Every day at Infant Crisis Services, we sit across from new mothers who are at their wits end. Their intention throughout their pregnancy was to breastfeed as long as possible, but just weeks after giving birth they're faced with the high cost of formula because breastfeeding was no longer an option. While we know the amazing health benefits a mother's milk can provide for a baby, we also recognize just how hard breastfeeding can be. That is why Infant Crisis Services is here to assist families in need who cannot afford the high cost of formula each week. But if you can and are willing to breastfeed your child, we encourage and support that decision. This week is World Breastfeeding Week, so we reaching out to one of our Young Professionals Board members, Petra Calindres, who is a maternal-child nutritionist and owner of Happi Lives, a family-focused nutritional support system for infants, children and families. She addresses mothers' number one breastfeeding complaint and offers her top 5 tips to make breastfeeding easier.
Q: What is the number one complication mothers run into while trying to breastfeed?
A: The number one complaint mothers have regarding breastfeeding is the fear of insufficient milk production. In all actuality, most mothers produce far more milk then they need, especially if they follow some basic steps in the hospital (details provided below). Mother's were made to make milk for their infants, and there are tons of benefits for both mother and child. For the infant, those who exclusively breastfeed have an increased IQ; reduction in disease states such as obesity, cancer and diabetes; better cognitive development long term; reduced incidences in ear aches, diarrhea; and much more! Even for the mother, breastfeeding helps reduce their incidence of cancers and helps them return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.
What are the five tips you’d give new mothers to make breastfeeding more successful?
There are many things mothers/parents can do to help make their breastfeeding experience with their new little one successful.
1. Let your hospital team know your intention to breastfeed, and exclusively breastfeed. From the head doctor to the nurse, the whole team needs to be aware of your decision to help support you in every way possible. If you can get your hospital team on board with your vision, and can talk about this intention prior to delivery, the better breastfeeding outcomes for all. Also, if at all possible, deliver at a baby-friendly hospital. This is a designation that hospitals receive if they help in all ways parents succeed in breastfeeding.
2. Do tons of skin-to-skin with your child, especially in the early days. Skin-to-skin is personal contact time with both the mom (or dad) with their new baby, bare chested with just a blanket wrapped over. It's also called kangaroo care. For a good information on skin-to-skin, check out the following link. https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/importance-skin-skin-contact
3. Allow on-demand feeding. Let your child eat any time he or she wants! This will not only garauntee that you have an ample milk supply (note the biggest fear in breastfeeding woman) BUT also will lead to a happy, full and growing baby. It is common for a child within the first 6 months of life to feed anywhere between 8 to 12 times today, sometimes (if they're going through a growth spurt or are just super hungry) up to 15! Don't fret, it's normal. Allow your infant to tell you when he or she is hungry and allow them to eat as long as they want.
4. No artificial nipples. This includes anything that's not a breast, from bottle nipples to pacifiers. The way an infant nurses on a breast is completely opposite than how the suck on a bottle or pacifier. Why confuse little infants any more then they have to be? They're learning everything when they are first born! It is recommended by the AAP to allow the infant to understand how to nurse on the breast well, about one month, before introducing any bottles or pacifiers.
5. Have support. Every Mom, new or old, needs breastfeeding support. This can be found in your husband, your friends, or even local organizations. Groups like La Leche League and WIC provide groups that get together to help woman continue breastfeeding, and feel empowered to do so. Infant Crisis Services can help you get in contact with these groups, or answer any questions you may have on breastfeeding, so never hesitate to ask.