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Breastfeeding: What is it?

Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing infants, toddlers and young children with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. This method of feeding offspring has been prominent since the beginning of time.

Mamas use the milk produced by their own breasts or the breasts of another human mother to feed their babies. This can be done through direct breastfeeding or through pumping the milk and then feeding their babies.

At first, colostrum, which is the sticky, yellow, breast milk, is produced at the end of pregnancy. This is recommended by the World Health Organisation as the perfect food for the newborn. It’s not much, it won’t fill up bottles and bottles, but it is the perfect amount for your newborn. Then mother’s milk comes in at around day 3 – 5.

Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process, meaning that the more stimulation and ‘demand’ there is for milk to be produced, the more milk will flow. This is true for both breasts in their own right” if you continually stimulate one breast only that breast will produce a constant flow of milk. This is why it is recommended that you feed or pump from both breasts.

According to the WHO, virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

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How To Use Nipple Shields For Breastfeeding: Medela

Early latch-on problems are not unusual. For most mothers, breastfeeding takes a bit of practice! Most of the time, a little coaching from a skilled helper is all that is needed to get things going.

For difficult or persistent latch-on problems, many breastfeeding experts suggest the temporary use of a nipple shield. Made of thin, soft, silicone that doesn’t interfere with nipple stimulation, the Medela nipple shield is worn during breastfeeding. Holes at the tip allow milk to flow to the baby. A nipple shield may help protect breastfeeding when:

• The baby is premature, ill, or small. A nipple shield may make feeding easier for a small or weak baby. Because suction inside the nipple shield holds the nipple in an extended position, the baby can pause without ‘losing’ the nipple. Milk pools in the tip of the shield, and provides an immediate reward when the baby resumes suckling. Research shows that the milk intake of premature infants increases when a nipple shield is used. As the baby gains weight and matures, the shield becomes unnecessary.

• The mother has flat or inverted nipples. Some new mothers have nipple tissue that is not very stretchable. If it is difficult for the baby to draw in the mother’s nipple, the baby may pull away, cry, or simply fall asleep. The Medela nipple shield provides sensation deep in the mouth that stimulates the baby to keep sucking. As the milk begins to flow, the baby discovers that breastfeeding works! Over time, the mother’s nipples will become more pliable, and the shield is no longer needed to trigger the sucking reflex.

• The baby has had many bottles and now refuses the breast. Because the nipple shield feels similar to a bottle nipple, it can be used to coax a reluctant baby to accept the breast. Try this trick when the baby is not very hungry and the mother’s breasts are full. Drip a little expressed milk onto the top of the shield to moisten it. Drip milk into the corner of the baby’s mouth to reward the baby for trying. If the milk supply is low, an SNS™ taped under the shield can help provide an encouraging milk flow. Some babies need only a few sessions with a shield to return to full breastfeeding. Other will need more practice, or perhaps brief use of the shield at the beginning of each feed. Bottles can be decreased or discontinued as the baby becomes comfortable with nursing.

WHEN USING A NIPPLE SHIELD:

Correct latch is important.

Correct latch
Poor latch
Latch On series

A good latch is especially important when the mother is using a shield. The baby’s jaws must close on the breast, not out on the shaft of the nipple shield. Sucking only on the nipple pinches off the milk flow and fails to stimulate the milk supply. The baby will not get enough milk, and growth may be affected. It helps to have the baby’s latch evaluated by a trained Breastfeeding Specialist.

Cleaning the shield is important.

It is necessary to keep the nipple shield clean. Wash in hot soapy water and rinse in lots of hot water after each use. Boil once daily.

Choosing the correct size shield is important.

Chose the right size shield for the size of the baby’s mouth. If a shield is too big, the baby cannot adequately draw up the mother’s nipple, or may gag on the shield. The Newborn Small size shield is best for most small babies.. Medela makes several types of nipple shields, the Newborn Small, Newborn Regular, and Contact™ Nipple Shields in two sizes.

Protection of the milk supply is important.

Milk supply is controlled by how much milk the baby takes. A small, weak or poorly suckling baby may under-stimulate the milk supply. When using a nipple shield, it is important to pump after nursing to make sure the breasts are well emptied. Pumped milk can be used to supplement the baby. Pumping after feeding is necessary until it is clear that the milk supply is stable and the baby is growing well. We suggest a hospital quality pump such as the rented Symphony® or Lactina® breastpumps.

Nipple shields are devices that are used to help babies who are not yet breastfeeding normally. Medela suggests that mothers using nipple shields seek advice from a lactation consultant or other trained individual, as well as their physicians. Babies should have weight checks frequently to ensure baby’s health and good growth.


Helpful Hints:
Sit the shield on the nipple with the brim turned up like a hat. Then smooth down the edges. This will help the shield stick better. Moistening the edges will also hold it in place. Some mothers have larger nipples than the small shield can accommodate. Try the next largest size. However, observe carefully to see if this size works for the baby. A shield will not solve all problems, and sometimes other equipment may be appropriate.

WEANING OFF YOUR BABY FROM THE NIPPLE SHIELD:

The nipple shield is a tool to help solve a specific latch problems. They are not a substitute for experienced breastfeeding assistance. If you are using a nipple shield, we suggest that you keep in touch with your lactation professional and your physician as you work to breastfeed comfortably and effectively. The goal is to return to full breastfeeding with no need for special equipment. As the baby’s breastfeeding ability improves, remove the shield at various times during each feeding. If the baby seems unable to nurse without the shield, this means the problem is not yet resolved. Just keep practicing. So long as the baby is growing well, the continued use of the shield is not a major problem. If it appears that the baby could manage without the shield and is using it from habit, some mothers try spending a day in bed with the baby. Quiet time with increased skin-to-skin contact and frequent practicing will reassure the baby that he or she doesn’t really need the shield any more. Cutting away the tip of a silicone is not advised. The cut edges may irritate the baby’s mouth.

By Barbara Wilson Clay for Medela 

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Breastfeeding is Picking Up Traction

On any given day you might sit at your laptop, type in breastfeeding, because why not, and you’ll see a whole range of posts dated 2017, 2014, 2012!

However, in 2018 breastfeeding seems to be gaining traction in the UK media. Which is just fabulous!

I have given GAP my standing ovation for their new breastfeeding advert. I have joined in the conversation with the Loose Women Ladies and thanked ITV news for picking up the conversation on breastfeeding, all while creating some unique breastfeeding clothes for my beautiful customers!

I’m happy 😃

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To Breastfeed or not to Breastfeed?

Not every mum has access to information about the importance of breastfeeding. To be frank, the information most readily available to most of us is utter pish-posh. I say this because some doctors say breastfeed, and others say, all too freely, your baby needs cows milk.

Only in a few cases does a baby ‘need’ cows milk. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert but I’ve done my share of research and I have read over and over again that there are a few medical scenarios in which a baby ‘needs’ cows milk, (that’s formula by the way):

– if the mother has HIV/AIDS

– if the mother has had a double mastectomy

– if the mother is seriously ill and/or is on any medication that could be toxic to the baby through the breastmilk

– if the mother is undergoing radiation treatment, which can affect the breastmilk

– if the baby was born before 32 weeks (this is a temporary need, the mother can mix feed and then breastfeed exclusively if she wishes)

– if the baby has Galactosemia, a rare metabolic genetic disorder (in this case all forms of milk are to be avoided)

If none of the above are applicable, then breast is best, any difficulties can be smoothed out with patience and perseverance.

Formula milk does not and cannot replace the benefits of breastmilk. I mean, a baby will be full up instead of hungry, but they are not protected from illnesses and diseases like they would be if they were breastfed.

Seek advice and further information before you decide to move on to formula.

I leave you with this… formula cows milk is an artificial milk created to support families with the problems mentioned above. Formula was designed to be used when it is medically needed.

In you case, is it? Is it medically needed?

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What to Say if Someone Criticizes your Breastfeeding in Public.

There are a number of criticisms that you may hear or have heard (even if just through the grape vine) in regards to breastfeeding in public!

Here are a few responses you may have:

  1. “It’s normal, breasts were created to produce milk, so that the woman can feed her young. I mean, scientifically…”

  2.   “F*** you! Get over it, you p****!”

  3. “Oh, deary was I…, golly, no, I did not meant to offend you! I’ll just pop them away.”

  4. You may have these responses, but I do not recommend them!

For one you need not explain your why to anyone. It is literally none of their business because The Breastfeeding Police do no exist.

Secondly, negativity and aggression met with negativity and aggression won’t end well. And we are all about the feel good factor!

And lastly, nobody likes a push over and if you take this approach too often it’s likely you’ll stop breastfeeding sooner than you planned. Don’t let them win.

The best thing for you and your baby is to continue your breastfeeding practices for as long as possible. The best thing for you to do should you find yourself in a situation criticism or hostility is to remain calm and issue your response assertively. 

Simply say:

“I’m protected by  the 2010 UK Equality Act: a law which bans unfair treatment. If you wish to continue to verbally harass me we can take this further legally.”

Or hand them one of our: STOP, I’m Free to Feed cards! Click here for a free download!

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

You are entitled to feed freely in public in the UK. If you are not in the UK check which laws your are protected by.

 Be Brave, Mama!

Feed Freely!