Breastfeeding

I want to breastfeed my baby

Breastfeeding Darius

Breastfeeding is feeding your newborn with milk directly from your breasts and not from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. Most mothers can nourish their newborn infant (or infants in the case of twins) by breastfeeding for the first six months or more, without the supplement of infant formula milk or solid food.

Breastfeeding is encouraged where possible. Human breast milk is usually the best source of nourishment for infants. It helps prevent disease, is inexpensive, is convenient and helps with mother-baby bonding.

What can be done?

Put your baby to your breast adjacent to your breast as soon as possible after birth. Your baby will soon be finding your nipple and then you can help your baby attach. The midwife will help you do this. This will not though be possible while in the operating theatre if you have had a Caesarean section. If you have had a Caesarean section the midwife will help you do this as soon as you are in your postnatal room or while in Recovery ward (if a “baby friendly” Caesarean section) at the San Hospital. As well as midwife support, there are expert lactation consultants in both hospitals available to assist you. When you go home help is only a phone call to the hospital away!

Sometimes nipple shields are needed if you have flat nipples or develop sensitive cracked nipples.

Nipple ShieldOn occasions a woman has challenges with breastfeeding because of the shape of her nipples, the shape of the baby’s mouth, poor milk production inspite of stimulants, etc. Don’t worry! Your baby will do ok if artificial milk is used. In many countries it is considered not fashionable to breast feed, and the babies still thrive. The most important consideration is that your baby gets enough nutrition.

If you have had breast surgery such as breast implants you can usually still breast feed as the implants are usually places behind the breast tissue. Breast reduction surgery on the other hand often damages the breast ducts and so women who have has breast reduction surgery usually can’t breast feed.

The most common breast feeding challenges and what can be done to help are covered in Breastfeeding Problems.

Posted by Dr Gary Sykes on -

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