Ms Fonnie Lo, lactation consultant and head of Alvernia Parentcraft Centre shares the benefits of breastfeeding, how to overcome challenges, and tips to make the experience more comfortable.
Did you know that breastfeeding provides all the nutrition a baby needs for the first six months of life?
The benefits of breastfeeding are plenty for both mother and child.
Breast milk contains antibodies that bolster the baby’s immunity, shielding them from ailments such as asthma, diabetes, ear and gut infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and childhood leukemia.
It adapts to the changing nutritional requirements as they grow. allowing for the introduction of complementary foods around 6 months while continuing breastfeeding for at least two years or more, as long as both mother and child want it.
Furthermore, breast milk fosters healthy brain development, reduces the risk of childhood obesity, and is always fresh at the right temperature.
For mothers, breastfeeding is linked to a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, while aiding in postpartum uterine contraction.
Overcoming breastfeeding challenges
Breastfeeding may pose common challenges for many mothers. particularly new ones. Here are some of these challenges and ways to address them.
1) Breast engorgement
Usually occurs between the third to fifth day of breastfeeding, but can happen later.
How to manage it…
2) Sore nipples
Often caused by improper positioning or shallow latching.
How to manage it …
3) Low breast milk supply
Causes include poor attachment and/or positioning. infrequent feeding, short feeding periods, lack of night feeds, stress, or delayed milk production due to a complicated labour, maternal medical conditions or gestational diabetes.
Supplementing with infant formula during breastfeeding can hinder milk supply as well, as your body is getting the signal that breast milk is not needed as often.
How to manage it …
Seek professional help promptly if you encounter breastfeeding problems.
Weaning off breastfeeding
As a mother progresses in her breastfeeding journey, she may eventually wish to wean her baby from breastfeeding. It is advisable to maintain at least two breastfeeding sessions a day as the child continues to benefit from the milk.
To initiate weaning, reduce the daytime feeds by one session. If the baby tends to suckle to sleep, consider shorter feeds, but do not reject the baby for wanting to seek comfort.
Adjust the bedtime routine by substituting breastfeeding with other activities.
However, avoid weaning during major changes in the life, such as starting daycare, relocating, toilet training, or experiencing sleep regression. Prioritise the child’s emotional needs during these transitions.
Tips for breastfeeding mothers returning to work
Article contributed by Fonnie Lo, accredited lactation consultant from Mount Alvernia Hospital.
The Alvernia Parentcraft Centre offers comprehensive childbirth education courses that cover crucial topics such as breastfeeding and infant care. If you are an expectant or new parent seeking to learn more, do not hesitate to call 6347 6641 or email [email protected] for further details.
This article is taken from our MyAlvernia Magazine Issue #51. Click here to read the issue on our website.