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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and unique way for a mother to care for her new child. Breastfed infants experience reduced risks of many infections and health concerns, as well as possible enhancement of cognitive development.  Mothers also experience many health benefits, and often see an earlier return to pre-pregancy weight. Not to mention a huge finacial savings as the cost of formula is estimated at over $1000.00 a year. Above all, breastfeeding provides great maternal-infant bonding, but it’s not always easy.

Getting Off to a Good Start A mother needs full access to her newborn directly from birth and throughout the recovery process. Nursing on demand is the ideal way to feed. Follow the newborn cue’s (increased alertness or activity, mouthing or rooting), and feed before he begins to cry. A newborn requires 8 – 12 feedings per day, usually 10 – 15 minutes on each breast.

Nutrition During Breastfeeding The food a mother eats becomes the food the baby eats. Whole foods, a well-rounded diet and plenty of liquids will benefit both parties. Nursing mothers need at least 2,700 calories and 65 grams of protein a day. If baby is unusally fussy, pay attention to foods or beverages consumed prior to an episode to help diagnose possible causes of baby’s discomfort. Avoid caffeine, cigarette smoke and recreational drugs.

Problems During Breastfeeding

  1. Pain in the beginning

  2. Some intial pain is normal as mother and baby learn to to work together. If pain increases after four or five days, contact a care provider.

  3. Tips: dry the nipples after each feeding, go without a bra, use nipple creams, express a little breast milk and spread it around the nipple and allow that to air dry. Most importantly, give it time.

  4. Milk supply

  5. Get plenty of rest, reduce stress, and eat enough calories, in addition to a good routing of feedings. Pumping between feeds can also stimulate more production.

  6. Latch

  7. The infant’s mouth should cover as much of the aeriola as possible: the top and bottom lips should be flanged out and the nipple drawn deep into their mouths. Contact a La Leche League leader or a Lactation Consultant for help.

  8. Lip- or tongue-tie

  9. Indicators include slow gain weight (especially after 4-6 weeks), fussy with gas (especially combined with other signs), mother’s nipples not healing after a week or two, low milk supply issue.

  10. Return to work

  11. Many worksites offer pumping locations or time to nurse a young one. Pump every 3–4 hours to help maintain milk supply.

Relax and Enjoy Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is like no other time in the mother or baby’s lives. They have the opportunity to get to know and discover how important they are to one another. The housework will still be there when the baby is done nursing. Work will still be there when the mother is ready to return. Friends and family members will gladly resume closeness when the mother feels ready to re-invest in these relationships. The mother can simply relax and enjoy this special time between herself and her baby. For a list of resources on the topic, please contact Erin Kaspar-Frett,

Information for this article pulled from American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement- Pediatrics Volume 100, Number 6, December 1997, pp 1035-1039

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