Breastfeeding the way forward

By Granny Potts

Hello again new moms! All mothers want to do their best for their babies it goes without saying. So many mothers decided not to breastfeed and it's such a shame. If you talk to them they will give you all the negatives and its really is enough to put new moms off the idea before they have even tried. So let's see if we can dispel some of those negativeness and see if we can raise a discussion to promote breast feeding as the way forward.

1. Women say I can't nurse as my breasts are too small or too big. 

Size of the breast doesn't matter. The milk is not stored in the breast but is Iet-down by reflex into little milk sack in the breast. This is with the effect of hormones. If you are relaxed sitting comfortably - perhaps listening to soothing music with a glass of water this reflex occurs naturally. Look into your baby's eyes. Your milk will flow.

2. Some women say I can't nurse as my milk is too watery. 

The consistency of the milk changes as the feeding progresses. You will notice this if you express. At the beginning of the feed the milk looks thin almost watery. Then the longer you nurse the thick creamy milk flows. By about 20 minutes of sucking the baby will have had enough. He will suck for a while then rest then suck again. Time the sucking part of his feed. If he is a small baby, say 5 pounds, he may suck for five minutes only and require nursing more often. Be prepared since has onlya little stomach.

3. Some women say I can't nurse as I just don't have the milk. 

The more the baby feeds or the more you express the more milk you make. That is the physiology of breastfeeding. The less you nurse the less you make. If you give your baby formula he won't be hungry for your milk so he won't nurse and it really is the beginning of the end.

4. Some women say I can't breast feed as I'm frightened of the pain caused by cracked nipples. 

Let me say here and now that cracked sore nipples are caused through bad management. This condition can always be avoided. Here is how:

1. You must make sure you have the baby correctly latched on. The hospital staff will show you how. The baby makes a big mouth and the brown areola part of the breast with the nipple goes into his mouth so the nipple rest on his soft palate. If you stroke the corner of the baby's mouth with the nipple he will open his mouth wide by reflex. To take him off the breast insert a finger into his mouth to break the suction. Don't pull him off or you will damage the nipple.

2. Wear a good supporting bra. You will maintain the tautness of the breast if you keep the delicate muscle fibres in the breast supported at all times.  A nursing bra is essential also so you can insert disposable breast pads to absorb your flowing milk. You will find that while you feed on one side the other side lactates also. The pads must be changed so the nipples are not continuously wet. You need to be measured for your bra. If it's too tight your nipple can be inverted which will make it difficult for the baby to latch on correctly. Use nipple protection balm - choose one to suit you in between feeds at the beginning. You won't need it for long.

3. Feed using one breast at a time. This will give your other side a rest. The consistency of the milk changes as you feed. The fatty part of the milk is at the end of the feed. This stays in his tummy longer to keep him satisfied so he will sleeplonger between feeds. If you feed 10 minutes each side he will get the volume but not the creamy stuff. It's my belief that this  volume gives the baby tummy pain. No proof just a thought.

4. Express to avoid engorged breasts. The third day after birth is when your milk forms and it can be uncomfortable with some women,  really painful with swollen breasts so the baby can't latch on. You need to express. Use your wonderful electric breast pump to take some of the milk off to make the breast softer so he can latch on. Freeze the expressed milk for future occasions - say to leave with sitter while you and partner have a few hours off duty. Another tip we use here in England is to put a green cabbage in the fridge so it is nice and cold and insert a leaf inside your bra next to the breast. Wonderful relief. Things will settle as breastfeeding becomes established by the 10th day.

 One word of warning. Should you decide to stop breastfeeding you must not suddenly stop. This should done gradually say one feed at a time. There is a danger of mastitis - inflammation of the breast. You will get fever, flu like symptoms and painful red breast. This will require medical intervention with antibiotic treatment as prescribed by your doctor.

 You need a well balanced diet, plenty of rest, drink plenty, relax and enjoy the experience. Talk to breast feeding moms for support and don't listen to negativeness.

Breastfeeding is so convenient. It is on tap,  sterile and just at the right temperature and so individual for your baby. Many moms talk about the healing properties of breast milk and indeed there are living cells in breast milk that you don't get with formula. You will notice your baby gets fewer colds than formula fed babies and of course less danger of becoming an overfed fat baby which would hamper his development. Formula milk can be expensive. Why consider any other method than breastfeeding.

Go on moms, you know it makes sense. Give it a go. 

About Granny Potts

She is a mother of three and grandmother of two from England, and lives there with her husband. A former midwife, nurse and teacher now retired. She successfully breastfed all her children who are now in turn successful mothers and citizens and for which she feels very blessed.