Breastfeeding is a milestone many mothers look forward to. They are excited to offer sustenance for their babies containing all the vitamins and nutrients they’ll need, especially since breastmilk is packed with disease-fighting substances that’ll protect bubba from illness.
Yet, inexperienced new mums might find getting the right latch challenging. Besides causing feeding problems for bubba, a shallow latch will damage skin damage around the nipple and cause sore nipples.
Explains Fonnie Lo, assistant director (clinical) and lactation consultant at Thomson Medical, “If simple sore nipples are not managed effectively, it can lead to breast infection like mastitis and even, in severe cases, breast abscess.” Other times, issues like a tongue-tie or a cleft lip or palate can make it difficult for bubba to suckle.
Expressing milk means that your baby can carry on enjoying your “liquid gold” while someone else is caring for her.
Pumping and storing your expressed breastmilk (EBM) for a cup-, syringe, finger-feed or a nursing supplementary system is a good option if a direct latch is proving too challenging. If you express your milk, your baby can still have the benefits of breastmilk if they are not able to nurse.
There may be times when you need to be away from your baby, because you have returned to work or even if it’s just a few hours. Expressing milk means that your baby can carry on enjoying your “liquid gold” while someone else is caring for her.
Lo, who notes that offering EBM lets you track how much your kewpie is consuming, shares how much milk you'll need to pump or feed your baby…
Infographic: Rachel Lim
How do I know if baby’s getting enough milk?
Lo: If you are breastfeeding your child directly, your baby will stop suckling when he’s full. If your baby were to fall asleep while feeding halfway, wake the baby up by burping and gently stretching his arms or legs. This always works to get the baby back to suckling. Exclusively breastfed babies will normally show signs that they are growing well and have an adequate levels of pee and poo. In addition, the colour and consistency of a baby’s poo will show if the baby is fed enough. After delivery, babies will normally gain 20 to 30g per day of body weight during the initial 10 days and they also tend to settle well after a good feed and are less fussy.
Is it possible to overfeed my baby?
Lo: By nature baby will indicate or stop feeding because your breast milk has leptin — a hormone that regulates appetite, food intake and energy metabolism. Leptin is produced mainly by the adipose (fatty) tissue, which varies between individuals.
“As a last resort you can take supplements that include milk enhancing herbs like fenugreek or medication like motilium.”
How can I increase my milk supply?
Lo: Pumping immediately after direct deep latch for 15 minutes on stimulation mode may help. You should also monitor and ensure you position baby’s mouth to your breast accurately during feeding to ensure baby is able to get the milk effectively and adequately. You should listen out for swallowing sounds when baby is suckling. Otherwise, gently massaging your breasts before latching may also be effective.
There are also lifestyle choices to consider. Make sure you are relaxed or well-rested and avoid doing too much. Stick to a balanced diet with an adequate fluid intake. Also, ensure that you avoid complications like breast engorgement or infections like mastitis and breast abscesses. As a last resort, you can take supplements that include milk-enhancing herbs like fenugreek or medication like motilium.
Main photo: iStock
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