Monday, 12 May 2008

Top 10 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Welcome to National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

The following are 10 great tips for sucessful breastfeeding, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy.

1. Breast feed within the first thirty minutes of birth in order to begin establishing feeding while your baby’s suckling reflexes are strong.
2. Avoid over stimulation of baby before the first feed. This means that bathing, dressing weighing and measuring all take second place to breast feeding.
3. When at home, make sure you are comfortable before you begin to breast feed. Have a large glass of water and some snacks close to hand (as breastfeeding can make you very hungry!). Have plenty of pillows to support your baby and your back or buy a breastfeeding pillow (from experience I found the Widgey Nursing Support Pillow invaluable).
4. Don’t worry that your milk supply is little within the first 3-4 days of birth. This initial colostrum plays a valuable role in preventing infection and is designed to coat your baby’s intestine with valuable antibodies. Babies often don’t feed much within the first 24-48 hours in any event.
5. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. If it is, your baby is probable not attached correctly. Ask the hospital breastfeeding nurse, midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding counsellor (also known as lactation consultant) to check that your baby is correctly positioned and attached.
6. Dark green cabbage leaves (organic) are very effective in relieving engorged breasts. Lightly steam them and let them cool before putting them on your breasts.

Don’t start a feeding routine until your baby is at least six weeks old. Breast milk is digested much faster than formula milk so your baby should feed on demand. This may be anywhere between 1- 5 hourly. Starting a routine too early may reduce your milk flow and create problems.

What should I do if I have problems?

7. Speak to your midwife, health visitor or see your doctor: you or your baby may have thrush (or another condition) which is causing the problem and can be treated medically.
8. See a cranial osteopath for your baby.
9. See a breast feeding counsellor (also called lactation counsellor). They will come to your home (not cheap, but worth every penny). Do not rely on telephone support as you need to be shown how to hold your baby correctly when breastfeeding.
10. See a Nutritionist who can help you improve your diet which may help with milk flow.

If you wish to find out more about how nutrition can help with breastfeeding, contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT), specialist in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2. I have co-authored a free e-book which can be obtained by clicking on the following link: