FOR LACTATING MOTHERS
The main function of the
female breast is to provide milk to the newborn baby. They
are the mammary glands which have been developed by nature
for this express purpose. It is very necessary that the
mother know the correct way of suckling the baby and also
maintaining proper breast hygiene once the feeding is done.
This will keep the breasts clean for the next feeding of the
baby and also regain the breasts to their original shape and
size once the baby is weaned.
Correct Way to Breastfeed a Newborn Child
It takes a little while for
first time mothers to learn the right way to breastfeed
their newborn. Only with patience and a little practice can
both mother and child learn how to share correctly in this
fantastic natural process. The correct way to breastfeed a
baby is described below:-
The first important thing is
to hold the baby in the right position. Support the baby's
weight by keeping it in your lap (slightly upraised) or by
holding it steadfast at its lower back. The baby's mouth
must conveniently reach the nipple without having to exert.
Remember that babies become more enthusiastic at the sight
of a nipple, and if they are not able to reach it
conveniently, they may hurt themselves.
Next, place the nipple into
the mouth of the baby. Allow the baby to take the nipple as
much as possible inside its mouth. You will know that the
nipple has reached its right position when it touches the
roof of the baby's mouth (palate).
The baby's lips should be
locked around the areola. Hence, the baby's mouth should be
over the breast tissue while the nipple should be on the
palate of the mouth. Babies suckle by pressing the nipple
with their tongue against the palate, thus squeezing the
milk out of it.
Though it is a cumbersome
process in the beginning, you will quickly get used to it
and, keep in mind, the milk of your own breast is the best
food that the baby can have at this age, which will immunize
it against several diseases.
Care Before Childbirth
During pregnancy, the proper
care for the breast must begin even before the baby is
actually born. This is to ensure that there is a proper milk
flow when the childbirth occurs. It is essential to carry
out the following procedures regarding breast care before
Keep the breast always clean.
Wash them with water (either hot or cold as per
convenience), but do not use soaps and lotions.
Start breast massages during
pregnancy so as to ensure proper stimulation of the mammary
glands. One very effective exercise is to hold the breast
and then to pull it out towards the nipple. Carry this on
for a couple of times. This exercise will not only stimulate
the mammary glands, but they will also keep the nipples
loose and flexible for the baby to suckle on. It will also
prevent the nipples from getting inverted or from becoming
sore and cracked.
A positive outlook is also
very important when the mammary glands begin lactating,
i.e., in the ninth month. Always keep thinking of the baby
to come and how you would hold it to suckle. Keeping a baby
picture or two in the room would help. Though this seems
far-fetched, such an act would actually help in stimulating
the milk-producing hormones.
Care During Lactation
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Post-partum breast care is
only slightly different than during pregnancy. Once the
birth has occurred, the initial milk called colostrum begins
to flow. It is from this moment on that proper breast care
during lactation must begin.
Contrary to whatever the old
wives' tales say, the colostrum is not to be wasted. This is
the initial extremely nutritive food for the baby which will
immunize it from a host of diseases. After each feeding wash
the breasts with water.
Avoid the use of soap, shampoo
or any kind of lotion on the breasts. This may cause the
nipples to become sore and cracked. The best medium to wash
the nipples and areolas after the feeding is water. Washing
it important as it will clean the nipple area and keep it
hygienic for the baby's next feeding.
Feed the baby every time it
makes a demand. This is the best way to allow the milk to
flow out of the breasts. If you miss feedings, then there is
a possibility of the milk getting accumulated in the breast
leading to what is called as engorgement. If engorgement
occurs, then you must remove the excess milk by either
squeezing the breast with your hands, or by using a breast
Perform regular exercises on
the breasts during lactation. This will keep the milk in a
good state of circulation (from the lobules to the nipple)
and will also flush out any toxins that may be produced due
to accumulated milk.
Avoid wearing restricting
clothes such as bras and corsets when you are lactating.
This will help in maintaining a proper flow of milk and will
not cramp the breasts.
It is a rare gift that nature
has given all mammals. It is the primary bond that the
mother establishes with the baby. Thus it is very necessary
to carry this out with the correct procedure and take proper
care after the feeding is done. This could make
breastfeeding a joy for both mother and child
and Nipple Care
Association (ABA) counsellors are trained to provide
breastfeeding support. They are mothers who want to help
other women enjoy breastfeeding their babies. Many mothers
have problems with their breasts. If you deal with these
problems straight away you may stop them getting worse.
Here are some simple
suggestions which can help. If you want more information or
want to ask a question, ABA is nearby. All states have a
counselling service and email counselling is also available.
Counselling is free to anyone who needs help with
breastfeeding. The telephone interpreter service could help
you to talk to a breastfeeding counsellor. Our booklet
Breast and nipple care also contains lots of valuable
information. It is available from Mothers Direct.
your medical adviser to examine your breasts and
that your bra fits correctly as your breasts enlarge
NOT use soap or anything drying (e.g. methylated
spirits) on your nipples.
scrubbing with rough towels or brushes - gently pat
breasts and nipples dry after showering or bathing.
wish you may pull out your nipples and roll them gently
between thumb and forefinger - should be done firmly but
should not hurt.
expose the breast area to air for short periods.
Relieve Sore Nipples
your baby often - don't put off feeds
yourself comfortable and relax, remembering your
your breasts gently.
warmth to your breasts - warm shower, warm face washer.
some milk to soften the areola, to get the milk flowing
and to lubricate the nipple. For pain relief, try
applying a covered block of ice to the nipple, or ask
your medical adviser about other alternatives.
less sore side first.
baby is properly positioned at and attached to the
breast. (See diagrams below, description of positioning
in Increasing Your Supply Feature and refer to an ABA
different feeding positions.
wish, restrict comfort sucking while nipples are tender.
Gently break suction with clean finger before removing
baby from the breast.
nipples for signs of stress.
few drops of hindmilk and smear on the nipple. Leave
your bra open for a few minutes until nipples are dry.
nipples dry. Change nursing pads frequently. Consider
washable nursing pads if disposable ones are chaffing.
shells or nipple protectors over tender nipples to stop
clothes rubbing and allow air to circulate.
anything on your nipples which is drying or which may
damage nipple skin (e.g. tinct benz co., methylated
spirits, soap, shampoo, harsh towels, toothbrushes,
poorly-fitted bras and plastic-backed nursing pads.
suction breast pumps.
medical adviser if soreness persists.
a Cracked Nipple
suggestions for sore nipples while continuing to feed your
baby particularly with regard to correct positioning and
allowing air to circulate around your nipples.
If it is
too painful to feed, take the baby off the breast
temporarily to rest the nipple and allow healing to
hand (not pump) to keep the milk flowing and to keep up
expressed milk to your baby.
feeding again gradually, with short feeds spaced out
during the day.
medical adviser if healing is slow or you need pain
else fails try a nipple shield. (Use with supervision)
lactation consultant, child health nurse or an ABA
breastfeeding counsellor for further help.
baby frequently from birth, without limiting sucking
bra off completely before beginning to breastfeed.
giving other fluids.
baby for a feed if your breasts become full and
little before feeds if baby has trouble latching and
the breast gently while you are feeding.
necessary, express after feeds.
use of cool washed cabbage leaf compresses.
medical adviser or hospital staff about pain relief if
Relieve Blocked Ducts
much as possible.
the affected breast as empty as possible by feeding
warmth to the affected breast area before a feed.
from the affected breast first, when baby is sucking
but firmly massage the lump toward the nipple during
(and after) feeds.
the breast gently while baby feeds.
feeding positions to help empty the breast.
express if necessary.
packs after a feed may help relieve pain.
your medical adviser if you cannot clear the lump in 12
hours, or sooner if you develop a fever or feel unwell.
all the suggestions for a blocked duct.
your medical adviser as soon as possible.
bed, if you can, and take your baby with you.