not exhaustive and there are plenty more that could be added. You may be unsure about breastfeeding for personal reasons, if that is the case, you can discuss your concerns for free & in confidence with our breastfeeding counsellor. The support offered is non-judgmental and can help you to decide what feels right for your family.
Getting breastfeeding started
After baby is born, if possible, you will be offered skin to skin with your baby. Here, baby will often have their first breastfeed. Baby can self latch if placed on mums body providing they can reach up to the breast. Therefore it can be helpful to place baby so their mouth is lower than the mothers nipples.
Latching baby at the breast
No matter what position is comfortable for you to feed in, some principles remain the same, following CHIN can help baby to latch well:
C – Close to mum
Keeping baby touching mum, with no gaps can be helpful
H – Head free
Babies need to be able to look up to latch on, a hand behind the back
of baby’s head can prevent this, supporting baby’s neck can be more
I – Inline
Imagine your own posture when taking a sip of water. You will likely
have your head and body in a straight line and look up to take a sip.
This is the position most babies prefer to feed in too
N – Nose to nipple
When latching baby ensuring your nipple is in line with baby’s nose will
encourage baby to look up to latch on, this will enable baby to have a
nice wide mouth & take a big mouthful of breast
You can learn more about attaching baby in this video:
Some mothers also find Biological Nurturing helpful too.
Signs breastfeeding is going well
Some parents worry about the amount of milk the baby is taking at the breast. Here are some signs baby is doing well:
- Breastfeeding is comfortable & pain free beyond the initial latch and first moments of the feed
- Baby is having enough wet & dirty nappies
- Baby is feeding a good 8 – but more like 10-14 – times in a 24 hour period
- Baby has periods of being settled (this may only be when being held, in the early days being in contact with mum, even if not feeding, helps to stimulate the milk supply).
- Baby has periods of being alert and letting parents know they are hungry
- Baby has a good skin tone without signs of jaundice
If you have any concerns about this (and you live in North Devon or Torridge) you can call your midwife if under 28 days on 01271 322605, your health visitor on 0333 234 1904 or one of the following helplines:
- National Childbirth Trust (NCT) 0300 330 0700 (option 1)
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0300 330 5453
- La Leche League 0345 120 2918
- National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
You can also contact Early Nourishment for support.
Expressing & when mum is apart from baby
There may be times that mums are unable to breastfeed but want to ensure that they are continuing to make milk for their baby.
If the mum does not breastfeed her baby or express her milk, the milk is likely to disappear. This is because the mum’s breasts and nipples need stimulation so the body knows to make milk. If baby won’t latch, early support as discussed above can make all the difference. If mum and baby are apart for any reason these principles may help to ensure adequate milk supply.
- Ensure skin to skin if possible with baby if possible
- Express milk using a good electric pump at least 8 times in 24 hours with at least once over night – expressing more than this will help even more
- Consider power pumping some evenings to mimic cluster feeding
- Put a sock over the collection container & do something relaxing when pumping – looking at your baby or a picture if apart can help.
- Try to remember it’s about stimulation not amount expressed
- If baby is able to breastfeed, using a one piece silicone pump (pictured below) on the opposite breast can catch extra milk.
You may also want to express your milk for other reasons, this article has a wealth of information.
Breastfeeding does not always go as planned and mums may have some challenges to overcome.
The large majority of the time, breastfeeding issues are to do with how baby is feeding so going back to the above information on latching baby at the breast would be a good idea.
Here is a list of common challenges, each problem takes you to a link to learn more.
- Blocked ducts & mastitis
- Sore or cracked nipples
- Tongue tie
- Low or static weight gain
- Baby will not latch
- Low milk supply
- Medication not compatible with breastfeeding
Getting support at the earliest sign there could be an issue means breastfeeding is more likely to work out.
Breastfeeding can look different for each family. We are here for you to support you and offer information.