Breastfeeding Basics

This week marks world breastfeeding week, organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. This week aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action on breastfeeding and related issues.


Inform people about the importance of protecting breastfeeding.


Anchor breastfeeding support as a vital public health responsibility.


Engage with individuals and organisations for greater impact.


Galvanise action on protecting breastfeeding to improve public health.


Breastfeeding rates have been low for many years now with only 43% of newborns initiating breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth and only 41% of infants under 6 month exclusively breastfeed. 

breast feeding tops

Completely natural but not completely easy

There is an expectation that breastfeeding is easy and that it comes naturally to every single mother and baby. This isn’t true at all. While breastfeeding is one of life’s most natural phenomenon's it certainly doesn't come naturally to most with practice instead being the key to success. 

If you give birth in a hospital then be sure to take advantage of nurses, midwives and lactation consultants who can teach you to breastfeed and to get your baby to latch onto the breast. They can show you the best breastfeeding positions too. Don't be disheartened if you are struggling, speak with your health professional and see if they can give you some more help and guidance.


Am I producing enough milk?

Breast milk is a case of supply and demand. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you will produce. At first you might feel a little lost but you will soon get into a feeding routine and your supply will adjust accordingly. In the first few weeks after birth, your baby will feed every couple of hours (about 10-12 feeds a day) but don’t panic if it’s a little more or less than this. 

If your baby is growing and gaining weight then they are eating enough. Your health professional will weigh baby at your check-up visits. Your feeding pattern will change again once baby starts eating solids 

 

breastfeding pillow

Pumping breast milk

Some mothers like to pump or express their breast milk, either exclusively, with breastfeeding or to supplement formula feeding. Just like breastfeeding, pumping takes practice but once you’ve got the hang of it, it can be a great way to build a stockpile of breast milk for your partner or caregiver to use when you’re out or back at work. Did you know that you can freeze breast milk? Freshly expressed milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for 6-12 months.

Is breast really best?

The phrase 'breast is best’ has been thrown about for decades. While it’s true that breast milk is perfect, ready-made baby fuel, it’s not the only option and breastfeeding is definitely not always what’s best for every mother and baby. Breastfeeding should be a relaxed and loving experience for mother and baby but if you are not happy or having lots of issues (inverted nipples, baby has trouble latching, painful cracked nipples etc) then your baby will sense your stress and become restless. Instead of ‘breast is best’ you should think ‘fed is best’. Breastfeeding is not an obligation and you should never feel pressured into doing it if you do not want to.

tips for latching

Breastfeeding positions

There is no ‘correct’ position to breastfeed, it’s about what works for the both of you! Here are 3 of the most common positions from www.nhs.uk/start4life

 

Cradle hold

This is probably the most popular breastfeeding position. However, if you've had a caesarean, this may be uncomfortable as your baby lies across your tummy near the scar (try lying on your side or the rugby hold instead). For the cradle hold, sit in a comfy chair with armrests, or a bed with cushions or pillows around you.

  1. Lie your baby across your lap, facing you.
  2. Place your baby's head on your forearm – nose towards your nipple. Your hand should support the length of their body.
  3. Place your baby's lower arm under yours.
  4. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.

Positioning:

  1. Lie your baby across your lap, facing you.
  2. Place your baby's head on your forearm – nose towards your nipple. Your hand should support the length of their body.
  3. Place your baby's lower arm under yours.
  4. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.

 

 Lying on your side

This is a good position if you've had a caesarean or difficult delivery, or if you're breastfeeding in the middle of the night.

Positioning:

  1. Start by getting comfy lying on your side. Your baby lies facing you, so you are tummy to tummy. Check to make sure your baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line – not twisted.
  2. Put some cushions or pillows behind you for support. A rolled up baby blanket placed behind your baby will help support them - remember to remove it after you have finished feeding. If you've got a pillow under your head, make sure it's not too close to your baby's head or face.
  3. Tuck the arm you're lying on under your head or pillow (ensuring your baby's position isn't altered by the pillow) and use your free arm to support and guide your baby's head to your breast.

 

Rugby hold (or the ‘clutch’)

The rugby hold is a good position for twins as you can feed them at the same time, as well as caesarean babies as there's no pressure on the tummy and scar area.

Positioning

  1. Sit in a chair with a cushion or pillow along your side.
  2. Position your baby at your side (the side you want to feed from), under your arm, with their hips close to your hips.
  3. Your baby's nose should be level with your nipple.
  4. Support your baby's neck with the palm of your hand.
  5. Gently guide them to your nipple.

 

We hope you enjoyed this blog, why not check out Birth Trauma Awareness Week: Everything You Need To Know – SecretWhispers™ or Why All Pregnant Women Should Be Doing Perineal Massage – SecretWhispers™

Fancy a freebie? Download our FREE guide to holistic period pain remedies  or The easy way to get a stronger pelvic floor

 

References

Breastfeeding Positions | Breastfeeding Guide | Start4Life (www.nhs.uk)

PowerPoint Presentation (worldbreastfeedingweek.org)

World Breastfeeding Week 2021 | Mother&Baby (motherandbaby.co.uk)


#secretwhispers #dontignorethepelvicfloor #kegel #kegelweights #pelvicfloordumbbell #PelvicFloorChat #losetheleak #breastfeeding #fedisbest

 

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