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Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding – an economic plan to help save the world!

Breast milk is a superfood – economically, health-wise and emotionally.

Not only is it suitable for all babies at all times, it adapts from one developmental phase to another, day to night, and even according to individual need! The health benefits are irreplaceable, and successful nursing markedly improves women’s mothering experience and babies’ long-term health. Basically, breast milk is the perfect drink for babies. Why would one choose not to breastfeed?

Formula wasn’t always breast milk’s nemesis; it actually started with babies’ well-being in mind. The idea wasn’t to replace breast milk, but to meet the special needs of a very small subset of women who really and truly couldn’t breastfeed. Then focus slipped off babies and onto financial gain, and ‘nursing’ was replaced with ‘feeding’. Then, baby formulas became a powerful global force, supported by doctors and midwives who should have babies’ best interests at heart.

While in recent years the ‘back to breast’ lobby has definitely grown, why hasn’t there been even more of a fight raised? Anyone who stands up for nursing is at risk of being labelled feminist, or accused of ‘spoiling’ babies, or being prejudiced against formula feeding mothers. I could argue that it is impossible to spoil a baby with love and list all of the irreplaceable emotional benefits provided by breastfeeding, but instead I’ll take the same approach that so many do – quoting facts and figures – in this case the economic ones! Because the fact is, breastfeeding can benefit an entire country and its economy.

And the heart of the problem is… money

Breast milk is the most cost-effective and sustainable food ever created. Apart from nice-to-have rather than essential moms’ accessories and nutritional supplements, breastfeeding has no cost whatsoever and supply is unlimited as long as babies suckle regularly. Having a newborn is a sensitive economic time for many young families, and the savings from breastfeeding could make a huge difference for low-income families.

There will also be fewer medical bills thanks to the health benefits of breastfeeding – for babies and moms. The longer babies breastfeed, the greater the benefits are and the less burden is placed on state and private health services.

Because the emotional benefits cannot be ignored, it must also be pointed out that breastfeeding can lead to a mentally, emotionally, and behaviourally healthy society. The effects of the oxytocin and prolactin from nursing can be linked to better bonding, emotional security, and less behavioural disorders later in life. This can greatly reduce the cost of social services such as assessments, therapies, and even the justice system.

The moral of the breastfeeding story

Every health professional should focus on ensuring the best for moms and babies; but the whole world – men and women alike – should be rallying behind breastfeeding. It should get even more support and attention than going green or eating organic, because it is just as beneficial for the planet, and as a foundation to healthy life, its impact is arguably even greater.

When you look at it that way, breastfeeding women are actually heroes; working to save society, the country, and, ultimately, the world.

Top latching tips for breastfeeding success!

Breastfeeding is one of those things that you can’t fully understand until you’ve done it yourself; and it’s that great unknown that makes many moms-to-be anxious! Don’t worry, with a few basic facts you’ll be good to go – and nursing like a pro! The first thing nobody probably thought to tell you is that Baby doesn’t latch onto the nipple itself; this is just a ‘spray nozzle’ for the milk. Baby should actually latch onto the darker area of skin round the nipple – the areola – because this is where the milk accumulates during a feed. Different women have different sized areolae so it is misleading to say that Baby must get all of it in his mouth; as long as he’s not latched  onto the nipple itself, and at least some of the areola is in his mouth, that’s fine.  Take a look at Sister Lilian’s top ten latching tips here and relax – you were made to do this!

1.       Grab something to drink and get into a comfortable position, making sure Baby is comfortable too and his whole body faces you; if he has to twist his neck he won’t feed well and might hurt your nipples

2.       Wear a front-opening garment while you get the hang of things so that you can see what you’re doing

3.       Tickle Baby’s lips and cheek to trigger his rooting instinct – when his mouth opens wide and his lip curls down cup your hand around his head and gently hold it against your breast

4.       If Baby struggles to open his mouth wide enough, gently pull downwards on his chin with your finger

5.       Expect the first few sucks to be strong and painful; if the pain persists you’ll need to relatch Baby

6.       Don’t worry, Baby can breathe on his own so you don’t have to hold your breast away from his nose

7.       Listen for sounds of swallowing and watch for active movement of Baby’s cheeks right up to his temple – if his cheeks draw inward and your breast isn’t pulling in toward his mouth you’ll need to relatch

8.       Express some milk first if your breasts are engorged and too tight for Baby to latch

9.       Gently pull and roll your nipples between your thumb and forefinger if they’re flat and Baby struggles to latch

10.   Walk with Baby if he won’t calm at the start of a feed – cradle him in your arms and move around until he’s latched and you notice him relax 

What to do if your breastfeeding baby has jaundice

Physiological or ‘normal’ jaundice is a common newborn condition that can be resolved precisely by breastfeeding effectively - it is mainly because of ineffective feeding that breast babies seem to have more and prolonged jaundice!

This is because lower intake of milk leads to passing less stools, and therefore Baby’s body reduces bilirubin excretion – that’s the yellow pigment that makes Baby turn yellow. On the other hand, frequent nursing with a good latch increases Baby’s calorie intake and number of stools in the early days and weeks, facilitating the removal of bilirubin from the system.

Confusion befuddles Moms, midwives… and doctors!

Breastfeeding jaundice(seen in the first five days) should in fact be referred to as ‘non-feeding’ jaundice or ‘not enough breast milk’ jaundice. Breast milk jaundice refers to prolonged increased bilirubin levels after Day 5, and is primarily due to unresolved breastfeeding jaundice. Prolonged or late-onset breast milk jaundice occurs in no more than 4% of babies, though it may last for up to 10 weeks. Frequent, successful nursing helps resolve this type of jaundice too.

How risky is it?

Toxic levels of bilirubin are rare and with careful treatment, you can prevent it from occurring. If breastfeeding jaundice is not managed correctly early on, it can also lead to prolonged breast milk jaundice. Babies of diabetic mothers, premature infants, induced babies and those who are stressed from a difficult birth, are at an increased risk of getting jaundice.

What about phototherapy?

Mothers are often separated from their babies if bilirubin levels are so high that they need phototherapy, and may find that they struggle to breastfeed. However, regular breastfeeding is particularly important for these babies, as they may become dehydrated.

It is very rarely necessary for breastfeeding to be interrupted in order to treat jaundice – in fact, early and frequent breastfeeding, with Baby latching properly, will help to prevent prolonged jaundice. Colostrum contains a natural laxative that helps Baby to pass meconium, helping to excrete bilirubin

Sometimes breastfeeding mothers are advised to give babies additional water feeds ‘to flush out the bilirubin’. Research has shown that this doesn’t help, because most bilirubin is excreted through the bowel and not the kidneys. What’s more, water feeds often affect breastfeeding negatively and delay the passing of the jaundice. However, babies with jaundice are often sleepy, so mothers may need to stimulate Baby in order to feed effectively.

How to breastfeed while lying down

Who says that nursing Moms sleep less than those who formula-feed? Master this technique in eight easy steps, and you’ll be able to take a nap while you feed your baby! Soon you’ll feel more rested than ever. Remember, you and Baby will both radiate heat, so don’t over-dress Baby, and make sure that blankets don’t cover his head.

Step 1

Mom, get dressed comfortably in a front-opening top or nursing T-shirt. Change Baby before you start feeding.

Step 2

Lie on your side, choosing whichever one feels most natural. Your mattress or the surface you lie on should be quite firm, but comfortable.

Step 3

Place a pillow between your legs at the knees, with your upper leg pulled up and bent at the knee. Get a pillow, rolled-up blanket or willing partner to support the small of your back, especially in the early stages of mastering this position.

Step 4

Fit two plump, but not overly firm, pillows into the rounded hollow between your head and shoulder – your shoulder should not rest on the pillows, but rather, the pillows should rest on your shoulder. This step is particularly important.

Step 5

The upper part of your bottom arm should stretch out at 90 degrees to your body. You can then bend this arm at the elbow to cradle Baby, simply keep it outstretched or read a book while Baby feeds.

Step 6

Baby must lie on his side, facing you, with his head snuggly fitted in below your outstretched arm, and not on top of your arm.

Step 7

Baby’s head will now be in a position that his mouth is directly opposite your nipple and areola and he can easily latch on to your lower breast without discomfort. It’s seldom necessary to hold the breast away from Baby’s nose.

Step 8

Place a rolled-up baby blanket behind Baby’s back to prevent him from rolling away. Now, allow Baby to feed as long as he wants to.

 

Once Baby seems done on the lower breast, place him up against your hip and pat his back to burp him. If you need to, turn onto your other side and feed Baby from your other breast.

Three basic things to know about start-up breastfeeding success

                       

 

 

 

So many pregnant women worry about whether they’ll be able to nurse their babies, and even more new mothers are so anxious that this affects the success of what is truly an instinctive and natural mothering activity – IF you just allow it to be.

Did you know that it’s okay to nurse Baby immediately after birth? Even with a C-section, you can let Baby suckle right there in the theatre (unless she needs medical attention, of course). If you had pain drugs during labour it can be trickier though, as Baby’s instincts will be dulled; that’s why it is best to have a natural birth. But don’t lose hope – with a little perseverance, you will be able to nurse your baby! Here are the three most important things to get you started:

1.       No schedule required

If Baby is hungry, let him eat! Don’t schedule his feeds, or wake him up for a last feed before bed. The best approach is to rely on supply on demand, and this works best if breastfeeding isn’t ‘supplemented’ with formula feeds. Babies don’t need anything else for the first six months, breast milk acts as both food and water – even in very hot weather. At the beginning of a feed, the milk is watery and quenches thirst; after the let-down reflex, the milk is creamier, satisfying Baby’s appetite. That’s why it’s important to let Baby feed until he’s done, otherwise he misses out!

2.       Frequent feeding

Newborns nurse every one to five hours at first, and then every one to two hours after about Day Three, because their tummies are so small. Their feeds will get shorter from about four months. Frequent feeds are good – each one protects Baby’s vital functions at the start of life, and gives unparalleled immunity support, vital nutrients, and love and reassurance.

3.       Bring on the courses!

Babies often have three or four small feeds, with a nap or soiled nappy in between – plus a few ‘after dinner mint’ sips before they’re done. This doesn’t mean your milk is too little, or that Baby is still hungry, she’s simply savouring nursing, and resting between courses!

One more thing

Remember: babies are individuals. Some are slow eaters, some guzzle everything down, and some snack throughout the day. Take these moments to relax and cherish Baby; try lying down while nursing, so that you can both have a bit of a sleep. The more you nurse, the easier it becomes, because it releases the hormone, oxytocin, which calms you and Baby.

No matter what type of birth you had, you can get breastfeeding right – even if you get off to a shaky start. The important thing is to really want to!

 

Babies eat where adults fear to tread!

 

The social networking site, Instagram, has deleted the account of a woman who posted a photo of herself naked in a yoga pose, her baby about to help himself to a breast milk snack while she maintains her intricate upside-down position. News sites and social networking sites are buzzing about this, with a number of mixed messages.

You know, generally speaking, we humans have such mixed-up (at best), hypocritical (at worst), standards. There is nothing, repeat NOTHING, disgusting or sexual about breastfeeding a baby, in public or in private.

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Sister Lilian’s 7 ways to make life easier for working, breastfeeding Moms

Every mom works 24/7, but if you have an office job outside the home too, and you still want to breastfeed your baby, life can get complicated. I hope my suggestions will help you cope!

Women often tend to feel guilty, don’t they? Mothers especially so, particularly if Mom has a day job. Even if you choose to work outside the home, it’s completely normal to have mixed feelings about this, and to worry about your baby’s care when you’re not around. This, combined with job and relationship demands and the daily stress of managing a home, could make you feel as though you simply can’t cope.

Add to all that the conflicted feelings you may have about wanting to give your baby more of what you know in your heart is the best nutrition, breast milk, but knowing that your day job won’t make it easy to do.

7 Strategies to ease the burden

1.       Choose your baby’s day care well, even if it costs a little more, and think of the caregiver as an ‘extra mother’, rather than someone competing for your baby’s affection.

2.       Use your lunch breaks wisely – get some shopping done, visit your baby if possible, express breast milk using a breast pump specially designed for gentle pumping efficiency, or ask your employer if you can have a shorter lunch break so that you can leave earlier.

3.       Don’t take work home with you; be fully available to your baby for the first hour at home – go for a walk or play games together to help you both relax and bond.

4.       Make double portions of every meal you cook, and freeze the extras so that you can free up time. These little time-saving measures can make a world of difference, allowing you to feel more in control and relaxed.

5.       Accept help from family, neighbours and friends – there’s no shame in admitting that it takes more than one person to raise a baby or make sure all the necessary chores are done.

6.       Bed-share or co-sleep with your baby! You’ll both sleep far better, and the close contact at night will make up for the separation in the day. You can also use this time to let Baby continue direct breastfeeding, which will help to keep up your supply. Remember, you can sleep while Baby suckles!

7.       Build up your own personal bank of breast milk, because your own milk will always be best for your baby – although expressing may seem like a tedious thing to have to do, with a good pump, you’ll soon be proficient. While direct suckling is always best, in a real world, Moms sometimes just have to come up with a realistic plan and this option can help you achieve the best you can, in your circumstances.

Worried about your employer’s reaction to expressing?

Logically, expressing is something which all companies should support. After all, a working mom is raising the future of the country and the more support she gets, the more productive she’s likely to be at work. Research has also shown that women who continue to breastfeed past their maternity leave have significantly fewer absences because their babies are healthier.

However, some employees try to take advantage of their employers and abuse any leniency they’re given. It’s important that there are rules governing things like this so that both moms and employers are protected. According to the Labour Law, South African employers should give breastfeeding women two 30 minute breaks, as well as lunch and tea, so that they can express at work. Not all employers adhere to this, but you should know that you have the right to lobby for it because it is what the Department of Health intends to be the norm.

Even if you don’t get those two extra breaks, you can still express during tea and lunch – although it might be tricky if there aren’t private or hygienic conditions available. In this case, speak to your manager and offer to take work home with you or work out an arrangement of flexi-hours in return for a more flexible approach to, and better facilities for, expressing at work.

Hang in there, Working Mom, life will get easier and giving it your all now, will pay handsome dividends in the long run.

 
 
 

Weaning your baby from the breast – the kind way

The time has come that you need or want Baby off the breast and onto a bottle. First, let me ask you from the bottom of my heart to keep breastfeeding as long as possible – every drop of breast milk is worth gold! It is possible to work and breastfeed, it might just mean doing some extra feeds at night, but it’s worth it – I promise. If you simply have to turn to bottle feeding, though, these tips should help.

Weaning cold turkey is possible, but it’s less traumatic for both of you, to do it gradually. Start two or three weeks before you need to have Baby weaned, not before, especially if Baby is under six months – the younger Baby is, the more important it is that he get breast milk’s nutrients and emotional value for as long as possible.

Be warned: things might get torrid!

Many babies go on a hunger strike when weaned before they are good and ready, but, unless they are ill, they will eventually take the bottle when they are really hungry. Baby will need some extra TLC during this time because breastfeeding is emotional as well as physical; whoever bottle feeds Baby – it’ll have to be someone else because Baby won’t accept a bottle from you at first – should hold Baby close and lavish on the love during feeds.

My weaning programme is effective and gentle – and, if you want to keep breastfeeding partially, stop after day 12 of the programme:

Day 1&2: Stop one breastfeed before Baby is ready, but after the worst hunger has passed. Wait 15 minutes and then let someone else offer 50ml, half-strength formula.

Day 3: Stop one breastfeed a bit sooner, after the worst hunger has passed. Wait 10 minutes and then let someone else offer 50ml, two-thirds strength formula.

Day 4&5: Repeat Day 3’s recipe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Day 6: Stop two feeds, one morning and one afternoon, soon after Baby has settled down to a regular feeding rhythm at the breast (not waiting for the worst hunger to pass). Let someone else offer 75ml, three-quarter strength formula.

Day 7: Repeat Day 6’s recipe for three feeds spaced over the course of the day.

Day 8: Keep up Day 7’s step, and replace one whole other feed with full-strength formula, made according to the instructions on the container. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon is a good time to try this.

Day 9: Keep up Day 7’s step (top up three breastfeeds with 75ml of formula) – you may be able to start giving these feeds yourself now! In addition, replace two feeds completely with full-strength formula.

Day 10: Top up four feeds and replace two feeds with full-strength formula.

Day 11: Replace three feeds with full-strength formula and top up every other feed according to the method you have now mastered.

Day 12: Replace four feeds with full-strength formula and top up every other feed.

Day 13: Replace five feeds with full-strength formula and top up all others.

Day 14: Replace all feeds with full-strength formula.

Gradual weaning means your milk should dry up without needing any medication. Be sure to limit stimulation to your breasts – hot baths and undue touch – and wear a firm but comfortable bra. If your breasts become painfully full, express a little milk, but not enough to stimulate renewed supply.

Please, never forget that babies are built to nurse from their mothers for 2-3 years, and, it becomes easier and easier if you don’t fight it. It distresses me to even talk about a weaning programme, but I understand that there are times you will want one, and that is why I have worked out this kinder approach.

15 Tips for Expressing Like A Pro

Here are Sister Lilian's top tips for expressing effectively:

1. Start expressing as soon as possible after birth – preferably within six hours.
2. Express at least eight times every 24 hours. 
3. Do not go for longer than six hours without expressing.

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The benefits of prolonged breastfeeding

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your baby breastfeeding for a prolonged period of time – in fact, if you look at his digestive enzymes you’ll see that he was designed to breastfeed for at least 2–3 years! If Baby has been breastfed for a minimum of 9–18 months he’ll be very reluctant to stop; this doesn’t mean he’s spoilt, he simply knows what’s best for him!

Breastfeeding for a prolonged period is one of the most precious and beneficial gifts you can give to your little one – especially during Baby’s first year when it plays a very important nutritional role. After that Baby’s overall need for milk will start to dwindle, although breast milk will continue to provide excellent nutrients, immune strengthening benefits, and emotional security. It’s because of this emotional value that weaning can be tricky, especially if there have been changes or stress in the family. If you’ve been breastfeeding for a prolonged period it’s quite understandable that you start to contemplate weaning your baby, but know that breastfeeding becomes so quick and easy over time that it’s quite all right for you to decide to continue nursing too; rest assured that there’s nothing wrong or abnormal with prolonged breastfeeding. Societal norms are fortunately changing and know that it’s not you that needs to feel shame or guilt!

Tips for weaning

Going ‘cold turkey’ and refusing all feeds will work, but the emotional pay-off will mean you need to be strong or you may want to decide to simply wait for spontaneous weaning. When the time comes to wean your toddler, take these general tips into account:

·         Offer up a distraction when Baby wants to feed and keep him happily busy until it passes

·         Give Baby lots of extra love and attention

·         Don’t pressure Baby – he’ll notice that you desperately want him to wean and will cling to the breast even more

·         Give Baby a combination of cup and bottle feeds so that his sucking reflex is satisfied

Often, one of the best – and kindest – ways to wean Baby is to simply make peace with breastfeeding and decide to do it as long as Baby wants to. Because you’re more relaxed, you’ll usually find that Baby needs to feed less often! Remember that Baby is used to a nipple and might not want to take a bottle teat.

Weaning Baby from night feeds

This can be tricky because it’s often more of comfort habit than a need for nutrition. It can help to:

·         Offer Baby a feeding cup during the day but use a bottle at night or before naps

·         Cuddle with Baby at night to provide emotional comfort

·         Wear a firm top so that Baby can’t get to your breasts

·         Refuse to feed and try to comfort Baby in other ways instead

 

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