Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Here are some tips to get breastfeeding right.Breast milk is bestEvery parent wants the best for their baby and it is important to start right. Breast milk is the perfect nourishment for your baby.Why is breastfeeding best for my baby?
Related: Feeding Your Baby: Breast Or Bottle? Why is breastfeeding best for me too?
How long should I breastfeed?Mothers should breastfeed their infant for as long as they feel comfortable with it. The recommendation is to breastfeed for at least 6 months, and if possible to continue till their infant is 1 year old.Mothers can introduce appropriate forms of solids to infants any time after 4 completed months, and before the end of 6 completed months. The aim of doing so would be to introduce the infant to new tastes, textures and the development of feeding skills. Milk should be the main source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life.Between 1 year to 2 years of age, the toddler should be getting more and more of his/her calories from food rather than milk. By 2 years of age, the bulk of the toddler's calories should come from eating. Milk should still be a component of the toddler's diet - with the toddler drinking between 400-500 ml per day. If the toddler is drinking a lot more than 500 ml per day, there may be concerns that he/she is not eating enough.When and how should I initiate breastfeeding?If you and your baby are well with no medical concerns, place your baby on your chest for at least an hour of skin-to-skin contact within five minutes after delivery. Your baby’s suckling reflex is most intense in the first hour after birth. Being close to each other after sharing the birth experience helps your baby to calm down, keeps him warm and encourages him to breastfeed. Guide baby when he shows signs of readiness to feed.You are also encouraged to room-in 24 hours a day in the postnatal ward with your baby to promote bonding, facilitate breastfeeding and allow you to recognise the early feeding cues. Do not be afraid to seek help from the nurses or lactation consultants if you need to.Observe for early feeding cues. Feed your baby when he does any of the following:
Related: Breastfeed For The Best StartWhat are the signs of a good latch?
Suck > Swallow> Breathe (pause) rhythmHow should I position my baby to feed him/her?You can breastfeed sitting or lying down.
You can breastfeed in various positions. Pick a position that is comfortable for you.
If you have any problems, approach your hospital’s lactation consultants for help.How do I overcome some possible problems with breastfeeding?Do not worry or be discouraged if you encounter some difficulties when you first breastfeed. By being aware of the possible problems, understanding their solutions and asking for help, your beastfeeding journey will be a smoother one. Here are some examples of the common problems encountered and their solutions.Sore or cracked nipplesCause: Your baby is not positioned or latched on properly.Solutions:
EngorgementCause: Missed feedsSolutions:
Plugged ductsCause: A blocked milk duct which is not draining well into the nipple.Solutions:
Breast infections (mastitis)Cause: A bacterial infection that usually affects one breast. The affected breast may be red, hot and swollen or may have a painful lump.Solutions:
ThrushCause: A yeast infection caused by Candida albicans that affects both you and baby. You may experience itchy, red or sore nipples and your baby may have white patches in the mouth.Solution:
Can I continue with breastfeeding after going back to work?You can continue with breastfeeding even if you resume work. Read the article on Mummy's off to work for tips on how you can continue with breastfeeding while at work. Frequently asked questions on breastfeedingBreastfeeding may sound challenging initially, but once baby latches successfully, it is fulfilling and enjoyable. These are some common questions that you may have:Q: What is “let-down reflex”?When your baby starts suckling, a hormone called oxytocin releases milk into the breast ducts causing it to flow towards the nipple. This is called the “let-down reflex”, which has a tingling or tightening sensation on the breast. If you are stressed, the let-down reflex can be inhibited. So, relax!Q: If milk production comes later, will my baby “starve” in the first few days?When you first start breastfeeding, your first milk is colostrum which is:
Mature breast milk consists of:
Q: Will I have sufficient milk?It is normal for mothers to worry that they may not have enough milk for their babies. Milk production occurs regardless of the mode of feeding. Frequent and effective milk removal is important to ensure a good supply. Hence,
Q: How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk?If your baby has had enough,
Q: How long and how often do I feed my baby?
Q: If I latch my baby on and at times feed him expressed breast milk from a bottle, will it confuse him?This is known as “nipple confusion”, which occurs when a baby is offered both the breast and a bottle. Suckling from the breast and drinking from a bottle need different techniques. Some babies who have been fed expressed milk from a bottle at the start may refuse to latch directly. To avoid confusing your baby, feed exclusively from the breast where possible. If you need to express milk for various reasons, give him expressed milk in a cup, a spoon or from a syringe.Q: My baby gets hungry very quickly all of a sudden. Is it because I am not producing enough milk?During growth spurts — around 2-6 weeks, 3 and 6 months of age — there will be an increased demand for nursing. The increased frequency of feeding will help to increase the milk supply to meet the baby’s needs. Do not worry; it only lasts for a few days.Q: What about breastfeeding premature babies?Premature babies often have medical problems that require close monitoring in the hospital.Mothers of premature babies can:
Q: What are the risks of not breastfeeding?Babies who are not breastfed are at greater risk for:
Mothers who do not breastfeed are at greater risk for:
Q: Can I breastfeed after six months?You can breastfeed up to one year and beyond. Although your baby may be getting nutrients from other sources of food, breast milk is still an important form of nutrition. Breastfeed as long as you and your baby desire. You can continue to breastfeed even if you are pregnant again.Tips for successful breastfeeding
To read about the medications that mothers can take during breastfeeding, click here for the article on Safe medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Contributed by:Health Promotion Board