Breastfeeding and you
While it is true that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your newborn, many new mothers are surprised by how hard it can be to get breastfeeding established, and sometimes it isn’t successful. Here are some tips for making the breastfeeding journey as smooth as possible.
Even though you might think breastfeeding will come naturally, knowing different techniques and choices may help you succeed. “You can make breastfeeding choices to suit you and your family. For example, if you’re expressing at work, keep a picture of your baby in your wallet to help with let down,” says Carey Wood, spokesperson for the ABA. “If you have a premmie baby, and want to build up your milk supply, you’ll need to feed more than every four hours, as premature babies can only take small amounts. And women with gestational diabetes can express colostrum before the birth in case they have a c-section or a difficult labour.”
Find a supportive mum network
Research shows that it can be difficult to keep up breastfeeding if you don’t have a good support network. Carey advises joining mothers’ groups to surround yourself with other breastfeeding women. “Nine out of ten women start breast-feeding when their baby is born, but back in the community they often don’t feel supported and their confidence is undermined,” says Carey. “If you surround yourself with other breast-feeding mums, you’ll have a great support network.”
Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful
While the early days of latching on can make you cry out in pain, long-term breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. With painful feeding often the result of incorrect attachment, consider enrolling with your partner for a breastfeeding class before the birth. “Just as people do birthing classes, breastfeeding should be something you prepare for too,” advises Carey, adding that some birth classes include a breastfeeding module, so check your class timetable before signing up.
Breastfeeding and work – how to make them mix
As of April 2009, employers are required – as far as is reasonable and practicable – to provide appropriate breaks and facilities for employees who wish to breastfeed their infants or express milk during work hours. This does not have to be formally written into an employement agreement, but it is recommended that the arrangement is written down to set out mutual understanding.
Growing a healthier baby
Because breast milk contains antibodies, you’re setting your baby up with a solid immune system, meaning they’ll have fewer coughs, colds and illnesses. If you’re planning to return to work, it also means you’ll have less time at home caring for a sick child. “Studies show that breastfed babies are healthier and mums much less likely to take time off work – the rate of absenteeism is seven times higher for non-breastfeeding mums,” confirms Carey.
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This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best pregnancy and birth resource. Sources include the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
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