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Jane
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Registration date : 2007-12-03

PostSubject: Breastfeeding   Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:33 am

BREASTFEEDING
By Dr. Catherine Gant
Breastfeeding is good for your child. It is associated with a lower incidence of cot death; it protects against infections like gastroenteritis and reduces the severity of some diseases like asthma and eczema. Antibodies in the milk are absorbed by the baby and give protection for some months against diseases that the baby is not immune to such as chicken pox. It is convenient, clean and provides perfect nutrition for your baby.

Benefits for the mother include promoting uterine contractions immediately after birth, a decreased risk of breast cancer, weight loss, lower rates of osteoporosis in later life and some protection against pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding you won't have to buy or sterilise bottles and working mothers can express and store milk to be used when they return to work.

Breastfeeding is a skill like riding a bicycle: some people find it easier than others but you will need a bit of gentle help to get going and feel confident. It is worth getting your midwife to help you until you and your baby feel really happy. If you do not get the baby to latch on properly you could get sore nipples, so a bit of on hand help is always worthwhile during the first few days.

There are many charities and organisations promoting breastfeeding - do read their literature, but they are no substitute for a person you trust.

GENERAL TIPS
Get plenty of rest, eat good nutritious meals regularly and drink plenty of fluid, it is easy to get dehydrated.
Allow the baby to feed for a long time on each breast; at first, when your baby is feeding frequently, it is probably better to feed on one breast each feed to give the other nipple a rest. Later, as the baby gets older, and particularly before their long night-time sleep, you may want to feed from both sides to really fill the baby up.
If your baby really gulps at the beginning of the feed, and is prone to vomiting, wait until they are contented and burp them before finishing the feed. Then they won’t bring up a lot of milk with their wind
You make more milk the more your baby sucks, so, if they are going through a growth spurt, and feeding voraciously for one day, your breasts will respond by producing a lot more milk a couple of days later – drink plenty of fluid.
Feed little and often to begin with if that is what your baby needs; the more they feed the more milk you will produce.
If you are breastfeeding and the baby is unsettled and crying in the evening this may coincide with the time when your milk supplies are low. Try and drink a lot more during the day, and have a big lunch followed by a real physical rest for an hour (turn the phone off!!) preferably just after feeding so the baby is resting as well.
Breast milk production goes in cycles and it may take 2 or 3 days for your breast milk supply to respond to a babies growth spurt/increased feeding.
Babies who are agitated and seemingly insatiably hungry in the evening are often the ones that sleep longer in the night.
Some mothers express a bottle of milk first thing in the morning and give this last thing at night to try and give themselves a better nights sleep.
Don’t use breast shields – they reduce stimulation of the nipple and so less milk is produced.
Be careful with breast care creams; some contain peanut oil, also called arachis oil or groundnut oil. Some people are concerned that early exposure to peanuts may increase the chance of allergy in later life.
HINTS FOR EXPRESSING MILK
Electric and battery operated pumps are more efficient than hand-operated pumps.
They need washing and sterilising like bottles.
The morning is often the best time to express milk for storage as this is when your supply is at its highest. Mothers usually find that it is easiest to express from one side while they are feeding on the other side as their let down reflex releases more milk.
Don’t express until your nipples are sore – stop when the flow dwindles.
Expressing after a feed can help build up your supply of milk.
Sterilise an ice-cube container and freeze the milk in cubes so that you can defrost small amounts if needed.
If you are planning to return to work, introduce a bottle of expressed milk early – so the baby is used to taking milk from a bottle. It is best to get your partner to try and give it, as the baby may not take it from you. It is also nice for the new father to be able to do the odd feed and give you a rest.
CRACKED NIPPLES
May be caused by:

1.The baby not latching on properly (the nipple is not far enough back in the baby’s mouth).
Thrush, which causes a deep sharp stabbing pain in the breast when you try to feed, and may infect the baby’s mouth and nappy area.
3.The breast tissue may get infected (mastitis) and a breast abscess may develop if cracked nipples are not cared for.
Ask your midwife or health visitor for help if this happens.
USEFUL CONTACTS
Welcome to La Leche League (Great Britain)can put you in touch with a breastfeeding counsellor in your area. It also has information on breastfeeding for adoptive parents.

Jane's Breastfeeding & Childbirth Resources has a lot of good information and the National Childbirth Trust also promotes breastfeeding.
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