World Breastfeeding Week, running from the 1st – 7th of August 2017, is an annual celebration recognising the benefits of breastfeeding. In honour of its 25th anniversary we thought it appropriate to investigate common problems mothers encounter breastfeeding.
While breastfeeding is considered a natural way of feeding, it’s very common for women to face challenges during their breastfeeding journey. These challenges can be both physically and emotionally draining.
It’s important to identify these challenges and equip women with knowledge and professional support to ease the process for both mother and baby.
Is my baby getting enough milk?
Worrying that your baby is not receiving enough milk is a common concern for new mothers. Luckily there are a number of easy ways to know whether your baby is receiving enough milk:
1. Newborns should be feeding 8-12 times per day
2. By five days old the dirty nappies should be mustard in colour
3. Your baby’s skin should be firm and bounce back after a light pinch
4. You should be able to see your baby swallowing while feeding
5. There shouldn’t be any pain in the nipples after the first few sucks
Is my body producing enough milk?
Sometimes our bodies are not able to produce enough milk to keep up with the nutritional needs of a baby.
Below are some signs that may indicate a low milk supply:
1. Your baby is producing less than 4 – 8 wet nappies per day
2. Your baby is not gaining weight
3. Your baby is not settling well between feeds
4. Your breasts are still feeling hard and full after feeding
5. You are experiencing pain during feeding which does not subside
Is there a way I can improve my milk supply?
If you’re concerned your milk supply is low there are some simple methods that may help:
1. Feed frequently as the female body sends signals when the breasts are feeling empty in order to continue the supply of milk. Feeding more frequently throughout the day may help fire off these signals and encourage the production of more milk.
2. Massage the breasts, starting on the outside and gently working towards the nipple to help increase flow.
3. Nutritional supplements, such as fenugreek may help some mothers increase their supply.
While breastfeeding is considered the natural way, it is important to highlight that there is no right or wrong way. Sometimes, due to circumstances outside of your control, breastfeeding may not be an option and does not always work for everyone.
Just like pregnancy and childbirth, breastfeeding is a different experience for each mother and baby. It is important to discuss any challenges you may be having with medical professionals to help understand what works for you and your bub.
What is World Breastfeeding Week?
Among other things, World Breastfeeding Week aims to help mothers be able to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. The World Health Organisation claims that everyone can help society become more breast-feeding friendly. As breastfeeding helps children everywhere get the best start to life, the campaign’s goal is to widen the support for breastfeeding and achieve sustainable development.