Saturday, June 20, 2009

Getting Started With Breast Feeding

Engorged Breasts

Within the first two to three days after you have
given birth, you may discover that your breasts
feel swollen, tender, throbbing, lumpy, and
overly full. Sometimes, the swelling will extend
all the way to your armpit, and you may run a
low fever as well.

The causes
Within 72 hours of giving birth, an abundance
of milk will come in or become available to your
baby. As this happens, more blood will flow
to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue
will swell. The result is full, swollen, engorged

Not every postpartum mom experienced true
engorgement. Some women's breasts become only
slightly full, while others find their breasts
have become amazingly hard. Some women will hardly
notice the pain, as they are involved in other
things during the first few days.

Treating it
Keep in mind, engorgement is a positive sign
that you are producing milk to feed to your
baby. Until you produce the right amount:
1. Wear a supportive nursing bra, even
at night - making sure it isn't too tight.
2. Breast feed often, every 2 - 3 hours
if you can. Try to get the first side of your
breasts as soft as possible. If your baby seems
satisfied with just one breast, you can offer
the other at the next feeding.
3. Avoid letting your baby latch on and
suck when the areola is very firm. To reduce
the possibility of nipple damage, you can use
a pump until your areola softens up.
4. Avoid pumping milk except when you
need to soften the areola or when your baby
is unable to latch on. Excessive pumping can
lead to the over production of milk and prolonged
5. To help soothe the pain and relieve
swelling, apply cold packs to your breasts for
a short amount of time after you nurse. Crushed
ice in a plastic bag will also work.
6. Look ahead. You'll get past this
engorgement in no time and soon be able to
enjoy your breast feeding relationship with your
new baby.

Engorgement will pass very quickly. You can
expect it to diminish within 24 - 48 hours, as
nursing your baby will only help the problem. If
you aren't breast feeding, it will normally
get worse before it gets better. Once the
engorgement has passed, your breasts will be
softer and still full of milk.

During this time, you can and should continue to
nurse. Unrelieved engorgement can cause a drop
in your production of milk, so it's important
to breast feed right from the start. Keep an
eye for signs of hunger and feed him when he
needs to be fed.

Getting Started With Breast Feeding

When you hold your baby for the first time in the
delivery room, you should put his lips to your
breast. Although your mature milk hasn't developed
yet, your breasts are still producing a substance
known as colostrum that helps to protect your baby
from infections.

If your baby has trouble finding or staying on
your nipple, you shouldn't panic. Breast feeding is
an art that will require a lot of patience and a
lot of practice. No one expects you to be an
expert when you first start, so you shouldn't
hesitate to ask for advice or have a nurse show you
what you need to do.

Once you start, keep in mind that nursing shouldn't
be painful. When your baby latches on, pay attention
to how your breasts feel. If the latching on
hurts, break the suction then try again.

You should nurse quite frequently, as the more
you nurse the more quickly your mature milk will
come in and the more milk you'll produce. Breast
feeding for 10 - 15 minutes per breast 8 - 10 times
every 24 hours is an ideal target. Crying is a
sign of hunger, which means you should actually
feed your baby before he starts crying.

During the first few days, you may have to wake
your baby to begin breast feeding, and he may end
up falling asleep during feeding. To ensure that
your baby is eating often enough, you should wake
him up if it has been four hours since the last
time he has been fed.

Getting comfortable
Feedings can take 40 minutes or longer, therefore
you'll want a cozy spot. You don't want to be
sitting somewhere where you will be bothered, as it
can make the process very hard.

Health And Diet

The nutritional requirements for the baby will rely
soley on the breast milk, and therefore the mother will
need to maintain a healthy diet. If the baby is
large and grows fast, the fat stores gained by the
mother during pregnancy can be depleted quickly,
meaning that she may have trouble eating good enough
to maintain and develop sufficient amounts of milk.

This type of diet normally involves a high calorie,
high nutrition diet which follows on from that in
pregnancy. Even though mothers in famine conditions
can produce milk with nutritional content, a mother
that is malnourished may produce milk with lacking
levels of vitamins A, D, B6, and B12.

If they smoke, breast feeding mothers must use
extreme caution. More than 20 cigarettes a day has
been shown to reduce the milk supply and cause vomiting,
diarrhoea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness in
the infants. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is
more common in babies that are exposed to smoke.

Heavy drinking is also known to harm the imfant, as
well as yourself. If you are breast feeding, you
should avoid alcohol or consume very small amounts at
a time.

The excessive consumption of alcohol by the mother can
result in irritability, sleeplessness, and increased
feeding in the infant. Moderate use, normally 1 - 2
cups a day normally produces no effect. Therefore,
mothers that are breast feeding are advised to avoid
caffeine or restrict intake of it.

By following a healthy diet and limiting your intake
of the above, you'll ensure that your baby gets the
right nutrients during your time of breast feeding.
This stage of life is very important - as you don't
want anything to happen to your baby.

How Breast Milk Is Made

If you've every been pregnant or if you are pregnant
now, you've probably noticed a metamorphisis in your
bra cups. The physical changes (tender, swollen
breasts) may be one of the earliest clues that you
have conceived. Many experts believe that the color
change in the areola may also be helpful when it
comes to breast feeding.

What's going on
Perhaps what's even more remarkable than visible
changes is the extensive changes that are taking
place inside of your breasts. The developing
placenta stimulates the release of estrogen and
progesterone, which will in turn stimulate the
complex biological system that helps to make lactation

Before you get pregnant, a combination of supportive
tissue, milk glands, and fat make up the larger
portions of your breats. The fact is, your newly
swollen breasts have been preparing for your
pregnancy since you were in your mother's womb!

When you were born, your main milk ducts had already
formed. Your mammary glands stayed quiet until
you reached puberty, when a flood of the female
hormone estrogen caused them to grow and also to
swell. During pregnancy, those glands will kick
into high gear.

Before your baby arrives, glandular tissue has
replaced a majority of the fat cells and accounts
for your bigger than before breasts. Each breast
may actually get as much as 1 1/2 pounds heavier
than before!

Nestled among the fatty cells and glandular tissue
is an intricate network of channels or canals known
as the milk ducts. The pregnancy hormones will
cause these ducts to increase in both number and
size, with the ducts branching off into smaller
canals near the chest wall known as ductules.

At the end of each duct is a cluster of smaller
sacs known as alveoli. The cluster of alveoli is
known as a lobule, while a cluster of lobule is
known as a lobe. Each breast will contain around
15 - 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.

The milk is produced inside of the alveoli, which
is surrounded by tiny muscles that squeeze the
glands and help to push the milk out into the
ductules. Those ductules will lead to a bigger
duct that widens into a milk pool directly below
the areola.

The milk pools will act as resevoirs that hold the
milk until your baby sucks it through the tiny
openings in your nipples.

Mother Nature is so smart that your milk duct
system will become fully developed around the time
of your second trimester, so you can properly
breast feed your baby even if he or she arrives
earlier than you are anticipating.

How To Choose A Breast Pump

The milk production in the breasts, much like so many
other things, work on the shear principal of supply
and demand. The more breast milk your baby consumes,
the more your body will need to make.

Breast pumps are generally used to insure continued
production of breast milk when you cannot feed your
baby - whether you are back to work, traveling, taking
medication, or just out of town.

Basic types of pumps
Breast pumps can either be battery operated, hand
operated, semi automatic electric, or even self cycling

Hand pumps
Manual hand pumps are designed to use the strength
of your hand or arm muscles for pumping one breast at
a time. You can also get pumps that will use the leg
and foot muscles for pumping both breasts at one
time. Mothers that with carpal tunnel syndrome may
want to consider using a pump designed for the arm
or leg muscles or even an automatic model.

Battery operated pumps
Pumps with battery operation are the best for women
who have an established supply of milk and want to
pump once or even twice a day. These pumps use
batteries to create suction, minimizing any type of
muscle fatigue. Most battery type pumps are designed
for pumping one breast at a time and are recommended
for occasional usage.

Electric pumps
Even though electric pumps are more efficient than
hand or even battery operated pumps, they also tend
to be more expensive. You can however, rent them if
you need to. Electric pumps can normally plug
directly into an outlet and are designed for pumping
both breasts at a time and even frequent use. Hospital
grade pumps are the most efficient for initiating and
maintaining milk supply, and are available for rent
or purchase.

How To Use A Breast Pump

Just like breast feeding, pumping is a skill that you
learn. When first trying a breast pump, most mothers
are only able to express a few drops of milk. With
the proper practice and knowledge, the mother will
be more efficient at pumping.

Preparing the breast pump
1. Read all the instructions in the kit
very carefully.
2. Every part of the breast pump will need
to be sterilized before you begin using it.
3. After use, all the parts of the pump will
need to be washed in warm, soapy water, then rinsed
with hot water and drained on a clean towel. The
plastic tubing doesn't need to be cleaned unless
you get milk into it. If you do wash it, it should
be hung to allow time to dry and drain thoroughly.
4. If your doctor feels the need, the
entire kit can be sterilized every day.
5. When you first start with an electric
pump, the suction level should be on the lowest
possible setting.

Getting started
- Warm compresses, gentle massages of the
breast and gentle nipple stimulation will help to
stimulate a quick let down.
- You should always relax while doing
breast massages during pumping. Some mothers prefer
to close their eyes then think about nursing the
baby, imagining the baby in their arms. The more
relaxed a mother is, the better let down she'll
have and the more milk will be dispensed.
- Your first attempts at pumping should be
considered practice sessions with learning to use
the breast pump as the goal, not how much milk is
actually dispensed.
- When you use a hand pump, quick, short
pumps at the start is stimulating and will imitate
more closely the way a baby breast feeds. Once
the let down occurs and milk starts to flow freely,
long, steadier strokes are more effective and
less tiring.
- When you learn to pump, you should
practice for 5 minutes on a side at least once or
twice a day. Always pick the least stressful part
of your day for pumping.

Relaxing and realizing that the pump is your
friend is the single most important thing that a
mother can do. There are several things that a
mother can do to help herself relax, such as
putting a picture of the baby on the pump, playing
cards or a game with friends, watching television,
read books, or talk on the phone. Simply watching
the collection bottle is not helpful and will
probably put more stress on you than you actually

Low Supply Of Breast Milk

Almost all mothers who breast feed go through a
period of questioning whether or not their supply
of milk is adequate. Some mothers simply aren't
able to produce enough milk to meet the needs of
her baby. According to many experts, true
insufficiencies of milk are very rare.

A lot of women think their milk supply is low when
it actually isn't. Thinking this can happen if
you lose the feeling of fullness in your breasts
or if the milk stops leaking from your nipples.
Babies that go through growth spurts may want
more milk than usual, and these more frequent
feedings may leave your breasts less than full.

Causes of it
A mother's milk supply may diminish for a brief
period of time if she isn't feeding her baby
often enough due to nipple pain, or a poor latch
on technique. Illnesses or estrogen containing
birth control pills may also affect the production
of milk.

What you should do
The best way to handle a low supply of breast
milk is through a doctor's care. You should
make sure that your baby gets frequent feedings
and that nothing is wrong with your nipples or
your milk ducts. Doctors are the best ones to
ask, as they can run tests to see if everything
is fine within your body.

A low supply of breast milk can affect your
baby, although it's more of a mental condition
than anything else. If your baby isn't gaining
any weight or if he is losing weight, you
should call a doctor immediately. Improved
techniques for breast feeding will normally
help, although in some cases weight gain or
weight loss will indicate a serious concern.

In most cases, you can still nurse with a
temporary decrease in milk supply, although
frequent breast feeding is the key to boosting
your production of milk.

Other Foods While Breast Feeding

Breast milk is actually the only food your baby
will need until 4 months of age, although most
babies do well on breast milk alone for 6 months
or better. There is really no advantage to
adding other foods or milks before 4 - 6 months,
except under unusual circumstances.

Breast milk is over 90% water. Even in the
hottest days of summer, a baby won't require any
extra water. If a baby isn't feeding well, they
still don't require any extra water - although
they will need the breast feeding problems to
be fixed.

Vitamin D
Although breast milk doesn't contain much vitamin
D, it does have a little. The baby will store up
vitamin D during pregnancy, and remain healthy
without any vitamin D supplementation, unless you
yourself had a problem with vitamin D deficiency
when pregnant.

Exposure to the outside will give your baby
vitamin D, even in winter and when the sky is
covered. An hour or more exposure during the
week will give your baby more than enough vitamin

Breast milk contains less iron than formulas do,
especially those that are iron enriched. Iron
will give the baby added protection against
infections, as many bacteria need iron in order
to multiply.

The iron found in breast milk is utilized well
by the baby, while not being available to
bacteria. The introduction of iron should
never be delayed beyond the age of 6 months.

Breast milk is the best that your can feed
your baby, as it provides everything he will
need for probably the first 6 months. After
the first 6 months, you can introduce solid
foods to your baby if he is taking an interest
to them.

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