Benefits Of Breast Feeding
Once you've given birth, breast feeding is the single
most important thing you can do to protect your baby
and help to promote good health. Best of all, breast
feeding is free.
Along with saving you money on HMR (Human Milk
Replacement), breast feeding can also help you to
keep your medical bills down. Babies that are fed
with formula get sicker more often and more seriously
than babies that are breast fed They also have more
ear infections, respiratory infections, and other
This can be even more true if your family has had a
history of allergies. When a baby is breast fed, the
antibodies pass on from the mother to the baby,
helping to protect against illness and allergies. As
the baby's system matures, his body will begin to
make it's own antibodies, and he'll be more equipped
to handle sensitivities of food.
Sucking on the breast will also help with the
development or jaw alignment and the development of
the cheekbone. For this very reason, there is less
of the need for costly orthodontic work when the
child gets older.
Unlike formula, breast milk is always ready, always
available, convenient, and always the right temperature
for feeding. Plus, it contains all of the vitamins
and minerals your growing baby needs, saving you a
lot of money.
Breast feeding also offers many benefits for the mom
as well. The baby sucking at the breast will cause
contractions right after birth, leading to less
bleeding for the mom, and helping her uterus to it's
shape before pregnancy much faster.
Breast feeding will also burn calories, so a mom can
lose weight much faster than if she fed her baby with
a bottle. Breast feeding will also create a special
bond with the mother and the baby - which is one
thing formula simpy cannot do.
Breast Feeding In Public
Babies that are breast fed are very portable and
easy to comfort no matter where your schedule has
you going. Many women however, worry about
breast feeding in public. The worry of nursing
in a public place is normally worse than the
actual experience and often times the only people
who notice you feeding are the other mothers who
are doing the same thing.
Many women find ways to breast feed discreetly.
You can ask your partner or even a friend to
stand in front of you while you lift your shirt
from the waist. When you breast feed, the baby's
body will cover most of your upper body and you
can pull your shirt down to her face to cover
the tops of your breast. Some mothers prefer to
put a light blanket over their shoulders as a
type of cover.
When you are visiting someone else's home, you
may feel more comfortable either leaving the
room or turning away from people when you first
put the baby to your breast. If you would like
more privacy, breast feed in an empty room, car,
or public restroom.
A lot of restrooms are becoming more baby
friendly and they even have a seperate are with
a changing table and a chair. Several shopping
malls now offer special mother's rooms where
the mom can breast feed her baby in privacy,
which will help sensitive babies who are too
distracted by feeding to nurse well in public.
It won't take long at all though, before your
baby will learn to breast feed without any fuss
An alternative way is expressing or pumping
your milk at home and then offer it in a bottle
while in public. Keep in mind, offering
bottles with artificial nipples in the first
few weeks can and probably will interfere with
When breast feeding in public, you should always
use what works best for you. During the first
few weeks, it will take some getting used to,
as it will be as new for you as it is for the
baby. With some time, you'll have no problems
If you don't feel comfortable breast feeding in
a certain location, then you shouldn't. You
should feel a certain level of comfort when you
feed, as the baby can tell when you aren't
comfortable doing something. If you show your
baby that you aren't nervous - you and your
baby will be just fine.
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.
How To Use A Breast Pump
Just like breast feeding, pumping is a skill that you
learn. When first trying a breast pump, most mothers
are only able to express a few drops of milk. With
the proper practice and knowledge, the mother will
be more efficient at pumping.
Preparing the breast pump
1. Read all the instructions in the kit
2. Every part of the breast pump will need
to be sterilized before you begin using it.
3. After use, all the parts of the pump will
need to be washed in warm, soapy water, then rinsed
with hot water and drained on a clean towel. The
plastic tubing doesn't need to be cleaned unless
you get milk into it. If you do wash it, it should
be hung to allow time to dry and drain thoroughly.
4. If your doctor feels the need, the
entire kit can be sterilized every day.
5. When you first start with an electric
pump, the suction level should be on the lowest
- Warm compresses, gentle massages of the
breast and gentle nipple stimulation will help to
stimulate a quick let down.
- You should always relax while doing
breast massages during pumping. Some mothers prefer
to close their eyes then think about nursing the
baby, imagining the baby in their arms. The more
relaxed a mother is, the better let down she'll
have and the more milk will be dispensed.
- Your first attempts at pumping should be
considered practice sessions with learning to use
the breast pump as the goal, not how much milk is
- When you use a hand pump, quick, short
pumps at the start is stimulating and will imitate
more closely the way a baby breast feeds. Once
the let down occurs and milk starts to flow freely,
long, steadier strokes are more effective and
- When you learn to pump, you should
practice for 5 minutes on a side at least once or
twice a day. Always pick the least stressful part
of your day for pumping.
Relaxing and realizing that the pump is your
friend is the single most important thing that a
mother can do. There are several things that a
mother can do to help herself relax, such as
putting a picture of the baby on the pump, playing
cards or a game with friends, watching television,
read books, or talk on the phone. Simply watching
the collection bottle is not helpful and will
probably put more stress on you than you actually
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.
Breast Feeding Toddlers
Because more and more women are choosing to breast
feed their babies, more and more are also finding
that they enjoy it enough to continue longer than
the first few months they planned on. Breast
feeding to 3 - 4 years of age is common in much
of the world recently, and is still common in
many societies for toddlers to be breast fed.
Because mothers and babies often enjoy to breast
feed, you shouldn't stop it. After six months,
many think that breast milk loses it's value -
which isn't true. Even after six months, it
still contains protein, fat, and other important
nutrients which babies and children need.
The fact is, immune factors in breast milk will
protect the baby against infections. Breast
milk also contains factors that will help the
immune system mature, and other organs to develop
and mature as well.
It's been shown and proven in the past that
children in daycare who are still breast feeding
have far less severe infections than the
children that aren't breast feeding. The mother
will lose less work time if she chooses to
continue nursing her baby once she is back to
If you have thought about breast feeding your
baby once he gets passed 6 months of age, you
have made a wise decision. Although many feel
that it isn't necessary, breast milk will always
help babies and toddlers. Breast milk is the
best milk you can give to your baby.
No matter what others may tell you, breast feeding
only needs to be stopped when you and the baby
agree on it. You don't have to stop when someone
else wants you to - you should only stop when
you feel that it's the right time.
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.
How To Choose A Breast Pump
The milk production in the breasts, much like so many
other things, work on the shear principal of supply
and demand. The more breast milk your baby consumes,
the more your body will need to make.
Breast pumps are generally used to insure continued
production of breast milk when you cannot feed your
baby - whether you are back to work, traveling, taking
medication, or just out of town.
Basic types of pumps
Breast pumps can either be battery operated, hand
operated, semi automatic electric, or even self cycling
Manual hand pumps are designed to use the strength
of your hand or arm muscles for pumping one breast at
a time. You can also get pumps that will use the leg
and foot muscles for pumping both breasts at one
time. Mothers that with carpal tunnel syndrome may
want to consider using a pump designed for the arm
or leg muscles or even an automatic model.
Battery operated pumps
Pumps with battery operation are the best for women
who have an established supply of milk and want to
pump once or even twice a day. These pumps use
batteries to create suction, minimizing any type of
muscle fatigue. Most battery type pumps are designed
for pumping one breast at a time and are recommended
for occasional usage.
Even though electric pumps are more efficient than
hand or even battery operated pumps, they also tend
to be more expensive. You can however, rent them if
you need to. Electric pumps can normally plug
directly into an outlet and are designed for pumping
both breasts at a time and even frequent use. Hospital
grade pumps are the most efficient for initiating and
maintaining milk supply, and are available for rent
Health And Diet
The nutritional requirements for the baby will rely
soley on the breast milk, and therefore the mother will
need to maintain a healthy diet. If the baby is
large and grows fast, the fat stores gained by the
mother during pregnancy can be depleted quickly,
meaning that she may have trouble eating good enough
to maintain and develop sufficient amounts of milk.
This type of diet normally involves a high calorie,
high nutrition diet which follows on from that in
pregnancy. Even though mothers in famine conditions
can produce milk with nutritional content, a mother
that is malnourished may produce milk with lacking
levels of vitamins A, D, B6, and B12.
If they smoke, breast feeding mothers must use
extreme caution. More than 20 cigarettes a day has
been shown to reduce the milk supply and cause vomiting,
diarrhoea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness in
the infants. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is
more common in babies that are exposed to smoke.
Heavy drinking is also known to harm the imfant, as
well as yourself. If you are breast feeding, you
should avoid alcohol or consume very small amounts at
The excessive consumption of alcohol by the mother can
result in irritability, sleeplessness, and increased
feeding in the infant. Moderate use, normally 1 - 2
cups a day normally produces no effect. Therefore,
mothers that are breast feeding are advised to avoid
caffeine or restrict intake of it.
By following a healthy diet and limiting your intake
of the above, you'll ensure that your baby gets the
right nutrients during your time of breast feeding.
This stage of life is very important - as you don't
want anything to happen to your baby.
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