Midwife Cath Curtin is an expert in women’s health, pre-pregnancy, antenatal care and education, pregnancy, labour and birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding, and parenting.
When COVID-19 stopped face-to-face appointments and resulted in the cancellation of antenatal classes, Midwife Cath partnered with Cell Care to create Tummy Talks – free online antenatal classes and education session that expectant parents could access from the comfort and safety of their home. The Pregnancy and Birth classes were so popular, Breastfeeding and Postnatal classes have now been added.
Here, Midwife Cath shares some of her knowledge on all things breastfeeding:
Feeding Tips and tricks
The best tip is to keep the baby close and feed the baby frequently. In the early days and weeks while establishing breastfeeding it is vital the woman rests and eats a healthy diet. It is also very important for the woman to drink water – when feeding a baby, a woman experiences increased calorie and nutrient needs – so food and lots of water is a must! Breast milk has all the nutrients your baby needs for the first six months of life. Your baby may not require any added water or solid foods other than breastmilk in the first 6 months.
Another good tip is to wrap a new born baby when breastfeeding. All babies have primitive reflexes, one of them is the startle reflex. This is where the baby may throw their arms everywhere, or jolt their body making attachment a challenge. Wrapping the baby and keeping them close to your body will keep them nice and calm.
It’s important to remember that every baby, breast and nipple is unique. What works for one person, may not work for another. Everyone is different, and that’s okay.
How to position your baby for good attachment
Babies are very clever! They know exactly what to do from the very beginning – one of their strongest primitive and natural reflexes is to suck and that is so they can live. Yet, it can come as a surprise to some mothers when they discover breastfeeding isn’t always easy.
A baby is best positioned across the mum in a cradle hold so the baby can self-attach. This positioning and gentle introduction to the nipple will trigger the baby’s rooting reflex meaning the baby will manoeuvre itself around to find and latch on to the nipple. Two fingers in the peace sign can be used to position the nipple in place.
It’s important that mother is relaxed and comfortable while feeding. Feel some pain or discomfort during the first few seconds of feeding is normal as baby is working to get the nipple into the right position. If pain does continue for longer, you may need to take the baby off, reposition and try again.
Keeping up or increasing supply
The best and easiest way to keep the breast lactating is to keep the baby close and feed frequently. Lactation works on demand and supply. And, breastfeeding the baby frequently for a few days will certainly help increase the supply.
It is important to remain well hydrated and well fed when breastfeeding. Basically, the mother’s body is giving energy, life and weight gain to your baby so maintaining a satisfying and nutritious diet is necessary.
It’s important to feed in a comfortable position and try not to feed ‘on the run’. If the baby is still searching for a feed, offer some ‘quick’ top up breast feeds…every little feed helps.
It is important to alternate breasts during a feed to keep the milk moving. Feeding from one side only can lead to mastitis as the brain does not discriminate when it lets down the milk into the breasts. So, when the baby starts to suck and the brain lets the milk down (ejection of the milk) it lets down to both breasts.
Midwife Cath, in conjunction with Cell Care are offering FREE online antenatal classes for expecting women, which covers pregnancy and birth, breastfeeding and postnatal care. For more information or to register visit the Tummy Talks website.
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