Breastfeeding: the most common questions

For many new mums, breastfeeding is a hotly discussed topic, bursting with opinions and false information. So, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions and facts.

Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most natural things in the world,  but when it comes to knowing how to breastfeed, mums are often expected to just get on with it. While for some breastfeeding does come naturally, for many the first few days can be a struggle to say the least. We’ve round up some of the most commonly asked questions about breastfeeding and breast milk.

Breastfeeding Common Questions: What you Need to Know

Is there a reason one breast may produce more milk than the other?

Mums often find that one breast can produce more milk than the other and if you’re expressing, this becomes more apparent. There are several reasons why this might happen. For example, in the early weeks after birth when your breasts’ cells are primed for feeding, this is when storage capacity is determined, and is dependent on feeding patterns at the time. As long as your little one is content, steadily growing and you’re meeting their needs, there is nothing to worry about.

How do I know my baby has the right latch?

The early days are vital to get breastfeeding established and milk production initiated. First of all, find a position that you are comfortable sitting in. The principles of nursing for any baby is a good latch – chin to breast, nipple to nose, nipple falls deep into the mouth, the lower lip curls out under the nipple and the upper lip thins and curls up a little. The suck will feel a little tender for the first few days on the nipple, listen and watch for a burst of sucks and the swallowing of milk. Also look at what is going on in your baby’s nappies, as this indicates the volume of milk going through their system, too.

How long should I wait after baby is born to start expressing?

I would advise you take some time to get breastfeeding established before expressing. The early weeks with baby help you to initiate feeding, build your supply and get lots of practice. However, if you’re experiencing difficulties, your midwife may suggest you begin expressing to help initiate your supply.

What’s the best way to deal with biting during breastfeeding?

This is a tough one, as your baby is exploring how to move her tongue. Make sure the latch is deep – when she is sucking her tongue should come over her lower gum. It is usual to have a nip as they slip off the breast or get frustrated as the milk flow slows. Watch your baby and see when she does nip; anticipate this and take her off before she bites. Try to minimise your reaction as baby may interpret the shock as being pushed away, and the bite will stop your milk flow because the reflex will react to the pain.

What are the benefits of breast milk?

breast-milk-factsAhead of the International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium, Medela quizzed leading experts on all thing breastfeeding and breast milk to come up with some interesting new facts.

  • When breastmilk passes from mother to baby, a tiny element from the mum’s gut is transferred, which means the milk is truly one of a kind and personally tailored for each baby.
  • It has been confirmed that hormones in the milk tell breastfed babies exactly how much fat to lean tissue they need. This means breastfed babies start off with the good fat they need and then naturally slim down as they turn into toddlers.
  • Most recently it has been found to contain new probiotic and fungi such as penicillium, as well as other gut protectors.
  • Each baby regulates the amount of hormones and nutrients in its own mother’s milk. So, as long as babies are healthy, mums can follow their babies’ cues with confidence.
  • For the first two weeks mums must have confidence that their most important job is to eat, sleep and breastfeed – plan on being topless, comfortable and warm with your baby skin-to-skin, and focus on breastfeeding – not a bad way to start motherhood.

Breastfeeding tips and tricks

  • Having a supportive, reassuring and caring network of friends and family around you is vital, if not essential. Try to find a local breastfeeding group with peer supporters.
  • Chatting with other breastfeeding mothers is a brilliant way to get advice and learn some new tips from those who have experienced breastfeeding and expressing first hand. In fact, in a survey by breastfeeding brand Medela, it was found that 76% of mums believed attending a breastfeeding group help to support them.
  • Know what to expect and have realistic expectations; you and your baby are both new to this and it will take time to get the hang of it.
  • Believe in yourself! The human body is amazing, so believing in your ability to grow a baby, give birth and feed your baby is key.

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