YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING
Mrs Wong Boh Boi,
Senior ParentCraft Lactation Consultant
1) WHAT ARE THE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE MILK SUPPLY?
It is important to have a well-balanced diet. In order to succeed at breastfeeding, mums should follow a few golden rules:
- During early initiation once the baby is born, mums are recommended to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies for half an hour.
- Learn how to rest well and relax. This is because fatigue and any source of pain will negatively affect milk supply.
- Positioning is very important as it will cause sore and cracked nipples if the baby does not latch on properly. A good, deep latch can improve milk supply effectively – it helps compress a fair amount of breast tissue to elicit milk let-down and signals to the body to produce more milk.
2) SHOULD BREASTFEEDING MUMS BE EATING RAW FOOD, SEAFOOD, ALCOHOL OR CAFFEINE?
Breastfeeding mums can eat raw food and seafood, as long as it is fresh, otherwise the food can be contaminated which eventually will cause food poisoning. Seafood such as squid and crab rot easily so it’s best to reduce the intake of these types of seafood unless you are very sure of its freshness.
The alcohol content in wine and the usual herbal liquor is quite high and can be transmitted to breast milk, which may cause drowsiness and crankiness to the baby. Too much alcohol intake will also affect milk production. The recommended intake is 5g/kg of body weight. Otherwise, mums can double boil the alcohol to remove the spirit content before consumption.
Caffeine is an irritant – too much caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep or make him fussy. The recommended intake is maximum two cups of coffees or tea per day and they are best consumed after breastfeeding. Remember that caffeine is also found in teas, so even when drinking Chamomile tea, you will need to be careful. Always consume in moderation.
3) HOW FREQUENT SHOULD A MOTHER PUMP OUT HER MILK?
It depends on individuals. It would be best if mothers can do direct breastfeeding for about 10 to 12 times a day during the early postpartum days.
For those who need to increase their milk supply, they should start expressing using the stimulation mode at an early stage. They can do it using manual or a mechanical pump. Pump for five minutes, stop and massage the breast – repeat for three cycles on stimulation mode.
For those established mummies who are returning to work, they should start pumping three to four weeks before they return to work. Try not to power pump as it will affect the delicate breast tissues.
4) WHAT IS THE IDEAL PERIOD OF TIME THAT WHO RECOMMENDS TO BREASTFEED A BABY FOR?
Again, this is up to the individual and it depends on what each mother feels. The recommended period of breastfeeding is six months up to two years. During this period, the maximum benefits of breastfeeding will be reaped.
5) ARE NIGHT FEEDS IMPORTANT FOR BABIES?
All newborn babies will wake up at night for milk. However, they don’t usually wake up after three to four months old.
Mothers should practice demand feed – only feed the babies when they wake up. For non-demanding newborns, it is recommended to wake them up for feeds if there is a lapse of 4 hours since the last feed during the day.
In order to maintain or improve milk production after 3 months, mothers can empty the breast to improve milk supply. The more you empty, the more milk will be produced. This is known as autocrine system.
6) WHAT’S THE SUGGESTED GAP FOR NURSING TIME?
Follow the baby’s hunger cue. It depends on the milk volume and size of the mother’s breast. It is not right if the baby is asking for milk every hour. Mothers are recommended to consult their lactation consultants if they encounter this situation.