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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

Mum’s Checklist: 5 Essentials Breastfeeding Mums Need

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way of bonding with your baby as it provides closeness in addition to your baby’s nutritional requirements.

Mums who breastfeed may do it in different manners: Some breastfeeding mums latch their babies directly, other nursing mothers practice exclusive pumping, while some mums offer mixed feeds to their babies with both breast milk and infant formula milk powder.

Many mums who return to work after their maternity leave struggle to keep up with maintaining their supply especially when their work schedule makes it inconvenient for them to pump.

Thus, we have compiled a handy checklist of breastfeeding essentials for you to power on in providing the best nutrition for your baby! Also, always remember to practice good hygiene by washing your hands before and after pumping.

  1. Breast pump with proper flanges

A breast pump helps to express milk efficiently into storage bottles for feeding your child. Hand expressing and manual breast pumps are cheaper than electric breast pumps but can lead to sore fingers and cramped arms.

There are a number of decently priced electric breast pump models in the market which serve the same function. Certain models have a separate message mode that sends vibrations to relieve engorgement and stimulate the breast for letdown before expressing milk. Be sure to get flanges of the right size, as flanges that are too small can result in nipple abrasion and flanges that are too large take in too much areola. Improper flange sizes result in a poor fit which in turn lead to less milk expressed from the breasts.

Using a compatible breast milk storage bottle with your breast pump reduces the risk of contamination.

  1. Breast milk storage bottles or breastmilk storage bags
    If you’re expressing milk, you’ll need a hygienic receptacle to store it in. Breast milk storage bags are widely used as they are disposable and can freeze flat, but they are not eco-friendly as the bags cannot be recycled or reused.

Choose breast milk storage bottles that are compatible with your breast pump so that you can express directly into the bottle for storage. This reduces the chance of contamination as there is no need to transfer the breast milk from a bottle into a breast milk bag. For most breast milk storage bottles, there is an accompanying bottle adaptor that allows you to fit a feeding teat over the bottle to feed your baby directly and saves time from transferring the breastmilk and risk spillage.

  1. Nursing bra and handsfree accessories

Nursing bras provide easy access when latching or pumping. Supportive nursing bras can be purchased from Lazada or Qoo10 online or from stores that retail maternity wear. Pumping bras come with slits to hold your breast flanges in place for hands-free pumping. Keeping your hands-free allows busy mums to multi-task, and this luxury can come in the form of hands-free flanges or breastmilk collection cups. Do ensure that the flanges and collection cups hold well in place as the movement may lead to leakage of liquid gold during pumping.

  1. Nursing cover
    A nursing cover comes in handy when you find yourself in a situation where there are no available cubicles or nursing rooms. A nursing cover lets you pump at your desk, or simply to cover up when latching your baby while protecting your modesty.

A nursing cover doubles up as a scarf in cold spaces!

  1. Contacts of lactation consultants or massage ladies
    New mums may find themselves engorged easily due to the overwhelming hormones and unregulated milk supply. Having a lactation consultant or reliable massage lady that can relieve blockages will be a godsend for times when you encounter problems with breastfeeding.

If your baby is above six months old, you may consider supplementing with infant formula milk powder if you find your supply dipping or if you wish to wean your baby. Though breast milk is the golden standard, infant formula that is enhanced with nucleotides can assist in helping your child develop healthily.

Do you pack other essentials for your breastfeeding journey too, mums? Share with us in the comments below.

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Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

5 Ways Fathers Can Support Breastfeeding Mums on Their Journey

Breastfeeding mums face huge challenges – from latching issues, engorgement, breastfeeding illnesses such as mastitis and difficulties expressing milk comfortably at work. Breastmilk has been shown to be beneficial to babies’ development and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months of a child’s life.

 

A breastfeeding mum requires loads of support. If you’re a new father, here’s how you can play a part to give your wife a morale boost to ensure that your baby receives the best form of nutrition.

 

  1. Lend a helping hand

 

Whether mum direct latches or exclusive pumps, dads can support mums in different ways. When mum is latching baby, you can place a cushion behind your wife’s back to make it more comfortable, or bring her a drink to help her stay hydrated.

If the baby is on the bottle, offer to take over the feeds. Not only does it give your wife some time for a power nap, you also get to bond with your baby! That’s a win-win situation! After your wife finishes expressing breastmilk, help her to wash her pump equipment, bottles and pop them into the steriliser.

 

Bottle feeding lets father and baby enjoy some close moments together.

 

  1. Read up more about breastfeeding

A mother new to breastfeeding may encounter sore or cracked nipples which may bleed. By reading up on the causes of painful nipples and correct latching methods, you can help to soothe your wife’s misery and make the breastfeeding journey a more pleasant one. Otherwise, search for recommended International Board Certified Lactation Consultants available in Singapore.

Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group and hospitals such as National University Hospital and Mount Alvernia have certified lactation consultants who will be able to ease engorgement, correct latching methods and assist in the use of breast pumps.

Lactation tea contains ingredients which are known to boost breastmilk supply.

 

  1. Feed her well

Did you know that breastfeeding mothers require an additional 500 calories daily? Stock up the refrigerator with wholesome, fresh foods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrain, fish, poultry, seafood, beans and legumes to make sure that the calories taken in are nutritious as well.

There are certain ingredients which may help with the production of breast milk, such as oat, salmon, flaxseed, millet and barley. Take note that the milk-boosting effects may not be apparent for every woman and an ingredient which increases breastmilk production for one woman may cause a decrease in supply for another.

 

In addition, 88% of breastmilk is water. To prevent dehydration, it is essential that a minimum of 2L to 3L of fluids a day is consumed. Besides water, breastfeeding mums can consume soups, juices, water, lactation tea or even milk to make up the daily fluids needs.

A satisfied baby with a full tummy sleeps better!
  1. Support your wife against naysayers

During the breastfeeding journey, your wife may encounter unpleasant remarks from relatives, friends or strangers. Some may downplay your wife’s breastfeeding efforts and make her feel lousy by commenting on the amount of milk produced or the size of your baby.

Support your wife’s decision to breastfeed by fending off these remarks politely but firmly.

 

  1. Pack breastfeeding essentials for outings

With a constant lack of sleep, your wife may be too tired to pack baby’s diaper bag when your family goes out. Other than packing items that baby needs, remember to throw in a nursing cover and/or pump equipment with milk bottles so that your wife can breastfeed comfortably even when she’s outside.

 

Congratulations on this brand new journey together as parents! The above tips should help daddies to make your wife’s breastfeeding journey more bearable and less stressful. Have more tips to add on for new dads? Add a comment to let us know!