7 things to know about breastfeeding

7 things to know about breastfeeding
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While breastfeeding is natural, it is not innate – which is why it raises so many questions for parents. Is it difficult to implement? or painful? will I do it all wrong…? Future mums often experience these fears, even before they give birth. Whether you want to breastfeed or whether you’re still hesitant, here are our tips to guide you in your choice and help you live this unique experience peacefully.

1) Breastfeeding is a personal choice

Although the question of breast or bottle obviously didn’t exist for millennia, you have a choice. Whether or not to breastfeed will be one of your very first decisions as a young mother. Maybe you’ve long since made up your mind to breastfeed, or maybe you’re still not sure and need to understand exactly what it means to breastfeed. Either way, what’s important for you and your baby is that you feel good about your thought process and decision. This is a deeply personal choice between you and your partner, and it should be respected.

Most new mothers experience breastfeeding as a natural progression of pregnancy.  Australian national infant feeding statistics show that approximately 96% of women initiate exclusive breastfeeding and this decreases to (approx) 15-25% by 6 months of age. Breastfeeding provides babies with the best start in life and is a key contributor to infant health.

With a few rare exceptions, all women can breastfeed their babies. Whether you’re already convinced or not sure yet, you should know that although nursing can create a few constraints, it is a source or real benefit for both you and your newborn when done right and experienced positively. Don’t hesitate to ask your midwife or lactation consultant for input on your decision.

2) Breastfeeding is full of benefits for you and your baby

Your breast milk is specifically tailored to your baby's physiological needs: its composition changes as your little one grows and even throughout the day's feedings. High in macronutrients (lipids, proteins, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (minerals and vitamins), it contains many antibodies that can help your baby to develop his own immune system. The WHO (World Health Organization) and Australia's infant guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age when solid foods are introduced.  Even for shorter periods, however, breastfeeding is still recommended, because the infant formulas sold in stores don’t share all the characteristics of breastmilk.

On top of this biological truth, another obvious advantage is the unique bond that develops between mother and child during these tender body-to-body feedings. This fabulous one-to-one relationship also offers a realm of benefits both for mother and baby...

Breastfeeding benefits for the mother are many-fold. Emotionally, first. When you’re breastfeeding, with your baby close to you, it gives you a real feeling of well-being. Oxytocin, also named "the happiness hormone” is secreted when baby feeds on the breast and promotes the mother's attachment to her child. From a health perspective, the contractions caused by breastfeeding also help to put your uterus back into place. Exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding is also said to promote the loss of weight that was gained during pregnancy.

3) Your breastmilk production will be sufficient

Lactation mainly depends on your baby's demand because it is sucking that triggers the secretion of the two main lactation hormones, prolactin and oxytocin. Your breasts have been preparing to give milk since the start of your pregnancy, so don't worry – you’ll have enough milk. And the more he breastfeeds, the more milk you’ll have. It’s the natural outcome of supply and demand!

breastfeeding article

4) Baby sets the breastfeeding pace

During the first few weeks, breastfeed your baby whenever he’s awake, without waiting for him to cry. Watch for signs showing that he wants to breastfeed: if he turns his head, lifts it, opens his mouth, sticks out his tongue or tries to suck things around him, this means he’s ready!

Your baby will also decide how often and for how long the sessions will last. 10 minutes or ¾ an hour: give him this freedom without imposing an interval between you. And if your baby is full term and healthy, there's no need to wake him up to breastfeed, even if he's asleep for 6 hours or more!

5) Good habits ensure peace of mind for daily breastfeeding

Once you’re back home, trust yourself! You’ll gradually find your feet to continue the breastfeeding adventure peacefully. Make sure you’re comfortable during the feedings to avoid any back pain. If possible, choose calm surroundings, either lie on your side with your baby facing you, or sit with your back well supported by cushions and your baby lying in the crook of your arm, or even better, on a breastfeeding cushion. The more you pay attention to your well-being, the more wonderful this time with your little one will be.

Pay attention to the position of your baby during feedings. There are many breastfeeding positions, what’s matters is to find the one that works best for you. If your baby doesn't fall asleep after a feed, stand him up against your shoulder and gently pat his back - he may need to burp! If he falls asleep while feeding, you can put him back to bed without waking him up. Also take care of yourself after each feeding. Apply a specific cream on your nipples, like our ORGANIC Breastfeeding Balm to effectively protect this particularly fine and sensitive skin area and reduce the risk of cracks.

6) Breastfeeding can be painful, but luckily there are solutions!

Discomfort can occur with breastfeeding, especially during the first few weeks, while lactation sets in.

Cracks and chapping are then likely to appear and can range from a simple irritated nipple to a bleeding crack, which sometimes makes breastfeeding very painful... To avoid these inconveniences, you need to check that your baby is in a correct position during feedings. If you anyway end up suffering from cracks, air your breasts in the open as much as possible and apply a specific breastfeeding repair balm on your nipples, regularly.

Another common breastfeeding complication is engorgement, which results in painful hardening of the breasts. This often occurs in the first few days after breastfeeding. The most effective solution is to breastfeed your baby as regularly as possible, and even to use a breast pump if needed, to drain your breasts as much as possible. The same treatment is given for mastitis. This inflammation of the mammary gland, caused by blocked milk ducts, can trigger symptoms similar to those of the flu. If mastitis persists or worsens after 48 hours, try to see your doctor.

7) The co-parent also has a role to play in breastfeeding

Co-parents should be your first source of support. Your partner should agree with your decision to breastfeed and be convinced of the benefits of breastfeeding to best support you in this great adventure. His Their unwavering presence and support will be invaluable in giving you confidence and in reassuring you. In return, it is essential to give let them into the “baby space” and give them a role, particularly by involving them in daily activities with baby. Changing, bathing and cuddling are all intimate moments that your partner will enjoy with your child from the very first weeks.

For you and for your baby, it is important that you feel calm and comfortable with your decision to breastfeed. Many benefits stem from breastfeeding, both in terms of health and well-being. To put the odds on your side, take advantage of your pregnancy to prepare yourself as much as possible to the idea of breastfeeding, by gathering information and seeking support from your midwife or a lactation consultant.