Lactation

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Why Breast Milk is the Best Milk:

 

There are many reasons why breast milk is the best milk, including the following:

 

Nutrients

Human survival depends more on brain power than on strong muscles, rapid growth (rapid maturity) or body size, so your milk is rich in the nutrients that best promote brain growth and nervous system development. Research has found that breastfed babies perform better on different kinds of intelligence tests as they grow older. They also develop better eye function. This is due mostly to certain types of fat (fatty acid chains) in human milk that are not available in artificial formulas. The sugar (carbohydrate) and protein in breast milk are also designed to be used easily and more completely by the human baby. Your milk is the perfect first food to help your baby achieve every aspect of ideal growth and development.

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Anti-infective properties

Only human milk is alive with many different kinds of disease-fighting factors that help prevent mild to severe infections. Babies who are fully or almost-fully breastfed, or breast milk-fed babies, have significantly fewer gastrointestinal, respiratory, ear and urinary infections. Antibodies in human milk directly protect against infection. Other anti-infective factors create an environment that is friendly to "good" bacteria (referred to as "normal flora") and unfriendly to "bad" bacteria, viruses or parasites. Human milk also appears to have properties that help a baby's immune system work best. If your baby does become ill when breastfeeding and receiving your milk, the infection is likely to be less severe.

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Easily digested

Since nature designed human milk for human babies, your milk is the most easily digested food your baby can receive. A nutritious, yet easily digested first food is important for a baby's immature digestive tract. Your baby uses less energy, yet breaks your milk down more completely into its basic ingredients, so the nutrients, anti-infective factors and all the other ingredients in your milk are more available to fuel your baby's body functions and to promote your baby's growth and development.

Bio-availability

Bio-availability is a fancy way of referring to how well the body can use the nutrients in a food. The high bio-availability of nutrients in human milk means your baby gets more benefits from the nutrients it contains, even for nutrients that appear in lower levels in breast milk when compared to artificial formulas, because your baby's body can absorb and use them most effectively. It also means your baby saves the energy that would be needed to eliminate any nutrients he/she had difficulty digesting or using.

Suitability

Your milk is best suited to, and is more gentle on, your baby's body systems. The suitability of your milk plays a role in your milk's digestibility, and it allows your baby's body to function most efficiently while spending a lot less energy on body functions. Suitability is also thought to be one reason that breastfed babies are less likely to develop allergic-related skin conditions and asthma. The digestibility, bio-availability and suitability of your milk means that your baby's body is able to work less, yet receive more, nourishment.

How Milk is Made

Many mothers find they can appreciate their babies' breastfeeding patterns or the need for frequent feedings when they understand how breast milk is produced. Initially, hormones play a greater role. After the first one or two weeks postpartum (after the baby is born), milk removal has a greater effect on the amount of milk produced. With the expulsion of the placenta after a baby's birth, a drop in the hormones that maintained the pregnancy soon occurs and allows the hormone prolactin to begin to work. Prolactin "tells" the breasts it is time to begin producing large amounts of milk. A mother feels the result of prolactin when her milk "comes in" at around three to five days postpartum. Increased milk production usually occurs at this time even if a baby has not been breastfeeding well or often. However, frequent breastfeeding sometimes speeds up the process of establishing increased milk production. Occasionally, a mother experiences a delay in the production of large amounts of milk.

How Can I Know if My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?

 

This may be the most asked question we hear! It is understandable; sincebreasts are neither see-through nor marked off in ounces.

 Thank goodness there are other signs that indicate baby is getting enough milk.

 

Typically during the first few days, while the baby is receiving mother's thick, immunity-boosting colostrum, he will wet only one or two diapers per day.

 

Once mother's milk comes in, usually on the third or fourth day, the baby should begin to have 6-8 wet cloth diapers (5-6 wet disposable diapers) per day. (An easy way to feel the weight of a wet disposable diaper is to pour 2-4 tablespoons of water in a dry diaper.)

In addition, most young babies will have at least two to five bowel movements every 24 hours for the first several months, although some babies will switch to less frequent but large bowel movements at about six weeks. A baby that is sleeping rather than feeding every 2-3 hours or is generally lethargic may need to be assessed by a health care provider to make sure that he is adequately hydrated.

These are additional important signs that indicate your baby is receiving enough milk:

·The baby nurses frequently, averaging at least 8-12 feedings per 24-hour period.

 

·The baby is allowed to determine the length of the feeding, which may be 10 to 20 minutes per breast or longer.

 

·Baby's swallowing sounds are audible as he is breastfeeding.

 

·The baby should gain at least 4-7 ounces per week after the fourth day of life.

 

·The baby will be alert and active, appear healthy, have good color, firm skin, and will be growing in length and head circumference.

The physical act of breastfeeding is more than the quantity of milk that is supplied, as you will find once you hold your baby in your arms. Breastfeeding is warmth, nutrition, and mother's love all rolled into one. Understanding and appreciating the signs of knowing when your baby is getting enough to eat is the one of the most important things a new mother can learn. If you have any concerns regarding your baby, they should be addressed with your health care practitioner / Lactation consultant

Precautions for Breastfeeding moms

 

·Require an extra 500 calories (2,000 to 2,200 calories per day) to produce milk

·Lactation increases the need for energy, protein, calcium, vitamins A, C, E and zinc

·Drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst. Urine should be light yellow in color after you no longer have vaginal bleeding (5-7 days).

·Continue taking prenatal vitamins

·There is no evidence that gassy and spicy foods or chocolate (in moderation) causes problems in breast-fed infants. If your baby becomes colicky, think back 12-24 hours to what foods may have been different in your diet and eliminate them for a few weeks.

· If infant has allergies , traces of wheat, cow’s milk, eggs, fish or citrus eaten by the mother can be found in breast milk and could cause a reaction.

·Discourage alcohol  intake, which can interfere with “let down.” Infants have been found to consume less milk after mother drinks alcohol.

·Smoking  is discouraged because nicotine interferes with “let down” and results in low milk supply. Infants who have mothers that smoke may gain less weight.

·Caffeine  intake should be moderate because infants may become restless or fussy. An average of 1-2 cups of coffee, tea or soda a day.

·Eat a balanced breakfast

·Have snacks in between meals to avoid hunger and fatigue.

·Avoid dieting

. A one-to-two pound weight loss is expected per month when lactating. All excess weight is usually off in six months.

·Dieting or decreasing protein intake by the mother may decrease milk volume production.

 

Recognize Hunger Cues

Eliminate the stress of trying to feed a fussy baby by watching for and responding to your baby's early hunger cues. "Crying is a late sign of hunger," Signs your baby is ready to feed?  She/ He will wake up, smack her/his lips, or try to suck on her/his hands, She/he

might also search for your nipple.

Make Breastfeeding Easy

Knowing beforehand what to expect during the first few weeks after childbirth can help make breastfeeding easier for you. Below is a detailed timeline about the first 10 days postpartum. If you have any questions or if you are having any difficulties, please call for clarifications

 Immediately After Birth

· Most babies will nurse better at this time than they may for the next couple of days.

·Frequent effective feeding establishes milk supply.

·Have your RN or lactation consultant review proper latch techniques while in the hospital.

One to Four Days

.Baby may rather sleep than eat. Frequent removal of colostrum from your breasts will help establish a good milk supply. Pumping or hand expression of colostrum is a good idea if you are not seeing obvious signs of effective feeding.

·If baby is not waking on his own at least every three hours, you must wake him so he is feeding effectively at least eight times in 24 hours.

·If you do not recognize effective feeding, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant.

·Your baby is getting plenty of your milk if he is meeting the goals on the feeding record given to you at the hospital.

·Schedule your infant’s first pediatrician appointment.

Three to Five Days

·You may feel engorged (tender, full) as you begin producing more milk. The most important thing is to keep the breast empty by effective feeding or pumping.

·Engorged breasts may make it difficult for baby to latch on. Relieve engorgement by alternating hot and cold packs and emptying the breasts frequently.

·Your growing milk supply will appeal to baby’s desire for instant gratification and you should begin to hear his suck and swallow. Recognize this as a sign of effective feeding.

·Some nipple soreness can be present at this time but should be resolved with normal comfort measures such as lanolin cream or hydrogel dressing, by days seven through 10.

Six to 10 Days

·Any nipple soreness should be resolving/resolved.

·Baby should appear satisfied after feedings and your breasts may feel softer after feedings. Your breasts may leak in between feedings; this will probably subside after a few weeks.

·Baby should have six to eight wet diapers and three to four yellow stools per day for the first two months of life.

·Breastfeed eight to 10 times per 24-hour period, but baby may begin to have one longer interval (up to five hours) between feedings. By the end of the second week, most babies will have regained their birth weight.

 

Galactagogues

 

Lactation supplements that can boost your breast milk supply

One of the key reasons women cease breastfeeding is low supply, but did you know there are ways of boosting your milk?

Galactagogues are foods, herbs or medications that can help to increase breast milk supply.

 

Galactagogues work best for women with low prolactin levels, and should be used with caution – therapeutic levels of them, including herbal remedies, can affect other areas of your health and wellbeing, so should only be used in consultation with your Doctor / Lactation Consultant

As well as taking lactation supplements, you’ll need to work on boosting supply by giving

regular feeds to promote milk production, and consuming a healthy diet with plenty of

water to drink.

What is an IBCLC Lactation Consultant?

There are confusing array of types of breastfeeding help around.  How are sleep-deprived new parents supposed to tell them apart? 


An IBCLC is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

 
So what does an IBCLC Lactation Consultant offer?  An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the professional level of qualification in breastfeeding assistance.  Lactation Consultants can come from a health professional background. Only "IBCLC" Lactation Consultants are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, through a rigorous examination process after several years of clinical experience helping breastfeeding mothers and babies and further advanced study, with a code of ethics, a professional scope of practice ensuring that all IBCLCs provide safe, competent and evidence-based care, and with continued education requirements for regular recertification.

The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential is the highest credential in the field of lactation.  An IBCLC is a healthcare professional trained to provide clinical expertise in the management of lactation from pregnancy through weaning

Look for the "IBCLC" certification to be sure that your professional breastfeeding support has qualified through this rigorous programme and exam.  You can Use the search feature below to verify if an individual is certified by IBLCE.

https://iblce.org/public-registry/