Are you team breastfeeding or formula feeding? Personally, I was team breastfeeding for as long as I could. As a mom you are constantly criticized about every choice you make and feeding is one that many people have strong opinions about. I have one motto, “if your child is eating, your child is thriving.” As moms we should be there to encourage other moms no matter what choice they make. If you want to breastfeed, great, I know some tricks and tips to make it easy. If you want to formula feed, also great, I found a homemade formula recipe you might like to try out. With my first child, I breast fed for 10 months then switched to formula feeding and my daughter is doing great! Both are great options. While this post will be all about breastfeeding, I will also be talking about formula feeding later this week!
Benefits of Breastfeeding:
There are many wonderful benefits to breastfeeding that make it a good choice for any mom. Breast milk is a complete meal, so you don’t have to worry about if you baby is getting all the nutrients they need. By 16 weeks of pregnancy, mama’s breasts are fully capable of producing milk. The first milk your baby will be introduced to is called colostrum. It’s thicker than the milk you will later produce. Colostrum has many great benefits for baby, such as loosening mucus, laxative to help clear baby’s intestinal tract, provides protection against infections, and coats the stomach and intestines to protect against invading organisms. Colostrum is also very high in protein and easily digested, so it makes a wonderful first meal for baby.
- Easily digested
- Perfectly matched nutrition
- Less gastrointestinal disturbances and chest/ear infections
- Reduced risk of constipation
- Filled with antibodies to protect against infection
- Lowers risk of breast/ovarian cancer
- Expands 500kcal a day
- Cost effective
- Helps uterus return to normal size faster
For Baby and Mom:
- A great way to bond
- Healthy for environment- no waste or packaging
- Always available
Diet for Nursing Moms:
It is important for nursing moms to maintain a well balanced diet. Eat all the same great healthy foods you did while pregnant and baby and mom will get all the nutrients needed to thrive. Just as the last trimester, nursing moms will need to eat an additional 500 kcal a day. Also, drinking lots of water is essential! The body takes water away to make breast milk, so stay hydrated. Try to continue to limit caffeine as it will dehydrate mom and mess with baby’s sleep, which is something no new parent wants!
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Milk production is regulated by supply and demand so it’s important to allow your baby to determine the frequency and duration of breastfeeding sessions. Most babies will feed at least eight to twelve times in a twenty-four hour period. A good tip to ensure baby is drinking enough is by how many wet and dirty diapers baby is having a day. After a few days of birth, baby will usually have about six to eight wet diapers a day. Weight gain is also an excellent indicator baby is eating enough. Some doctors offices will allow you to bring baby in for a weight check, to ease the minds of worried parents!
- Sucking on tongue or lips during sleep
- Sucking on fingers
- Moving arms and hands towards mouth
- Fussing or fidgeting while sleeping
- Turning head from side to side
Signs of Being Full:
- Falls asleep
- Relaxes the body
- Opens fists
- Relaxes forehead
- Let’s go of the nipple
Problems and Solutions to Breastfeeding Issues:
- The correct latch: The baby must open its mouth wide enough to get a good amount of areola into the mouth. If the baby latches on to just the nipple, you will be sore and baby will get limited supply of milk
- Contact a lactation consultant. Many hospitals will have lactation specialist on staff, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for help! ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS! Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, so their job is to help you and baby master breastfeeding.
- Mastitis is the swelling of the breasts because of bacterial infection
- Breasts will be engorged, painful, and hard to the touch
- Infection can happen when your milk ducts get plugged or bacteria gets introduced from sore, cracked nipples
- Tips to help avoid mastitis:
- Make sure latch is solid
- Nurse/pump frequently
- Drain breasts thoroughly at each feeding
- Apply wet heat and massage
- Wear well fitting nursing bra
Sore or Cracked Nipples
- Usually soreness is due to improper latch, this is where a lactation consultant is of great help!
- Apply breast milk to your nipples after every feed- it helps heal cracked nipple
- Blocked ducts can be caused by change in number of feedings, over abundant milk supply, a tight bra, and/or nursing baby with poor positioning.
- Treatment for blocked ducts
- Warm shower or compress
- Frequent feedings
- Hand express or gently pump after feeding
- Massage affected area
- Place baby in a position where the chin is facing the blockage, allowing the suction to be maximized toward the area of blockage
Low Milk Supply
- Nurse on demand!
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid alcohol
- Stick to a healthy diet
- Following foods are said to help boost milk production
- Wild salmon
There are so many factors a mom has to look into to decide if breast feeding is right for them. If it is something you feel passionate about doing but are having problems, never give up! There are a number of people out there willing to help you succeed; all you have to do is ask. It can be tough and confusing at first but once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. I enjoyed my time breastfeeding my little girl. It was mommy and daughter time to just sit and snuggle and get away from everything for a few times a day. I can’t wait to try again with our newest daughter!