What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breast is best! Here at Tresillian we strongly encourage breastfeeding. For baby, breastmilk is the ideal food as it satisfies both thirst and hunger and provides all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months. It contains antibodies that increase your baby’s immunity. Research shows that breastfed babies often have lower cholesterol and blood pressure and lower rates of obesity into adulthood. Breastmilk is also free and very portable!
Many parents tell us they’re confused by the information they receive on breastfeeding. A common myth is that ‘Mother’s milk is too weak for baby that’s why baby is unsettled’. The fact is, even though breastmilk looks thin and watery, it’s the ideal food for baby. Another one is ‘It’s not possible to return to work and continue breastfeeding’. It takes a bit of preplanning, but by learning to express and store breastmilk, most women can return to work and still breastfeed their baby.
Many Mothers ask 'Why does my new baby want to feed all the time'? It’s normal for a newborn to feed at intervals of 2 to 5 hours, and feeds may take from 45 minutes to an hour. This is known as ‘cluster-feeding’ and usually occurs in the evening. It’s very normal to increase high fat feeds which help towards longer periods of sleep at night. In the early months your baby needs a minimum of 6-8 feeds in 24 hours. As your baby, the duration of the breastfeed and amount of feeds become less.
Often parents ask 'How long should my baby breastfeed for'? Many are concerned whether their baby is receiving the right amount of breastmilk. Baby should be feeding frequently and be having lots of very wet nappies. Weight gain is also a sign and worth discussing with your local Child & Family Health Nurse. You’ll know your baby has had enough when their body is looking relaxed and contented with hands open and extended legs. They may even fall asleep at the breast.
Another concern for some is the issue of an oversupply of breast milk. Many mothers have the problem of too much breastmilk. You’ll know this if your breasts are feeling very full and uncomfortable. You may need to express some milk prior to attaching your baby – this will help soften the nipple and areola, which will encourage a deeper latch and more effectively drain the breast. If baby is gulping and having trouble with the milk flow, they may pull off. Allow your breasts to leak and then re-attach.
Some breastfeeding mothers find they just don’t seem to have a good milk supply. Stress and being overtired can have a big impact so try and increase the amount of rest you’re getting and look at ways of improving your diet. Avoid giving baby extra top-up feeds with formula milk as this can diminish supply. Speak to your local child and family health Nurse or GP about the best options for your family.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.