BREASTFEEDING IN LUTON

WE KNOW THAT BREASTFEEDING CAN BE CHALLENGING, ESPECIALLY IN THE EARLY DAYS AND WEEKS AT HOME WITH YOUR NEW BABY. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT NEARLY ALL BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS HAVE SOLUTIONS WITH THE RIGHT HELP, SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE.
WE CAN HELP AND ARE HAPPY TO MEET WITH YOU IN A PRIVATE SETTING, EVEN IN YOUR HOME!

 

Why To Find A Lactation Consultant

Breastfeeding has so many health benefits for you and your baby but pain, discomfort, and slow weight gain for baby may be making breastfeeding harder than you ever thought. Just like with natural birth, we think that nursing will be easy and intuitive but for most first-time moms (and even experienced moms), it is extremely challenging at first. If you find yourself having trouble nursing, do yourself and baby a favor. Before you give up, see a lactation consultation. In nearly all cases, she will teach you how to continue nursing (comfortably!) for as long as you and baby want.

What is a lactation consultant?

A lactation consultant is a trained healtcare professional who can help women learn how to feed their babies. Hopefully, she has met the qualification for, and passed the exam given by, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLE).

IBCLE is an international organization, the standards and scope of practice for IBCLCs are the same worldwide.

IBCLC’s are the gold standard for providing evidence-based lactation support for you and your baby and are especially important if you are having significant problems with milk supply or have a baby that is preterm or has medical challenges.

You may want to see an IBCLC if you are experiencing:

  • any nipple or breast pain – breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, although a little soreness and discomfort early on may be normal;
  • engorgement;
  • sore nipples that are not improving;
  • redness, pain or swelling in the breasts;
  • anxiety about breastfeeding.

Or the baby is experiencing:

  • inadequate diapers;
  • jaundice;
  • inadequate weight gain;
  • squirms, fusses or cries at the breast;
  • clicking sounds, hiccups or excessive spit up or vomiting;
  • long feeds (45 minutes or longer) and/or frequent feeds (every hour or less) for more than just cluster feeding periods at specific times of day;
  • short feeds (5 minutes or less);
  • no interest in nursing for long periods of time;
  • incredibly sleepy and won’t wake for feedings or stay awake during feedings;
  • trouble latching.

Also, if mom feels like something just isn’t right it probably isn’t and it’s time to call the lactation consultant.

Breastfeeding is the best!

Yes, breastmilk is the best food for your baby. It’s the healthiest way to feed him.

These are some of the reasons why:

IBCLC’s are the gold standard for providing evidence-based lactation support for you and your baby and are especially important if you are having significant problems with milk supply or have a baby that is preterm or has medical challenges.

You may want to see an IBCLC if you are experiencing:

  • your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby;
  • breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases;
  • breastfeeding provides health benefits for you;
  • breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it;
  • breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby.

Formula milk doesn’t provide the same protection from illness and doesn’t give you any health benefits.
Breastmilk is a complete food. It contains at least 400 nutrients, as well as hormones and disease-fighting compounds, that aren’t present in formula milk. Its nutritional makeup even adjusts to your baby’s needs as they grows.

Feeding your baby only breastmilk for up to six months (exclusive breastfeeding) is particularly good for her. It can improve your baby’s cognitive development. So being breastfed could even make her more intelligent.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed from birth are also much less likely to be ill in their first year of life. Being breastfed may help your baby to fend off illnesses such as:

  • gastroenteritis;
  • pneumonia and bronchiolitis;
  • ear infections.

We can’t say that exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of children ever developing eczema. But babies who are breastfed for any period of time do tend to have lower rates of severe eczema than babies who were always formula-fed. It’s also possible that breastfeeding delays when your child first develops eczema.

Breastfeeding helps to build a special bond between you and your baby. And in the long-term, breastfeeding may help your baby to stay healthy. Studies have shown that adults who were breastfed as babies, when compared with those who were formula-fed:

  • had lower blood pressure;
  • had lower cholesterol levels;
  • were less likely to become obese;
  • were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood.

Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of:

  • infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result;
  • diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result;
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);
  • childhood leukaemia;
  • type 2 diabetes;
  • obesity;
  • cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby’s life.

After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for as long as you and your baby want will help them grow and develop healthily.

Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby’s changing needs.

Health benefits of breastfeeding for you
Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

  • breast cancer;
  • ovarian cancer;
  • osteoporosis (weak bones);
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • obesity.

How easy is breastfeeding?
Though some women take to breastfeeding easily, many new mums find it hard to get going. So if you’re feeling discouraged, you’re not alone.

Breastfeeding takes practice, and is a skill that you and your baby will be learning from scratch. Give yourself as much time as you need to get it down to a fine art. Take it a day, a week, or even just one feed, at a time.

If you’re having a bad feeding day, tell yourself that tomorrow will be better, and that any problems you are having are likely to pass. By the time of your postnatal check, you’ll probably be breastfeeding without giving it a second thought. If not, ask for support.

How can I prepare for breastfeeding?
Staying healthy is as much as you can do to prepare your body for breastfeeding. But learning as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born will help you when the time comes.

Read how to prepare for breastfeeding, and encourage your partner to learn about it too, so he’s ready to support you.

What should I buy for breastfeeding?

Buy at least two or three comfortable breastfeeding or nursing bras so your breasts are properly supported. These have hooks or zips that you can easily undo when your baby needs to feed.

Make sure that your bras fit properly, and that any flaps open completely. If only a small part of your breast is exposed, the bra may press on breast tissue and lead to blocked ducts or mastitis.

You may prefer to wait to buy bras until after your baby is born, to make sure that they will fit you perfectly. But bear in mind that getting out of the house with a newborn isn’t easy, so think about going in late pregnancy. Many department stores have staff who are trained to fit nursing bras after 36 weeks of pregnancy.

You may find that your breasts have a tendency to leak, as even another baby’s cry or the sight of a baby can stimulate milk flow. Keep a supply of washable or disposable breast pads handy, and consider buying a light-weight nursing bra for night-time, so you can wear breast pads while you sleep. If you’re planning to express your breastmilk, you may want to consider buying a breast pump.

How do I start breastfeeding?

Find a comfortable place before you start. In the early days of breastfeeding, when you’re still trying to get the hang of it, creating the right atmosphere is important.

If you’re easily distracted by noise, find somewhere quiet. If you tend to get bored, you may want to feed with the radio or television on, but only if breastfeeding is going well. Try different spots until you find what works for you.

Hold your baby in a position that won’t make your arms and back ache. Have cushions or pillows nearby to support you or your baby. Laid-back breastfeeding involves lying on your back, so that your baby can rest on your body, while your hands are free to support her. Or try the cradle hold, which means cradling your baby across your chest, raised up on a cushion or pillow. It depends on what’s most comfortable for you.

Get yourself and your baby in a relaxed position before you start feeding. Pay attention to how your breasts feel when your baby latches on. He should take in a big mouthful of breast tissue.

If you have large breasts, you may find it more comfortable to lie on your side while feeding, or you may want to try holding your baby under your arm in a rugby ball position.

If latching on hurts, break the suction by gently inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your nipple, and try again. Once your baby latches on properly, she’ll be able to do the rest.

How long will I be breastfeeding for?

Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Continuing to breastfeed while introducing solid foods to your baby may benefit her immune system. She may also be less likely to develop health conditions such as coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes.

How often should I feed my newborn baby?

Let your baby be your guide, and feed him as often as he wants to feed.

On the first day, your baby will probably feed at least three to four times. After the first sleepy day or two have passed, your baby may seem hungry most of the time.

At this point, your baby will probably want to breastfeed at least eight times a day. Though he could feed a lot more than that, such as every hour or so. By the end of the first week, his feeds will probably have settled down to eight a day.

There’s no maximum number of feeds a day when you’re demand-feeding in the early days and weeks. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your breasts will be stimulated to produce.

Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood.

Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of:

  • infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result;
  • diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result;
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);
  • childhood leukaemia;
  • type 2 diabetes;
  • obesity;
  • cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby’s life.

After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for as long as you and your baby want will help them grow and develop healthily.

Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby’s changing needs.

Health benefits of breastfeeding for you
Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

  • breast cancer;
  • ovarian cancer;
  • osteoporosis (weak bones);
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • obesity.

How easy is breastfeeding?
Though some women take to breastfeeding easily, many new mums find it hard to get going. So if you’re feeling discouraged, you’re not alone.

Breastfeeding takes practice, and is a skill that you and your baby will be learning from scratch. Give yourself as much time as you need to get it down to a fine art. Take it a day, a week, or even just one feed, at a time.

If you’re having a bad feeding day, tell yourself that tomorrow will be better, and that any problems you are having are likely to pass. By the time of your postnatal check, you’ll probably be breastfeeding without giving it a second thought. If not, ask for support.

How can I prepare for breastfeeding?
Staying healthy is as much as you can do to prepare your body for breastfeeding. But learning as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born will help you when the time comes.

Read how to prepare for breastfeeding, and encourage your partner to learn about it too, so he’s ready to support you.

How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?

If you notice these signs, your baby should be getting enough milk:

    • your baby is feeding at least eight times a day;
    • breastfeeding feels comfortable and you are free of pain in your breast and nipple after the first few sucks, once your milk has let down;
    • your breasts feel softer and less full after feeds;
    • your nipple looks the same shape as when the feed began or is slightly elongated;
    • your baby looks a healthy colour, and has firm skin that bounces right back if you pinch it gently;
    • your baby is alert when he is awake, and readily asks for feeds;
    • your baby is wetting two or three wet nappies in the first 48 hours, which becomes more frequent. Once he’s over five days old, he should have at least six wet nappies every 24 hours. Your baby’s wee should be pale and odourless;
    • you can see your baby swallow while he is feeding, and he seems to be latched on properly. You’ll be able to hear him swallowing more clearly too, once your milk has come in;
    • your baby changes rhythm while sucking, and pauses during feeds. He should start feeding again when he’s ready, and come off your breast spontaneously when he’s finished;
    • your baby’s poos are a yellowy-mustard colour by the time he’s five days old.With the help of our Luton breastfeeding services, we will help you ensure your baby is being fed properly and getting enough milk. For the best Luton breastfeeding services, contact us now!

With the help of our Luton breastfeeding services, we will help you ensure your baby is being fed properly and getting enough milk. For the best Luton breastfeeding services, contact us now!

How can I tell if my baby isn’t getting enough milk?

If your baby isn’t getting enough milk, you’ll notice one or more of these signs:

  • your baby doesn’t regain his birth weight by the time he is 14 days old;
  • your breasts don’t feel softer after feeds;
  • your nipple looks misshapen or pinched at the end of a feed, or feel sore or damaged;
  • your baby is unsettled after feeds;
  • your baby is wetting fewer than five to six nappies at around five days old, or fewer than six to eight nappies in a 24-hour period if he’s older than five days;
  • your baby poos less than twice a day by five days old and the poos are not runny or yellow coloured. After a few weeks, some babies poo only every few days, but dry nappies and scanty poos suggest your baby is not getting enough fluid;
  • your baby’s skin becomes more yellow, instead of less, after the first week;
  • your baby is sleepy for most of the time and you have to wake him to feed;
  • your baby has dimples in his cheeks or makes clicking noises while breastfeeding. This is a sign that your baby is not latched on properly.
What if my baby has lost weight?

It’s usual for babies to lose between five per cent and 10 percent of their birth weight a few days after the birth, which is when your baby will be weighed. But this doesn’t mean he’s not getting enough milk.

After a few days, your baby should start to gain weight again. If he is weighed when he’s between five and seven days, you may be able to see that he is starting to grow. By 14 days, most babies are at or above their birth weight.

Do I need extra calories when I am breastfeeding?

In lactation, about 500 extra calories per day are required during the first 6 months.

The 500 calories per day “cost” of breastmilk is an average that depends on the women’s fat stores and food consumed.

Be guided by your appetite, and eat when you’re hungry. It’s normal for your body to lay down fat stores during pregnancy to help you prepare for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your baby can help to convert these fat stores into energy for making milk.

Women who have postnatal depression sometimes lose their appetite. If you’re finding it a struggle to eat, talk to your lactation consultant, your doctor or health visitor.

Can I lose weight while I’m breastfeeding?

You should be fine to lose weight gradually
You can discuss the best ways to eat healthily and exercise with your Lactation Consultant or GP. They may be able to recommend local support groups, too.

Bear in mind that you’ll need to keep up your strength as a new mum. Trying to do too much after giving birth may slow your recovery and make you feel even more tired.

The mother who exercises strenuously for more than 1 hour per day might have increased calories needs.

The type of fat, but not the amount of fat is influenced by the mother’s diet, so a mother on a low-fat diet should still provide adequate fats for the infant.

This is especially the case if you’ve had a caesarean, or a difficult birth.

Can I drink tea and coffee if I’m breastfeeding?

Try not to have too many caffeinated drinks when you’re breastfeeding. This can be tough, especially in the early days when you’re exhausted from breastfeeding round the clock.

The NHS recommends you keep your caffeine intake below 300mg a day. It’s hard to estimate how much caffeine is in a cappuccino or latte, so you may be safer to stick with decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea when you’re out and about.

If your baby seems very unsettled or restless or finds it difficult to sleep, try cutting back on caffeine, or not having any at all. This may help your baby to settle more easily.

Can I drink alcohol if I’m breastfeeding?

Alcohol passes through your breastmilk to your baby. It could harm your baby, causing drowsiness, slow growth, and neurodevelopmental delays.

It’s always best to be cautious, so you may want to cut out alcohol while you’re breastfeeding, especially in the first three months.

When he’s a newborn, your baby’s stomach is very small and will need filling up often. The amount of alcohol in your blood peaks between 30 minutes and 90 minutes after you have a drink. If your baby is feeding often, there won’t be enough time between feeds for the alcohol to clear from your system.

Your baby’s liver is immature too and needs protecting from traces of alcohol.

Do I need to take any supplements if I’m breastfeeding?

During lactation, the need for some vitamins and minerals is increased, but so is food intake.

Taking a vitamin supplement is often recommended

In general, the following micronutrients in breast milk are affected by low maternal status: thiamin, riboflavin, Vit.B6, Vit.B12, Vit.D, Vit.A and selenium.

Unless a known deficiency is found, most are rapidly restored by increasing the mother intake.

Vitamin D deficiencies may be corrected, and this should be taken only under a doctor guidance.

Factors other than nutrition, particularly nursing behaviour and stress, have a greater effect on milk supply.

Increasing maternal energy intake and fluid does not influence milk volume unless the mother was significantly malnourished.

Can I have herbal remedies if I’m breastfeeding?

You can drink most herbal teas when you are breastfeeding. Herbal teas that use ingredients you might cook with, such as fennel, camomile and peppermint, are safe to drink.

Herbal medicines, however, are a different matter. You shouldn’t take them while you are breastfeeding, because we don’t know enough about how they affect breastmilk. Always check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medication while you’re breastfeeding.

What’s the best way to store breastmilk?

You can store your breastmilk to keep it fresh for your baby in a number of ways:

  • At room temperature (no more than 25 degrees C), for up to six hours.
  • In a cool box, with ice packs, for up to 24 hours.
  • In a fridge (at four degrees C or colder), for up to five days. Store it at the back of the fridge, where it’s coldest, away from meat, eggs, or uncooked foods.
  • In a fridge’s freezer compartment, for two weeks.
  • In a home freezer (at minus 18 degrees C or lower), for up to six months.

If you’re returning to work, try to get into the routine of expressing and storing your breastmilk. This will keep your milk supply up, and your baby can continue to get the benefits of your milk, even when you’re not with him.

How you store your breastmilk depends on how soon you want to use it. If you plan to use it within a few days, refrigerating is better than freezing.

Whether you choose to refrigerate or freeze your milk, you should:

  • Use sterilised containers. Opt for plastic bottles or plastic breastmilk bags. Glass bottles may crack or chip.
  • Label and date your bottles and bags, and use up the oldest ones first.
  • Keep your breast pump clean. Wash the parts in hot, soapy water, and rinse them thoroughly before sterilising.
  • Wash your hands before expressing and handling breastmilk for storage. Keeping everything as clean as possible will make it less likely that bacteria will grow in your stored milk.

 

If your milk has been stored for some time, you may notice that it separates. This is normal, so just give it a gentle shake to mix it up again.. You can warm the milk by placing the sealed bottle or bag in a bowl of warm water.

If you want to freeze your milk, do it as soon after expressing as possible. Leave a gap at the top of each bottle or bag, as your milk will expand during freezing. If you’re storing milk in bags, watch out for any tears. You may not notice any until you start to thaw the milk. Remember that plastic bags tend to fall over when thawing.

You could freeze very small amounts of milk in an ice cube tray, ideally one with a lid, or you could store the tray inside a sealed freezer bag. These smaller quantities defrost quickly and are ideal if you need some breastmilk to mix with your baby’s food when you introduce solids.

You can add freshly expressed milk to frozen milk, as long as the fresh milk is chilled for at least an hour first. Make sure the amount you’re freezing is smaller than the frozen portion.

Frozen breastmilk should ideally be defrosted in the fridge, and can be stored there for 12 hours. Never re-freeze breastmilk once it has thawed.

Don’t be tempted to defrost or warm your breastmilk in a microwave. If you need the milk in a hurry, defrost it under cool, then warm, running water, or place it in a bowl of warm water. Dry the outside of the container before you open it, and use it straight away.

Can I breastfeed after I go back to work?

If you’re going back to work, it doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. If your workplace has a nursery, you may be able to visit your baby during the working day and breastfeed her as usual.

If you can’t visit your baby during the day, you may want to express milk. Or you may choose to breastfeed only when you are with your baby and give her formula milk during the day (mixed feeding).

Let your employer know in writing if you want to breastfeed after you return to work, so a risk assessment can be carried out. This is to make sure that your workplace is safe for a breastfeeding mum.

It’s good news for employers, too. Mums who are supported to carry on breastfeeding after they return to work take less time off. And some research suggests that exclusively breastfed babies are less likely to be ill than babies who are formula-fed.

Can I breastfeed in public?

You may feel shy about breastfeeding in front of other people. But you have the right to breastfeed in public places in England, Scotland and Wales. The rules differ slightly in Northern Ireland, but you have some protection under the Sex Discrimination Act.

You may feel comfortable about breastfeeding in front of others. However if you feel self-conscious, there are tops that allow you to breastfeed discreetly. Shirts that you have to unbutton will make you feel exposed as you feed, and buttons are fiddly to deal with. Stretchy tops you can pull up work well.

If it makes you feel more comfortable, drape a scarf, muslin or blanket over your shoulder and chest while you feed. This will give you and your baby privacy. Make sure your baby can breathe easily, though.

Some larger shops have mum-and-baby rooms where you can sit comfortably and feed, and local councils also provide information about where you are welcome to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding your baby when she’s hungry is your first priority, so try not to feel self-conscious about doing what’s best for her.

BREASTFEEDING MYTHS

Myth: “It’s not that popular in this country.”
Fact:  More than 73% of women in the UK start breastfeeding, and 17% of babies are still being exclusively breastfed at three months.

Myth: “My nipples are flat or even inverted, so I won’t be able to breastfeed.”
Fact:  Nipples come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Holding your baby skin-to-skin after birth will help them find the best way to attach themselves. Your baby breastfeeds, not nipple feeds, so as long as they can get a good mouthful of breast they should be able to feed perfectly happily.

Myth: “Some women don’t produce enough breast milk.”
Fact:  Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed. Early, frequent feeding and responding to your baby’s cues give you the best start to establishing your supply. See Is my baby getting enough milk?

Myth: “Breastfeeding hurts.”
Fact:  Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby and it shouldn’t hurt. If you experience pain in your breasts or nipples, it’s usually because your baby isn’t positioned or attached properly. Ask your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding specialist to watch a whole feed to help spot the problem.

Myth: “Formula milk is basically the same as breast milk.”
Fact:  Almost all formula milk is made from cows’ milk. It can contain bacteria, which is why it’s vital to make it up with water hot enough to kill any bacteria (70C). It doesn’t protect your baby from infections and diseases like breast milk does.

Myth: “Babies don’t need breast milk once they start solid foods at about six months.”
Fact:  Breastfeeding still has lots of benefits for you and your baby after six months. It protects them from infections and there’s some evidence that it helps them to digest solid foods. It also continues to provide the balance of nutrients they need. The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to two years or longer.

Myth: “Breastfeeding will make my breasts sag.”
Fact:  Breastfeeding doesn’t cause your breasts to sag, but pregnancy hormones can stretch the ligaments that support your breasts. Wear a well-fitting bra while you’re pregnant.

Myth: “People don’t like to see women breastfeeding in public.”
Fact:  Most people don’t mind. The more it’s seen, the more normal it will become. The law protects women from being asked to leave a public space while breastfeeding.

Myth: “If I breastfeed I can’t have a sex life.”
Fact:  There’s no reason why breastfeeding should stop you having sex with your partner. Your breasts may leak a little milk while you’re having sex, but you can try feeding your baby beforehand or wearing a bra with breast pads in. Your vagina may feel a little drier than usual because of your breastfeeding hormones. Using some lubricant and taking things slowly will help.

For the most efficient and reliable Luton breastfeeding services, don’t hesitate to contact us now!

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