Breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial gifts a woman can give to her baby. It is essentially “living food” and is filled with antibodies and probiotics. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer ear infections and other illnesses in comparison to babies who are not breastfed. This is due to antibodies contained within a mother’s milk. They also have fewer problems with reflux and constipation than other babies. This is due to breast milk being digested twice as fast as formula. For mothers, the benefits of breastfeeding come in bonding, a possible quicker return to pre-pregnancy size, and less money spent on formula. However, as wonderful as breastfeeding can be, it is not without its challenges. Here is an FAQ of common breastfeeding concerns:

What are common holds to use when breastfeeding? Common holds include cradle, cross cradle, football, laid back, and side-lying. We recommend learning about and practicing these holds before your baby comes.

Will my nipples be sore when I breastfeed? Sore nipples often result from a poor latch. We recommend fixing this first. Baby needs to lead with his chin first as he latches on with a wide open mouth. He then needs to take as much of the areola as possible into his mouth. If you hear smacking noises, break the latch. Then tickle his cheek, and allow him to relatch.

If my nipples are already sore, what can I do? Always express a little breast milk onto breasts at the end of each feeding and allow to air dry. Never use soap on nipples as they are self-cleaning. If nipples are still sore, then lanolin ointment can be used as a barrier. Just wipe it off prior to your baby’s next feeding.

How can I increase my supply? Remember that supply equals demand. The easiest way to increase this is to nurse or pump more frequently. Also, make sure to eat a wholesome diet with moderate calorie nutritious foods and drink 2.5-3 liters of water per day.

What can I do to relieve a clogged milk duct? Apply a heated compress to the area of concern to “loosen” the milk. Then massage area while nursing or pumping. It may help to position the baby’s chin in the direction of the blockage.

How do I continue breastfeeding when I return to work? Women going back to work need to learn to pump and store milk. Their babies will need to learn to take a bottle from an alternate care provider.

How do I store breast milk and heat a bottle? For breast milk storage, the “Rule of Fives” is a good tool. Fresh breast milk can be stored at room temperature for 5 hours, in a refrigerator for 5 days, and in a regular freezer for 5 months. When heating a bottle, simply place it in a cup of hot water and test it on your arm prior to serving. Never microwave breast milk as it will kill the good bacteria.

How do I wean? Remember that weaning takes time. The best way to wean is to drop one feeding a week until you are finished. In addition, you may use cabbage leaves applied directly to the nipples to reduce milk production. We also recommend tighter bras such as a sports bra and limited nipple stimulation.

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