Avoiding Foods While Breast Feeding
Many women find that they can eat whatever they may
like during breast feeding. Even though it's true
that some stongly favored foods can change the
taste of your milk, many babies seem to enjoy the
varieties of breast milk flavors. Occasionally,
your baby may get cranky at the breast after you
eat certain foods. If you notice this happening,
simply avoid that particular food.
The most common offenders duing breast feeding
include chocolate, spices, citrus fruits, garlic,
chili, lime, gassy vegetables, and fruits with
laxative type effects, such as prunes and cherries.
You can have a cup or two of coffee a day, although
too much caffeine can interfere with your baby's
sleep and even make him or her cranky. Keep in
mind, caffeine is found in many soda's, tea, and
even over the counter type medicine as well.
It's okay to have an alcoholic beverage every now
and the, although having more than one drink can
increase your blood alcohol level, putting the
alcohol into your breast milk.
If you are planning to have more than one drink
at a time, it's best to wait two hours or more
per drink before you resume any type of nursing
or breast feeding. There is no need to pump
and dump unless your breasts are full and its
time to feed your baby. While breast feeding,
any type of heavy drinking should be avoided.
Before you actually omit any foods from your
diet, you should talk to your doctor. If you
avoid certain foods and it causes a nutritional
imbalance, you may need to see a nutritionist
for advice on taking other foods or getting
Within the first two to three days after you have
given birth, you may discover that your breasts
feel swollen, tender, throbbing, lumpy, and
overly full. Sometimes, the swelling will extend
all the way to your armpit, and you may run a
low fever as well.
Within 72 hours of giving birth, an abundance
of milk will come in or become available to your
baby. As this happens, more blood will flow
to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue
will swell. The result is full, swollen, engorged
Not every postpartum mom experienced true
engorgement. Some women's breasts become only
slightly full, while others find their breasts
have become amazingly hard. Some women will hardly
notice the pain, as they are involved in other
things during the first few days.
Keep in mind, engorgement is a positive sign
that you are producing milk to feed to your
baby. Until you produce the right amount:
1. Wear a supportive nursing bra, even
at night - making sure it isn't too tight.
2. Breast feed often, every 2 - 3 hours
if you can. Try to get the first side of your
breasts as soft as possible. If your baby seems
satisfied with just one breast, you can offer
the other at the next feeding.
3. Avoid letting your baby latch on and
suck when the areola is very firm. To reduce
the possibility of nipple damage, you can use
a pump until your areola softens up.
4. Avoid pumping milk except when you
need to soften the areola or when your baby
is unable to latch on. Excessive pumping can
lead to the over production of milk and prolonged
5. To help soothe the pain and relieve
swelling, apply cold packs to your breasts for
a short amount of time after you nurse. Crushed
ice in a plastic bag will also work.
6. Look ahead. You'll get past this
engorgement in no time and soon be able to
enjoy your breast feeding relationship with your
Engorgement will pass very quickly. You can
expect it to diminish within 24 - 48 hours, as
nursing your baby will only help the problem. If
you aren't breast feeding, it will normally
get worse before it gets better. Once the
engorgement has passed, your breasts will be
softer and still full of milk.
During this time, you can and should continue to
nurse. Unrelieved engorgement can cause a drop
in your production of milk, so it's important
to breast feed right from the start. Keep an
eye for signs of hunger and feed him when he
needs to be fed.
Breast Feeding And Jaundice
Jaundice is a result of buildup in the blood of the
bilirubin, a yellow pigment that comes from the
breakdown of older red blood cells. It's normal
for the red blood cells to break down, although
the bilirubin formed doesn't normally cause jaundice
because the liver will metabolize it and then get
rid of it in the gut.
However, the newborn baby will often become
jaundiced during the first few days due to the
liver enzyme that metabolizes the bilirubin becoming
relatively immature. Therefore, newborn babies
will have more red blood cells than adults, and
thus more will break down at any given time.
Breast milk jaundice
There is a condition that's commonly referred to
as breast milk jaundice, although no one knows
what actually causes it. In order to diagnose it,
the baby should be at least a week old. The baby
should also be gaining well with breast feeding
alone, having lots of bowel movements with the
passing of clean urine.
In this type of setting, the baby has what is
referred to as breast milk jaundice. On occasion,
infections of the urine or an under functioning
of the baby's thyroid gland, as well as other
rare illnesses that may cause the same types of
Breast milk jaundice will peak at 10 - 21 days,
although it can last for 2 - 3 months. Contrary
to what you may think, breast milk jaundice is
normal. Rarely, if at all ever, does breast
feeding need to be stopped for even a brief
period of time.
If the baby is doing well on breast milk, there
is no reason at all to stop or supplement with
a lactation aid.
Returning To Work
Once you return to work, you can continue to breast
feed. If you live close to work or have an on site
daycare, you may be able to breast feed during
your breaks. If that isn't possible, you have 2
1. Keep your milk supply by using a high
quality automatic electric breast pump to express
milk during the day. Save your milk that you
collect for your baby sitter.
2. If you don't want to or can't pump at
work, you can gradually replace daytime feedings
with formula while your at home but still continue
to nurse at night and in the morning. The milk
your body produces may not be enough to keep your
baby satisfied, even if you only need enough for
Advantages of pumping at work
Pumping at work will help stimulate your production
of milk, so you'll have plenty available when it
comes time to feed. You can also collect the
milk you pump, so your baby will have the health
and nutritional benefits of breast milk even
when you aren't there. To make things better,
pumping can be an ideal way to feel a connection
to your baby during the work day.
Although it can seem like a hassle, many mothers
find that the benefits of breast pumping far
outweight the inconvenience.
To manage pumping at work, you'll need to have
1. Breast pump, preferably a fully
automatic electric pump with a double collection
kit so you can pump both breasts simultaneously.
2. Bottles or bags for collecting and
storing the milk.
3. Access to a refrigerator or cooler
to keep the milk cold until you return home.
4. Breast pads to help protect your
clothes if you start to leak.
Make sure that you get used to pumping before
you return to work, so you'll know what to expect
and how it feels. You'll be much more confident
with pumping at work if you already know that
you can produce enough milk.
At work, you'll want to have somewhere that's
away from everyone else when you pump, such as
an empty office or empty room. This way, you'll
be away from everyone else and you can have the
quiet tranquility you need to pump. In most
offices, this shouldn't be a problem.
For the time frame, you'll want to pump every
2 - 3 hours if possible. If you can't, every
4 hours or so will have to suffice. After you
have finished pumping, store the milk in the
bags or bottles, clean yourself up, then go
back to work. When you return home, you can
feed the milk to your growing baby.
Starting Solid Foods
Breast milk is all your baby will need until at
least 4 months of age. There does come a time,
when breast milk will no longer supply all of your
baby's nutrition needs. Full term babies will
start to require iron from other sources by 6 - 9
months of age.
Some babies that aren't started on solid foods by
the age of 9 - 12 months may have a great level of
difficulty accepting solid foods. It's actually
a developmental milestone when your child starts
solid foods - as he is now growing up.
When to start
The ideal time to begin solid foods is when the
baby shows interest in starting. Some babies
will show interest in solid food when it's on
their parents' plates, as early as 4 months of
age. By 5 - 6 months, most babies will reach out
and try to grab the food. When the baby starts to
reach for food, it's normally the time to go
ahead and give him some.
Sometimes, it may be a better idea to start food
earlier. When a baby seems to get hungry or once
weight gain isn't continuing at the desired rate,
it may be good to start solid foods as early as
3 months. It may be possible however, to continue
breast feeding alone and have the baby less
hungry or growing more rapidly.
Breast fed babies will digest solid foods better
and earlier than artificially fed babies because
the breast milk will contain enzymes which help
to digest fats, proteins, and starch. Breast
fed babies will also have had a variety of
different tastes in their life, since the flavors
of many foods the mother eats will pass into her
Introducing solid foods
When the baby begins to take solid foods at the
age of 5 - 6 months, there is very little difference
what he starts will or what order it is introduced.
You should however, avoid spicy foods or highly
allergenic foods at first, although if your
baby reaches for the potato on your plate, you
should let him have it if it isn't too hot.
Offer your baby the foods that he seems to be
interested in. Allow your baby to enjoy the food
and don't worry too much about how much he takes
at first, as much of it may end up on the floor
or in his hair anyhow.
The easiest way to get iron for your baby at 5 -
6 months of age is by giving him meat. Cereal for
infants has iron, although it is poorly absorbed
and may cause your baby to get constipated.
How Breast Milk Is Made
If you've every been pregnant or if you are pregnant
now, you've probably noticed a metamorphisis in your
bra cups. The physical changes (tender, swollen
breasts) may be one of the earliest clues that you
have conceived. Many experts believe that the color
change in the areola may also be helpful when it
comes to breast feeding.
What's going on
Perhaps what's even more remarkable than visible
changes is the extensive changes that are taking
place inside of your breasts. The developing
placenta stimulates the release of estrogen and
progesterone, which will in turn stimulate the
complex biological system that helps to make lactation
Before you get pregnant, a combination of supportive
tissue, milk glands, and fat make up the larger
portions of your breats. The fact is, your newly
swollen breasts have been preparing for your
pregnancy since you were in your mother's womb!
When you were born, your main milk ducts had already
formed. Your mammary glands stayed quiet until
you reached puberty, when a flood of the female
hormone estrogen caused them to grow and also to
swell. During pregnancy, those glands will kick
into high gear.
Before your baby arrives, glandular tissue has
replaced a majority of the fat cells and accounts
for your bigger than before breasts. Each breast
may actually get as much as 1 1/2 pounds heavier
Nestled among the fatty cells and glandular tissue
is an intricate network of channels or canals known
as the milk ducts. The pregnancy hormones will
cause these ducts to increase in both number and
size, with the ducts branching off into smaller
canals near the chest wall known as ductules.
At the end of each duct is a cluster of smaller
sacs known as alveoli. The cluster of alveoli is
known as a lobule, while a cluster of lobule is
known as a lobe. Each breast will contain around
15 - 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.
The milk is produced inside of the alveoli, which
is surrounded by tiny muscles that squeeze the
glands and help to push the milk out into the
ductules. Those ductules will lead to a bigger
duct that widens into a milk pool directly below
The milk pools will act as resevoirs that hold the
milk until your baby sucks it through the tiny
openings in your nipples.
Mother Nature is so smart that your milk duct
system will become fully developed around the time
of your second trimester, so you can properly
breast feed your baby even if he or she arrives
earlier than you are anticipating.
Breast Feeding And Positioning
For some people, the process of breast feeding
seems to come natural, although there's a level
of skill required for successful feeding and a
correct technique to use. Incorrect positioning
is one of the biggest reasons for unsuccessful
feeding and it can even injure the nipple or
breast quite easily.
By stroking the baby's cheek with the nipple, the
baby will open its mouth towards the nipple, which
should then be pushed in so that the baby will
get a mouthful of nipple and areola. This
position is known as latching on. A lot of women
prefer to wear a nursing bra to allow easier access
to the breast than other normal bras.
The length of feeding time will vary. Regardless
of the duration of feeding time, it's important
for mothers to be comfortable. The following are
positions you can use:
1. Upright - The sitting position where
the back is straight.
2. Mobile - Mobile is where the mother
carries her baby in a sling or carrier while breast
feeding. Doing this allows the mother to breast
feed in the work of everyday life.
3. Lying down - This is good for night feeds
or for those who have had a caesarean section.
4. On her back - The mother is sitting
slightly upright, also a useful position for tandem
5. On her side - The mother and baby both
lie on their sides.
6. Hands and knees - In this feeding position
the mother is on all fours with the baby underneath
her. Keep in mind, this position isn't normally
Anytime you don't feel comfortable with a feeding
position, always stop and switch to a different
position. Each position is different, while some
mothers prefer one position, other's may like a
totally different position. All you need to do is
experiment and see which position is best for you.
Poor Milk Supply
Almost all women don't have a problem with producing
enough milk to breast feed. The ideal way to make
sure that your baby is getting enough milk is to be
sure that he's well positioned, attached to the
breast, and feed him as often as he gets hungry.
Some mom's that are breast feeding will stop before
they want to, simply because they don't think they
have enough breast milk.
There are signs that might make you believe your baby
isn't getting enough milk. If your baby seems hungry
or unsettled after feeding, or if he wants to feed
often with short pauses between feedings, you may
think he isn't getting enough milk - which are often
times not the case.
There are however, two reliable signs that let you
know your baby isn't getting enough milk. If your
baby has poor or really slow weight gain, or is
passing small amounts of concentrated urine, he's
not getting enough milk.
All babies will lose weight within the first few
days after birth. Babies are born with supplies of
fat and fluids, which will help them keep going for
the first several days.
Once your baby regains birth weight, he should begin
putting on around 200g for the first four months or
so. To get back to their birth weight, it normally
takes a few weeks.
If the weight gain for your baby seems to be slow,
don't hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse to observe
you breast feeding. This way, they can make sure
that your technique is right and if they think your
baby is breast feeding often enough.
To help you with your breast feeding, here are some
ways that you can increase your supply of milk:
1. Be sure that your baby is positioned
correctly and attached to your breast.
2. Let your baby feed for as long and often
as he wants.
3. If you feel that your baby isn't breast
feeding enough, offer him more breast feeds.
4. During each breast feed, make sure you
feed from both breasts.
5. If your baby has been using a dummy,
make sure you stop him.
6. Some babies may be sleepy and reluctant
to feed, which may be the cause of problems with
By following the above tips, you'll do your part in
making sure you have enough milk when it comes time
to breast feed. If you are uncertain or have other
questions, be sure to ask your doctor, as he can
answer any type of question you may have.
The First Six Weeks
Breast milk is the best food you can give to your
baby. Breast milk is a complete food source,
containing all the nutrients your baby need - at
least 400 of them to be exact, including hormones
and disease fighting compounds that aren't found
The nutritional makeup in breast milk will adjust
to your baby's needs as he or she grows and
develops. Aside from the brain building, infection
fighting benefits of breast milk, which no formula
can match, nursing will also help to build a special
bond between you and your baby. When nursing,
your child thrives on the contact, cuddling, and
holding - which you will as well.
Since breast feedings can take up to 40 minutes or
more, you should pick a cozy spot for nursing. The
atmosphere is very important, even more so in the
early days of breast feeding when you're still
trying to get the hang of it. If you get easily
distracted by noise, go somewhere quiet.
You should always hold your baby in a position
that won't leave your arms or back sore. It works
the best to support the back of your baby's head
with your hand, although which position you choose
depends on what's more comfortable to you.
When supporting your baby, a nursing pillow can
sometimes be a big help. You should never feed
until both you and your baby are comfortable. Pay
attention to how your breasts feel when your baby
latches on, as his mouth should cover most of the
areola below the nipple, and the nipple should be
far back into your baby's mouth.
While some women adjust to breast feeding easily,
other moms find it hard to learn. If you feel
discouraged, always know that you aren't the only
one. Everyone feels different when starting, it
all depends on the mother and the situation.
Breast feeding will take practice. Therefore, you
should give yourself as much time as you need to
get it down to second nature. Always take it one
feeding at a time. If you are having a bad day,
tell yourself that it'll get better. Keep in mind
that any problems are temporary, as you'll be
nursing like a pro by your six week postpartum
The first six weeks will be both an adventure and
training. You can't expect to know everything when
you begin, which is where training and practice will
really help you excel. The more you breast feed,
the more you'll learn. You'll also build a bond
with your baby - which is something you'll always
have for the rest of your lives.
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