As a first-time breastfeeding parent, you may have a lot of uncertainties. Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin, a Senior Lactation Consultant from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, shares some tips on the commonly asked questions that parents like yourself need to know while preparing for a smooth breastfeeding journey.
1. What is exclusive breastfeeding?
It is when a baby is fully breastfed from birth and requires no other water or formula and food supplement for the first six months.
2. How long should my baby be exclusively breastfed?
It is recommended to breastfeed your baby exclusively for a minimum of six months.
3. Why is exclusive breastfeeding recommended for the first six months?
Breastmilk gives your baby all the nutrients and water he or she needs for mental and physical development in the first 6 months of life and beyond. WHO and HPB recommend continuing breast feeding up to 2 years for better protection. Babies who are breastfed have a decreased chance of suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting, chest infections, ear infections and constipation.
4. What are the longer term benefits of breastfeeding?
Long term benefit would include, child being less fussy about new foods, reduce chances of eczema, developing obesity and diabetes in the later part of their lives.
5. How much and how often do I need to breastfeed?
You must be physically and mentally prepared to feed your baby frequently of about 8-10 feeds a day
6. How long should a feeding take?
Once the supply of breast milk is established and the milk flow is not blocked, most of the feeding should complete within 15-20 minutes.
If it takes more than half an hour, the baby probably has slow or weak
sucking, or simply just enjoys sucking for comfort.
7. Is breastfeeding the best option for the mother? Why?
There are short term and long term benefits. Research has shown that it lowers the risk of the mother getting breast, ovarian and womb cancer plus osteoporosis. It naturally uses up 500 extra calories a day for the mother. Therefore, those who breastfeed often find it easier to lose their weight post-delivery.
The baby is also likely to be healthier, and the chances of seeing the doctor for treatment may be reduced. Parents may better utilise their childcare leave for quality and bonding time with their baby, rather than spending it nursing their baby back to health.
8. How does breastfeeding benefit the mother?
Answer similar to question 7.
9. Will I make enough milk to breastfeed?
Most mothers would have a sufficient supply of breast milk. Colostrum is already present during pregnancy, and breast milk sets in early if the mother stimulates the breasts earlier and frequently. Demand feeding and emptying each breast during each feeding helps to maintain the milk supply.
10. What are the common challenges with breastfeeding?
Lack of confidence and confusion about breastfeeding. This is especially when there is no support from the partner, family and colleagues.
11. What should I do to prepare myself for breastfeeding?
Do have your intention to breastfeed known to your family, colleagues, obstetrician and paediatrician. The encouragement and support from them would make the process easier and helps in the long term.
12. What food do I need to eat while I am breastfeeding?
Fluids are the most important, and do consume at least 2 litres per day. It can be drinks, soups or water. Eat a variety of healthy foods which include good sources of protein and carbohydrates. Do also include whole grains, fruits and green leafy vegetables for sources of vitamins and minerals. Avoid excessive intake of coffee, tea and alcohol.
More Frequently-Asked-Questions About Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding Q&A: How Can Pregnant Mums Prepare For Their Breastfeeding Journey?
By Ms. Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin
Senior Lactation Consultant
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
This article is part of Breastfeeding with Love campaign, initiated by The New Age Parents and New Age Pregnancy.
Join the Breastfeeding with Love Facebook Group to find out more and be part of our breastfeeding online community!
Click on the logos to find out more about our supporting partners.