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For Parents Health & Nutrition Pregnant Pregnant

Breastfeeding Mums, Remember to Care for Your Breasts too

Besides providing nutrition and comfort to your babies, your breasts are bosom buddies that are often neglected too, right breastfeeding mums?

During breastfeeding, you may find that the shape, size and lift of your breasts may change. Caring for your breasts not only makes you feel better but prevents painful problems like mastitis and nipple soreness.

Did you know that our breasts can have stretch marks too? Stretch marks are linked to genetics but can be lightened with moisturising cream.

#1: Moisturise your breasts to lighten stretch marks

 Stretch marks are genetically caused but the appearance of stretch marks can be lightened with over-the-counter creams, stretch mark oils and some mums, say, breastmilk too.

#2: Apply breastmilk to heal cracked nipples

 The best nipple cream is stored in your breasts – that’s right, breastmilk! Breastmilk has been shown to relieve and heal cracked nipples in a shorter time than commercially sold nipple creams containing lanolin. Besides using breastmilk, mums can easily buy nipple creams or balms from shops in Singapore or through online stores. To keep your breastmilk supply up, be sure to avoid these milk killers!

Breastmilk is an amazing liquid that not only helps to moisturise dry skin but can also be frozen to help with your baby’s sore gums when teething.

 #3: You do not need to clean your nipples before latching or pumping

It is a misconception that nipples have to be cleaned before nursing. There is no need to wash with soap and water before each feed, as soaps and shower gels strip off the natural oil produced by the Montgomery glands (those little bumps on your areola) that will cause dry skin and irritation and in worse cases, cracked, painful and bleeding nipples.

In fact, not cleaning your nipples before each feed helps your baby build up his natural gut flora, strengthening his immune system.

#4: Support your bosom buddies

Treat your ladies with care by choosing a nursing bra that supports them well without being too tight. Choose bras that are made from cotton for breathability and comfort. Your breasts should be encased in the bra cups without spilling over or having gaps in between. Ensuring the shoulder straps are at the right length keeps your breasts supported. Some nursing mums prefer to avoid underwire bras due to comfort reasons.

Breastfeeding mums, taking care of your breast is part of self-care too.

#5: Make sure your baby is latching correctly

Improper and infrequent latching can cause painful problems such as sore nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis. A proper latch and frequent 2 to 3 hourly feeding can help to prevent engorgement.

#6: Change breast pads frequently

 At the beginning before your supply stabilises, you may encounter leakages that can be embarrassing if you are outside or at work. Changing breast pads frequently once they get wet can help to prevent cracked nipples. Reusable breast pads are friendlier to the environment but remember to use a fragrance-free detergent when washing to prevent skin irritation.

#7: Seek help from a lactation consultant

 Consulting a certified lactation consultant is a part of breast care as well. Lactation consultants can identify latching issues and the underlying causes such as tongue or lip ties, improper latching method, infrequent nursing and others.

What are some breast care tips you find most helpful for breastfeeding mums? Do share in your comments below!

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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

4 Reasons Why Breast Milk Supply Decreases

Breast milk is termed as the perfect food for infants and babies as it contains all the necessary nutrients required for development and is customised from mother to her baby. It provides antioxidants, strengthens immunity and promotes gut health.

Fathers can do their part to support their partners on the breastfeeding journey, which can do wonders in terms of father-and-child bonding, and letting mums know they are not alone.

Some mothers may feel frustrated when their breastmilk supply dips, and here are some reasons why.

Mothers who direct latch exclusively may experience a temporary dip in supply if they miss a feed and do not express out the milk.

  1. Issues with Latching

Improper latching techniques could result in your baby being unable to efficiently extract out the milk from your breasts. When milk is not emptied frequently, supply decreases.

There are various breastfeeding positions which you can try out, such as the football hold or side-lying position. Ensure that your baby’s mouth is wide open and fully covers the areola instead of only on the nipple.

Some mothers may have inverted or flat nipples which could possibly impede their baby’s ability to suckle. For this, there are nipple pullers that can be used to gently ease the nipple outwards.

Sometimes, the infant may have issues with nursing too. Tongue or lip ties affect the way infants suckle and could prevent them from nursing efficiently. As a result, they may get tired before they are full.

Stress is a big factor that leads to decreased milk supply

  1. Stress

After giving birth, your body struggles to regulate and you may suffer from postnatal blues. Combined with all that well meaning advice from relatives and friends that tend to be contradicting to your own beliefs, you could find yourself under a lot of stress.

Stress – physical, emotional and psychological, can cause your breast milk supply to dip. Stress can come from various sources, such as work, family, financial difficulties, physical health and lack of sleep.

If you feel worried about breastfeeding in front of others, use a nursing cover or bring your baby into a locked room for privacy. If you’re feeling stressed, take deep breaths to clear your mind and most importantly, find someone you can talk to about your feelings.

However, the interesting thing is that breastfeeding has actually been shown to reduce negative moods and stress!

  1. Not feeding frequently enough

Rather than sticking to a fixed schedule for feeds, if you are breastfeeding, it is more important to observe your baby’s hunger cues and feed accordingly. Although you will not be able to know the exact amount that your baby drinks, you can take note of the amount of wet diapers that they produce.

Breast milk works on a supply and demand basis. The more demand there is, there will be more supply. When milk is not emptied frequently, new milk cannot be produced as there is not enough space. This can also cause other problems such as engorgement, blocked ducts and so on.

If you do experience some of these common breastfeeding issues, do consult a lactation consultant to advise with massage techniques to get engorgement and blocked ducts out of the way. Else, it may lead to mastitis which comes with fever and body aches.

  1. Not drinking enough water

Breast milk is made of 90% water, thus is it important to ensure that you take in enough liquids to supplement your supply. As caffeine is a diuretic, aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of non-caffeinated drinks a day, or more if you can manage it.

Galactagogues are foods which have a positive effect on breast milk supply. If you are facing problems with supply, you may want to try these foods which can help increase milk supply in lactating mothers.

While there are a host of benefits to both mother and baby, your mental and emotional health should take precedence above breastfeeding. Take sufficient rests to boost your mood as well.

As long as your baby is fed, happy and healthy, that’s all that matters. Formula milk for infants and children are readily available for sale at supermarkets if you really have to get away for some fresh air and are unable to express breast milk for your baby.

What are some of the problems you have experienced when breastfeeding? Share your stories in the comments!

Categories
Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Breastfeeding: Benefits for Babies & Mummies

Breast milk is the perfect nourishment for your baby. However, due to personal reasons or medical reasons, babies’ diets may need to be supplemented with infant formula.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is highly recommended that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of life, supplemented with solid food till a year old and as long as mutually desired afterwards.

 

 

Breastfeeding is a quiet bonding time for you and baby.

 

Benefits of Breastmilk for Babies

  • Nutritionally balanced for your baby’s developmental needs
    Breast milk has all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your baby requires for his complete growth and development. It is easily digested which allows little tummies to absorb the nourishment.

 

  • Reduced Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk
    Breastfeeding for at least 2 months has been found to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The peak age of SIDS is around two to four months and there is a need to breastfeed during this period for protective effects to occur. It was found that SIDS was 40% less likely to occur in breastfed infants.

 

  • Positive effect on child’s IQ and behaviour
    Breastfed babies have been found to perform better on IQ tests. There were also fewer breastfed babies who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

 

  • Protective qualities that extend beyond childhood
    There are antibodies in breastmilk which provide significant protection against diseases caused by bacteria and viruses in their environment. Breast milk is unique as it adapts itself to the requirements of the baby.

 

In the first six months of life, exclusive breastfeeding builds and strengthens gut tissue, creating a barrier that keeps foreign material from the deeper intestinal tissues.

Beyond childhood, it has been found that breastfed babies reduce the rate of childhood overweight and obesity.

 

A breast pump will be useful for expressing breast milk when you are away from your baby.

 

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mothers

  • Postpartum weight loss
    Exclusively breastfeeding for at least 3 months and more have been linked to a lower postpartum weight. Breastfeeding mothers require about 300 to 500 more calories per day above what was needed to maintain pre-pregnancy weight.

 

  • Decreased risk of women’s cancers
    Studies have shown that lactating mothers have a decreased risk of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer. Lactating mothers have fewer menstrual cycles, which means lesser exposure to estrogen, a link to breast cancer. The same goes for ovarian cancer, where a longer breastfeeding duration has been linked to lower rates of epithelial ovarian cancer.

 

  • Decreased stress levels and better emotional health
    Breastfeeding has been proven to lower maternal stress levels and improve maternal bonding with the infant due to the production of prolactin and oxytocin. It also fosters a strong, unbreakable bond between you and your infant which will last beyond infancy and throughout childhood.

 

  • Convenient and affordable
    When you breastfeed exclusively, there is no need to purchase expensive infant formula which may cost hundreds of dollars per month. Milk is at the right temperature and easily accessible for your infant without the hassle of having to bring bottles and milk powder containers. Night feeds become easier with the side latching method.

 

Breast milk provides all the nutrients that your newborn will need.

 

Breastfeeding is more than purely nutrition – it is the best gift for your infant. If there are no medical issues affecting nursing, consider exclusive breastfeeding for your baby!