April 1, 2008
Breastfeeding is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life. Though many first time mums have no difficulty embracing this new challenge, a lot of mums encounter a painful and often frustrating struggle when breastfeeding their baby. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the most common breastfeeding problems – the natural way.
During pregnancy, your breasts have prepared for breastfeeding which may have resulted in your breasts gaining in significant size. What is more, a few days after birth, once the milk shoots in, the breast can feel painfully tender, hot, hard and swollen. It is probably even more difficult for the baby to latch on as the nipple may be flat, thus creating more frustration. This phenomenon can occur within a few hours and once the breastfeeding process – supply and demand – is more established to work in tune, it will diminish quickly, usually within a couple of days. In order to ease the discomfort you can take the following steps:
• The best and quickest solution to reduce the pain of engorged breasts is to breastfeed frequently and long. Through your baby’s sucking the production of milk and the supply will start to run more normal.
• If the engorgement is too painful to wait for the next feed or your baby has obvious difficulty to latch on properly, try to express a bit of milk by hand before nursing.
• Wear a well-fitted nursing bra which is not too tight around the breasts. Some women may even prefer not to wear any bra in the beginning.
• If the breasts are still painful after nursing, you can try to ease the discomfort by putting chilled cabbage leaves on your breast (cut a hole in the middle for your nipple). Take them off as soon as the discomfort vanishes.
• Try a warm shower or put a warm towel around your breasts to help the fluids flow better.
First time mothers often suffer from hyper sensitive or even cracked nipples. While breast milk is usually the answer for every ailment, including cracked nipples, it may not always give sufficient protection.
• You can use Calendula ointment to speed the healing process and to prevent infections through the nipple. Even though it is safe for baby to swallow it is generally better to wipe any excess off before putting baby on the breast.
• In order to prepare the nipples for breastfeeding you can use Olive Oil in your late pregnancy stage – apply a drop twice a day. This will make them less sensitive and thus less likely to crack once you start to nurse your baby.
• Place wet tea bags, preferably chamomile, on your sore or cracked nipples. The properties in the tea will help with the healing process.
Breastfeeding during Illness
Breastfeeding is the best way to strengthen baby’s immune system and to make her resistant to germs and other bacteria. If you catch flu or some other virus, you do not have to stop breastfeeding your baby as you won’t be able to pass it on through your breast milk. However, your baby can become infected through other contact with you so it is important to wash your hands before handling your little one.
Too much Breast Milk
If you are lucky enough to have an abundance of breast milk, there are several things you can do.
You could donate your breast milk to The United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking. Thanks to breast milk donors human milk can be given to those babies who are unable to be breastfed naturally. It has proven invaluable for a healthier start for premature babies, thus allowing them to develop their immature system more positively. For more information about breast milk donation visit their website here.
However, if you decide not to donate your breast milk, you can also decrease your supply by taking two to three sage tea infusions per day. It can be very effective and will also help with weaning your baby, as it reduces the milk production slowly.
Lump in Breast and Mastitis
If you feel a lump in your breast or your breast is very hard and painful, please see your doctor or a breastfeeding specialist immediately. They will be able to give you necessary medication and/or advice.
Nurture your baby naturally at www.babysbest.co.uk
February 27, 2008
Organisations such as the La Lèche League or the Breastfeeding Network help to promote breastfeeding with all its benefits which, as a result, is becoming increasingly popular.
Fortunately, more and more women decide to at least try to feed their newborn themselves. National statistics show that there is a steady increase in initial infant breastfeeding (66% in 1995 to 69% in 2000). However, statistics also reveal that many new mothers give up breastfeeding after only a few weeks: after only one week, 55% of women breastfeed, after six weeks 43% and after 4 months 28% still feed their babies. In our modern culture, natural feeding is a challenge because bottle feeding still tends to be regarded as “easier”. Generations of parents who bottle fed their babies pass on what they have been sold decades ago. In addition, new breastfeeding problems arise that find appropriate discussion grounds in our civilisation, such as the “insufficient milk” syndrome. Yet, only about 5% of mothers show real physical difficulty to breastfeed, thus confirming that the idea of not making enough milk is a modern invention. Women may actually feel that they do not have enough milk to feed their baby but the reasons are not physical. It is more likely that the early difficulties mother and baby experience together result from stressful birthing environment, such as the hospital, where unknown staff and routine as well as doubtable reputation feed initial anxiety and thus, can add to the overall picture of the insufficient milk syndrome. Breast feeding can be highly influenced by psychosomatic elements, such as stress, anxiety, worries, depression and much more. Feeding is a natural self-regulating and extremely efficient process which is susceptible to how mothers feel, as much as anything. If a new mother does not receive the support she needs, the let-down reflex (milk flows from the ducts towards the nipple) is more difficult to be stimulated.
Besides the modern argument of “lack of sufficient milk”, many more interruptions help reduce the chance of breastfeeding, such as aesthetically motivated breast operations or if a separation of mother and baby after birth is unnecessarily prolonged. In addition, our natural desire for information societies has caused multiple parenting theories to shoot out of the grounds. Instead of helping reduce new parent’s fears they tend to increase and even confuse them. One of the often cited parent strategies is “feeding on schedule”. However, feeding in intervals causes unnecessary stress because the composition of the milk changes in a way that causes baby to feel hungry all the time. As a result, the mother will think that she does not produce enough milk whereas the truth is that she has waited too long.
Modern ways of living can make it extremely difficult for new mothers to embrace breast feeding. Their cultural background, lack of support within their own family or friends and misleading parenting information facilitate the return to bottle feeding. Moreover, cultural expectations of women who often have to return to work early in order to earn a living or pursue a career do not improve early parenting conditions.
While breast feeding is part of our natural survival strategy, bottle feeding is part of our modern culture. It gives new mothers the chance to cope easier with expectations and to help handle natural infant needs in an over-regulated world. We are aware of the fact that human milk is best for baby. Thus, it is the mother’s individual choice of how to feed her infant and to build a strong bond.
For more breastfeeding tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/