From the time a woman gets to know that she is going to be a mother, breastfeeding her baby is one of the most important things she looks forward to. Yet, when the moment finally arrives, she may have problems nursing her baby.
Why does this happen?
Lack of awareness about latching techniques and proper breastfeeding positions are probably few of the reasons. With the World Breastfeeding Week about to kick off from 1st Aug until 7th Aug, this is probably the right time to address breastfeeding concerns that mothers usually have. Therefore, we at MomJunction, reached out to our expert OB/GYN, Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal, MD (Mumbai) FRCOG (London) DNBE DGO who has been practicing gynecology for the last 29 years, to answer some frequently asked questions about breastfeeding.
We have listed the questions we often receive, followed by the expert’s answers –
Is It Possible For Every Pregnant Woman To Breastfeed?
According to Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal, by and large it is possible for every pregnant woman to breastfeed. Women who have HIV are advised to avoid breastfeeding if safe alternatives are available. Pregnant women can continue to breastfeed their toddlers if required.
Why Do Some Women Give Up Breastfeeding After A While?
Breastfeeding is very tiring and time-consuming. That is one of the main reasons why some women give it up early. If the mother is a working woman and needs to resume her job she usually stops breastfeeding after 6 months.
The other reasons are –
- If the mother has breast diseases such as cancer or has HIV.
- If the mother is on medication that is harmful to the baby, eg. Chemotherapy.
- Baby has galactose intolerance.
How Can I Improve The Supply Of Breast Milk From The Very First Week?
Exclusive breastfeeding helps the flow of milk. Also, try to avoid bottles and pacifiers. Offer both breasts, one after the other to the baby. Empty one completely before the switch. Lastly, consume plenty of water and green leafy vegetables.
What Are Inverted Nipples? Do They Affect The Ability To Breastfeed?
Inverted nipples are those that point inwards into the breast. They are normal. Sometimes they may pose a challenge in the initial phases of breastfeeding, but as latching-on happens, it is no longer a problem.
How To Treat Engorged Nipples/Breasts To Make Breastfeeding Easier?
To make breastfeeding easier, encourage correct positioning of mother and baby. Gently massage the breasts in all quadrants. Hot fomentation also helps in breastfeeding. Most mothers have started using breast pumps as they are very useful to express milk.
How Frequently Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
Breastfeeding should be on-demand. Usually, every mother and baby will make a pattern of every 2 to 3 hours and 15 to 20 minutes latching on each breast. Breast milk is enough if the baby is satisfied after every feed and putting on weight as expected.
My Newborn Baby Is Not Latching On Properly. What Should I Do?
Following tips can help:
- First get the position right – back straight, legs supported and bring the baby to the breast.
- The nose of the baby should face the nipple. Baby’s tummy should touch the mother’s tummy.
- The head of the baby should be tilted backward.
- Baby should be awake.
- Feed the baby on demand.
- It is a good idea to seek the help of a lactation consultant if required.
Does Use Of Breast Pump Reduce The Supply Of Breastmilk?
Not necessarily if the baby continues to suck at regular intervals. If the baby gets top feed and stops sucking then the milk may start dwindling.
Are Nipple Shields Safe For Sore Nipples?
Yes, they are absolutely safe.
We hope that these answers by Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal have given you more insight into breastfeeding and where you could be going wrong. This breastfeeding week let us celebrate motherhood and the joy of breastfeeding a baby. If you have any more questions regarding breastfeeding, share them in the comments below.
Here’s wishing all new moms a comfortable and healthy breastfeeding journey.
Happy World Breastfeeding Day ladies!