Breastfeeding and Nurturing Well

Breastfeeding and Nurturing Well

Breastfeeding basics

Breastfeeding requires baby and you to work in harmony together. This harmony may take a little while to work out – give it time, trust each other.

Your baby has primitive reflexes that guide them to the breast and assist them to obtain the nutrients they need to grow and develop. You are prepared to feed your baby.

Here’s a few breastfeeding tips:
• Hold baby close so that they are touching you - chest to chest
• Or baby can lay on you, so you don’t have to hold them much
• Baby face is close to the breast and nose is very near nipple
• You can see the baby body is in alignment – the head and body are not twisted
• Your nipples are tender and sensitive - we need to protect the nipple and so are aiming for baby to take the nipple right in to the mouth and the rest it on the tongue away from the lips, gums and hard palate
• Your areola is going to rest the baby lips in a big wide gape – a bit more on the bottom than on the top – an asymmetrical latch is good
• If you feel friction on the nipple – the latch is not right – take the baby off and try again
• The baby is learning to feed as well as you so hopefully they won’t get too upset while you adjust the latch and position. If they do, try and clam them down before you try again. (the baby tongue needs to be down and out to get a good latch)

Breastmilk basics

• Breastmilk is the best for babies, and they don’t need anything else until they are 6 months old. Breastfeed them a lot, every 2-3 hours or even more in the grumpy evening cluster feeding time when they are little. They will eventually space out their feeds by themselves.
• Your body and especially your breasts are amazing, you have been gearing up for breastfeeding since you were born. Breast development started full on in puberty and when you were pregnant it really stepped up a gear and in the first six weeks or so after baby is born, going into full production. After the six weeks mark your breasts have all the infrastructure ready and are there at the baby (or your) demand.
• Milk production all happens through the regulation of a couple of very important hormones and reflexes, prolactin and oxytocin and the milk ejection reflex (MER). Prolactin is stimulated through suckling and creates a process to produce milk, this process is more active at night, so night feeding is important. Milk production is also stimulated through milk removal, so effective suckling is important. Oxytocin is the milk ejecting hormone and the MER is also stimulated by baby suckling on the nipple.
• You usually have multiple MER’s (let downs) during a feed they just feel less obvious. It is important to note that the oxytocin MER is linked to your emotional state at the time and may be affected by pain and/or worry.
• Breastmilk and breastfeeding are very healthy for you and baby, the health benefits will last you both for years, even a little bit is a good start. The longer you feed the more benefits you both get.

Article written by Nurturing Well