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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BREASTFEEDING

What is a Lactation Consultant?

A Lactation Consultant is a specialist in breastfeeding management. Look for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). If you are having any serious concerns or unable to continue breastfeeding, we strongly encourage you to contact a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counsellor (not just a health professional) for support as soon as possible

Why should I breastfeed my baby?

Breast milk is a designer mixture correctly made by you to meet the needs of your new and rapidly developing baby. Your milk changes throughout a feed, from one feed to the next, from day to day and throughout the weeks, months and the period of lactation, just as nature intended it to do. Breastfeeding provides many positive benefits for both mother and baby. It is the normal way to feed your baby and something only you can do. You breastfeed your baby for optimal health and intelligence.

How will I know that my baby is receiving enough breast milk from me?

There are many ways that you will know that your baby is receiving enough milk:
1. Your baby will be healthy with bright eyes and clear skin
2. Will be feeding well, mostly satisfied and settled between feeds
3. Will have 6-8 very wet nappies with clear urine in 24hrs
4. Will pass bowel actions appropriate to the age

Does my baby require extra water in hot weather?

No. Breast milk is 90% water and 10% solids and is all that your baby requires for approximately the first 6 months of life, regardless of the weather.

Are modern and organic formulas as good as breast milk?

No since there are hundreds of components that are missing from the commercial formulas regardless of which foreign substance base (cow, goat or soy) they are derived from. Some brands are better than others. Seek naturopathic advice on this topic to choose the right one for your baby should this be necessary. Choose organic formula in BPA FREE containers as a preference.

If I am taking medication should I stop breastfeeding?

No, with a few exceptions most medications are safe enough to combine with breastfeeding. A small amount of most medications go through the breast milk. If the medication is contraindicated usually a safe alternative can be found.

If my breasts don’t feel full, do I still have milk?

Yes, when your milk supply is established your breasts will lose the initial fullness. Your breasts become more efficient at making milk and it is known that your breasts make milk more quickly when your breasts are softer. Most of your milk is made during the time you are feeding.

Can women with flat or inverted nipples breastfeed?

Yes, babies breastfeed not nipple feed! You may need some extra help and advice in the early days but most cases will be successful.

Should I eat and drink more when I am breastfeeding?

Eating more simply because you are breastfeeding is not necassary. A well-balanced diet and regular consumption of water is all that is necessary in most cases. Effective hydration can be measured by the colour of your urine, in most cases, if your urine is clear you are correctly hydrated.

Can most women breastfeed?

Yes, 96% of women can breastfeed successfully and almost all will produce some milk. Less than 2% are unable to produce any milk at all and there is usually a medical reason for this.

I have every intention of breastfeeding but I like the sound of the organic formula and would like to know if while breastfeeding it is possible to formula feed as well?

Until recently the answer to combination feeding would have been yes it is a suitable option but current research indicates it is thought to be much better to breastfeed exclusively. If introducing a bottle, do it through expressing your milk and give your baby breast milk only for at least the first six months. This is because breast milk is specific for the human baby and your milk is genetically specific for YOUR BABY.

Did you know that your breast milk changes during a feed, during the day, weeks, months and throughout your entire lactation to meet the needs of you growing infant? You can find the reasons for exclusively breastfeeding as well as breast care, expressing and breastfeeding through the many stages, on the Australian Breastfeeding Association website at www.breastfeeding.asn.au.

As a lactation consultant I am unable to recommend any formula specifically as I have not seen any of the research. If using artificial baby milk as a substitute the choice is a personal decision. Perhaps you could review the reasons that you feel the need to use formula such as returning to work or your baby’s father’s involvement since in many of these instances you may still be able to breastfeed your baby. The introduction of artificial baby milk should be delayed as long as possible and if you breastfeed your baby for a year, formula is not necessary. Speak to an ABA counsellor or see a lactation consultant to discuss your concerns and needs further.

Jeannie Spears (IBCLC) assisted us at Nature’s Child for many years in our store volunteering her time every Wednesday to be there for many local women free of charge. She is also a registered nurse/midwife with 25 years experience working with mothers and babies both in Australia and Papua New Guinea. We miss you Jeannie! She has a business in the northern rivers area of NSW called Jay-Elle Lactation and does home or hospital visits. Often mothers only need reassurance that they are doing well and remember there is no such thing as ‘only one right way’ for parenting. We hope the above information provided by Jeannie is helpful.

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