When a baby is born, every new mother faces the dilemma: to breastfeed or not to breastfeed their little bundle of joy. Some mothers opt for the latter due to personal reasons and medical conditions.
Personal reasons could mean that by not breastfeeding their newborns, new mothers can be less choosy in their dietary intakes. New mothers may want to skip the “pantang” period and quickly resume normal eating and drinking habits right after birth.
Or they may choose not to breastfeed because of work commitments, lack of support or maybe the fear of facing problems linked to breastfeeding. Questions like engorgement, plugged ducts, thrush and many more may plague new mothers.
Fret not as here are some guidelines on how to overcome the worries:
For first-time mothers, it would be appalling and scary to have the breasts too full, sore and swollen. This happens because of the extra volume of blood and lymph fluids in the breast tissue.
To relief the pain, try hand-expressing some milk. Frequent breastfeeding will also eventually ease off the engorgement. Make sure that the baby feeds well on a breast for about 15-20 minutes and “empty” it before offering the other one.
2. Plugged ducts
This is a common syndrome among new mothers when they produce milk “over abundantly”. The breasts will feel swollen, harden and lumpy. Those painful lumps can stretch till the armpit areas. To overcome this discomfort, take a warm shower and gently massage the breasts whilst trying to unclog the milk ducts. Choose the right nursing bra that has no underwire and nurse the baby often to reduce great amount of discomfort.
This is a yeast infection in a baby’s mouth and can be passed on to the mother’s breasts. The infection will cause the nipples to be itchy, sore and even cracked. When this happens, an antifungal medication will be prescribed for both the new mothers and their babies to avoid prolonged infection.
4. Low milk supply
How do mothers know if their babies are getting enough milk? If the babies are gaining weight steadily and have soiled diapers of about six to seven times per day, then they are indicators that the mothers have enough milk. In some cultures, certain foods are believed to help increase the milk production. Dairy products like cheese, lentils, cumin, water, etc. are thought to be boosters. Again, not forgetting, frequent breastfeeding also helps in stimulating the production of breastmilk.
5. Sick nursing mothers
Mothers who are down with fever and cold should continue to breastfeed their babies. In fact, the breastmilk has antibodies that will be passed on to the babies, thus helping to strengthen the babies’ immune system. However, when a nursing mother is sick, it’s not the maladie that is a hindrance but it’s the medicines that she takes to soothe her pain that she should be concerned of as some medicines are dangerous for her baby.
As all said above, nothing should stop new mothers from breastfeeding their newborns. In fact, they are advised to breastfeed their babies exclusively at least the first six months of life of the little ones because of the many benefits that breastfeeding has to offer. Here are some of the reasons why in terms of:
The breastmilk is designed to feed, nourish and protect the baby. It contains antibodies, vitamins and nutrients to prevent early childhood infections and illness. Reports have also shown that breastfed babies resist diseases like cancer and diabetes better later on in his or her life. Since breastfed babies have better immune system, it is natural that they don’t fall ill often.This is a good news for working mothers, as it means lesser days taken off for sick leave to care for the child.
For breastfeeding moms, research has proven that breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop osteoporosis and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
Although breastfeeding is not a total guarantee of a form of contraception, studies have shown that it is a form of contraception and it is 98% effective.
Also, breastfeeding has always been connected to weight lost. This is because of the energy that mothers give to their babies via calories when they breastfeed. Due to this, mothers are not storing as many calories for themselves. So, breastfeeding is a natural remedy to lose weight and get in shape quickly.
Breastfeeding is cheap and practical.
In Singapore, an average yearly milk expense per child varies from $500-$800. When a mother chooses to breastfeed her child, not only will she save up on formula milk but also on the bottles and the accessories. So, that’s a load off the shoulder.
Most babies get up at night. This is especially frequent among newborns. With breastfeeding, it is very convenient to feed the babies especially when mothers choose to co-sleep with their babies. There’s no hassle of leaving the bedroom to prepare the bottle in the wee hours.
What’s more, breastfeeding is practical. “The milk” is always “there”. This is especially true when mothers are outside. We don’t have to worry about preparing the bottle in public or wasting away a bottle of pre-prepared milk that’s gone sour, etc. Each time when our babies are crying for milk, it’s readily ready with the right temperature.
In addition to this, breastfeeding moms always end up travelling light because we don’t have any bottles, milk supplies and the likes to think of. So, packing and travelling are made simpler.
Bottle-fed babies are also prone to allergies. Some may have reactions to formula milk. New moms might have to do test-and-trial methods on the different types of formula brands before finding the most suitable one for the babies. On the other hand, breastfeeding mothers and their babies don’t have to go through this hassle as majority of babies do not reject their mothers’ milk.
Research has found that babies who are breastfed are closer to their mothers and have a special bonding with them.
In an American study, scientists have found that “the breastfeeding mother has a stronger sense of confidence and connection with her baby while nursing him or her as compared to carrying the foetus in her womb”.
While in a newspaper article published by The Daily Mail in August 2014, it was reported that researchers warned that “new mothers who choose not to breastfeed are at double the risk of suffering depression“.
The article summed up by highlighting a poignant view by saying that the researchers found that “breastfeeding mothers are less depressed because of the beneficial effects of certain hormones released during the process, which are known to have anti-depressant action”.
We support your breastfeeding journey! Breastfeed your baby with love!
By Noreen Yek Boussetta
This article is part of Breastfeeding with Love campaign, initiated by The New Age Parents and New Age Pregnancy.
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