Breastfeeding Basics

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1 Breastfeeding Basics

2 Facts About Breastfeeding Breast milk is much more than a food. Breast milk is the preferred food for babies, but it is so much more. Breast milk has unique anti-infective properties that can protect babies from infections. Human babies are quite immature at birth. Their immune systems are not fully developed. Human milk helps protect babies while their immune systems are still developing. Your body will make antibodies to whatever you are exposed to, including bacteria or viruses. As a breastfeeding mother, these antibodies are in your milk and passed along to your baby. These antibodies protect your baby from the same illnesses to which you are exposed. Breast milk contains fats which help breastfed babies with brain and nerve growth. Breast milk protects against diseases that happen later in life, such as Crohn s disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies and even insulin dependent diabetes. Choosing breastfeeding is the healthiest and best start for your baby. Advantages for breastfed babies: Score higher on IQ and other tests of intellectual functioning Have lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Have a lower risk of childhood obesity Have a lower risk of diabetes Fewer serious illnesses Fewer allergies Advantages for women who breastfeed usually include: Recovering from childbirth more quickly Helping to shrink the uterus, resulting in less bleeding after birth and helping to prevent anemia Returning to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly Being less likely to become pregnant in the first six months after birth, provided you breastfeed exclusively Improved bonding with your baby, in part because of skin contact Enhanced relaxation caused by lactation hormones Formula is only a food. Formula cannot do most of what breast milk can do. Breast milk encourages the growth of good bacteria in the baby s gut, keeping the baby s gut healthy and decreasing the odor of bowel movements. Breast milk has living growth factors that stimulate the lining of the baby s gut to mature. Breast milk has hundreds of protective factors, and has been shown to protect babies from influenza, meningitis, celiac disease, and salmonella. Breastfeeding may also provide protection from certain breast and uterine cancers. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the protection. Of course, you should continue breast self-exams, mammograms and Pap tests as advised by your healthcare provider. Other Benefits of Breastfeeding: Fewer sick visits to the pediatrician. Breastfed babies have far fewer visits to the doctor for ear infections, gastrointestinal upsets, diarrhea, constipation, colds, pneumonia, and many other common childhood illnesses. 1

3 Exclusive breastfeeding means that the baby is receiving no food or drink other than its mother s milk. Fewer lost days of work or school. When babies are healthier, their parents spend less time out of work caring for them and taking them to the doctor. Fewer laundry hassles. Formula stains are very difficult to remove from clothing. Breastmilk washes right out. Used clothing from a breastfed baby looks good as new. More time for relaxation. With exclusive breastfeeding, there are no bottles and nipples to wash, no formula to mix. Traveling light. Going out for a walk or a short trip with a breastfed baby is much less work for mothers. Breastfeeding mothers can just pick up their baby and go. No need to carry along bottles and formula and figure out how to clean and mix formula on the road. Lower grocery bills. Formula feeding is expensive! In addition to formula, parents must buy bottles and nipples. Take your own informal survey. Just look at lots of babies. Watch parents feeding babies. How do the babies react? How does the mother look at the baby during the feeding time? Talk to other women about how they fed their babies. Women who breastfeed will talk about it with pride. Even an elderly woman will still be proud of having nursed her baby (who may now be 50 or 60 years old!). Women feel good about themselves for breastfeeding. But will the father feel left out? Dad can play with the baby, talk to the baby, bathe the baby or take the baby for a walk. He has so much he can do to help with the baby! Babies love to fall asleep in their dad s arms. What about going back to work? Many mothers pump or express milk for their baby at work. Some mothers continue to partially breastfeed after they go back to work or school. The longer a baby has been breastfed, the easier partial breastfeeding works. Many mothers are very happy to know that they are able to give their baby the best nutrition, protection against illness and something only they can provide. Will a woman s milk be good enough if she doesn t eat right? Yes! Regardless of what they eat, mother s milk is nutritious. Poor diets in the United States tend to be good by international standards. Yet unfortunately many women pass up breastfeeding because they think that poor diets lead to poor milk. This is so unfortunate. It s just not true. They all still make good milk. Of course, mothers feel better when eating healthy foods. Doesn t breastfeeding deplete the mother s body? No! Breastfeeding makes your body digest food more efficiently. Your metabolic rate adjusts. Breastfeeding reduces your risk for osteoporosis in later life because your body uses calcium more efficiently while breastfeeding. 2

4 Breastfeeding helps you rebuild your iron stores by eliminating menstrual periods, usually for several months after childbirth. Can I get pregnant again while breastfeeding? Breastfeeding has always been the traditional method of child spacing. Remember that exclusive breastfeeding can delay pregnancy for the first few months it does not prevent pregnancy during the full nursing period! Women are encouraged to talk to their doctor about family planning options. Breastfeeding makes a mom feel good. Research shows that breastfeeding makes women feel good. When a women nurses, her body releases hormones that make her feel peaceful. What about cigarette smoking? Of course, mothers should try to quit. But babies get more nicotine by breathing second hand smoke than through their mother s milk. If a woman doesn t quit smoking, she should try to cut down. She should not smoke before or during a feeding. Regardless of how your baby is fed, keep the home and car smoke free. If nursing makes women feel better, why are they so tired? All new mothers are tired, whether they breast feed or formula feed. Giving birth takes a lot of energy and having a new baby is a lot of work! By breastfeeding, you can feel good about giving your baby the very best start in life healthy nutrients, the perfect food, and time to snuggle close to you. Why do so many women have problems breastfeeding? Many breastfeeding women want information and support from other people. In other cultures, other women teach new mothers how to nurse their babies. Breastfeeding support groups became popular in the United States because they were needed. When you become a mother, you may be unsure of yourself. You sometimes need help and support from someone who understands breastfeeding. It can make early breastfeeding so much more enjoyable. Breastfeeding support is available! Call Advocate BroMenn Medical Center lactation consultants at if you need help. 3

5 Breastfeeding Tips 1. A newborn baby should eat 8 12 or more times every 24 hours. 2. By five days of age an exclusively breastfed baby should have six soaking we diapers and two or more large seedy soiled diapers daily. If your baby does not have six wet diapers/two soiled diapers and your are concerned contact your baby s doctor and the lactation consultant. 3. Every time milk is removed from your breast they are stimulated to make more milk. If you are concerned about your milk supply, breastfeeed more often. If you are concerned about your baby getting enough breast milk, keep track of the number of wet diapers your baby has in a 24 hour period. 4. If you experience more than mild discomfort when breastfeeding, check that your baby is properly latched onto your breast; if you continue to have more than mild discomfort, call the lactation consultant. 5. Do not hesitate to contact the lactation consultants with any questions or concerns at

6 Latching your baby on 1. Make sure you have clean hands to start the feeding. 2. Feed your baby when s/he is rooting, putting his/her hands to his/her mouth, quietly looking around. 3. Hold your baby in a position that you feel comfortable and you can see when his/her mouth is open wide. 4. When the baby s mouth is wide open with his/her tongue down bring the baby to the breast (not the breast to the baby). 5. When she is well latched on, she/he will have fat round checks that do not draw inward. You will NOT hear a smacking sound. The baby s jaw should go up and down. If your baby is not well latched on, put your clean little finger in his/her mouth to break the seal and try again. 6. Do not allow your baby to just have the end of the nipple in his/her mouth. If the baby only has the end of the nipple, your nipples will be sore and your baby will not get as much milk. 5

7 About Pumps Hand expression is used by most of the world s women. It is quick, easy, and always available. Learning to remove milk with your hands takes some practice. Start by massaging your breast in small circular motions with your finger tips. This helps to begin the milk ejection reflex. Next put your thumb on one edge of your areola (the darker part around your nipple) and two fingers on the opposite edge. Press straight back towards your chest. Now, press your fingers toward each other and draw them out and away from your chest. Repeat a few times, then shift your fingers to a new position on the edge of your areola and continue. Milk may begin to drip or spurt and then you ll know you ve got it. Remember it takes patience to learn a new skill. Mothers who have sick or preterm babies usually use pumps that are rented from medical supply stores. These pumps are safe for multiple users because the milk cannot get into the machinery of the pump. Personal use pumps are not meant to be shared. Pumps for purchase (personal use pumps) vary greatly in quality. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for with breast pumps. The smaller inexpensive pumps can be fine for an occasional bottle, but are unlikely to work well for a mother who is regularly separated from her baby by work, school or other obligations. When selecting a pump for regular use, look for a double electric pump. Double pumping (both breasts simultaneously) saves time and most mothers get more milk than by single pumping. The pump should allow you to adjust the amount of suction and the speed of pumping. Some electric pumps have a battery back up system. The funnel part that goes over the breast (sometimes called the flange) should be available in different sizes to fit the individual mother. Before investing in a pump, do some research to see what other mothers have to say about that particular pump. You can expect to pay around $300 or more for a high quality pump. Although this seems like a large amount of money, compared to the price of formula it can be much more economical over time. A good breast pump can be used with subsequent children. The breast pump company makes a difference. A company that makes a wide variety of products usually does not make the best pumps. If the company also makes bottles or formula, they make more money if the pump fails and you turn to formula feeding. A company that specializes in breastfeeding products will not profit if it doesn t make high-quality pumps. Your health insurance MAY pay for a pump. Check your individual plan for details. Mothers on the WIC program (women, infant and children nutrition) can often receive assistance in obtaining a pump. Ask your WIC counselor. Mothers who will be regularly pumping should usually wait about two weeks before starting to pump. It is recommended that bottles, even of expressed breast milk, usually be delayed until around four weeks. This gives mom and baby time to become adept at breastfeeding and establish a good milk supply. Above all, remember that by far the simplest, most enjoyable way to get milk out is with a correctly nursing baby. So be sure to get the help you both deserve. 6

8 Working and Breastfeeding Women have always combined work and breastfeeding. You can, too! Time at home before returning to work makes an easier transition. The longer you delay going back, the easier it will be for both of you! Timing Can you go back part-time for a while? Could you bring your baby to work full- or part-time for a few months? Can some of the work be done at home? Mothers with even the most inflexible job requirements often find surprising ways to combine working and mothering. For example, if you work Monday through Friday, start back to work on Thursday, if you can, and take the next Wednesday or two off. That way, you ll work no more than two days in a row while you both adjust. Childcare Before you return to work, look for a supportive caregiver whose mothering style matches yours someone who will hold or wear your baby as much as possible, especially during feedings, who will use your milk and check with you before offering anything else, who will be flexible, and who will avoid giving your baby a big meal just before you arrive. Some mothers prefer a caregiver close to home; others look for someone close to work. If your caregiver won t be taking your baby outside, make sure to do so a few times a week, even to run errands; direct daylight is needed for vitamin D production. Expressing Your Milk Can you nurse the baby on your lunch hour or break? Can the baby be brought to you, by the sitter or by someone else? Would you rather have two shorter breaks or one long lunch hour? To supply all your baby s needs, you ll probably need to express your milk at least two or three times during a full work day. Some mothers like to pump first thing in the morning, so they already have one bottle. As your baby gets older, he may prefer just waiting for you. Most babies will want to nurse more at night to make up for missing you during the day, so use naps or an earlier bedtime to meet your own sleep needs. Your total milk supply depends more on how much you nurse at home than how much you pump at work. Does your baby seem to need more and more milk while you re gone? Look for ways to slow his meals down; he is probably looking for more sucking time, not more calories. Stay flexible, and take your baby s changing patterns into account. Storing your breastmilk If you will routinely be away from your baby due to work, school or other commitments you can start pumping to prepare for these times about 2 weeks after the baby is born. Start by storing small amounts. Many mothers find that the morning is the easiest time to express extra milk. Some mothers find that pumping on one breast while the baby eats on the other is the best way. Others prefer to pump both breasts a short time after the baby feeds. You can keep your breast milk for 6 hours at room temperature if it will be used during that time. Breastmilk can be stored in any clean closed container. Breastmilk can be stored for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator Up to 6 months in the refrigerator freezer Up to a year in a deep freeze 7

9 Label your milk with the date you expressed it. Use the oldest milk first. It is good to have various amounts of milk stored. A soapy smell can be related to freezing and rarely bothers the baby. Thaw any frozen milk in the refrigerator. Warm the milk in hot (not above 130 degree Fahrenheit) water. Never microwave breastmilk. You may need to change the water frequently to heat the breastmilk more rapidly. Babies prefer their milk at body temperature. Wait four to six weeks to introduce a bottle unless directed by your baby s physician. Most babies will easily learn to take a bottle at this time if it is not forced upon them. Mom is usually not the best person to introduce a bottle. Supplements Some mothers combine breastfeeding and formula. Remember that using formula in the early months affects short- and long-term health. On the other hand, even a little breastmilk improves the nutrition and health of a mostly formulafed baby. Using formula will reduce your milk supply, and can result in premature weaning. But even a few nursings a day are an irreplaceable immunization for your baby for as long as you can provide them especially important in group daycare and are an important relationship for both of you. Don t offer formula just to see if she will take it. Only use formula when breast milk is not available. Bottles Almost all babies will gradually accept a bottle if it s not forced on them, and if someone other than Mom offers it. Standard, old-fashioned clear (non-latex) nipples are usually a good choice. But wait until you and your baby are a happy nursing couple before experimenting, usually three to four weeks. Bottles were designed to replace breastfeeding, and sometimes they do! If bottles are beginning to damage your breastfeeding relationship, contact BroMenn Medical Center lactation consultants for suggestions. 8 9/15

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