Breast-feeding tips

Medela lactation consultant Jozie Habib gives her advice

Bumps and Babies

If I am having issues with breast feeding, when should I speak to a lactation consultant?
The earlier you get the help of a lactation consultant, the quicker the problem will be solved. Often it’s only something small that needs to be changed, such as positioning the baby at its mother’s breast. A lactation consultant will watch as you nurse, will ask questions to find out the reason for the issue and then give advice and discuss with the mother how to overcome the problem.

I’m finding it very painful – is this normal?
Breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful, it should be a pleasant experience. But to begin with the nipples can be very sensitive. At the outset, it’s important that the baby does not stay latched on for hours and that nipple care is adequate. Mastitis is an infection – there’s nothing you can really do to prevent this, other than maintaining a high level of hygiene, and trying to prevent stress.

Do you have any tips for effective pumping?
To make pumping effective and quick a mother should know how and when to pump. In general I recommend pumping during the morning, always one hour after the end of a breastfeeding session. At this time a nursing mother’s body has already produced ¾ of the amount of milk the baby will drink at the next feeding session. Pumping at this times gives the mother’s body the time to again produce enough milk for the next feed.

How you hold the pump is also very important. With all breast pumps, mothers should hold the breast shield with the index finger and thumb, the open side of the shield towards the palm of her hand and the bottle at the back of her hand. Bringing the shield in this way to the breast enables the mother to support her breast with the palm of her hand and hold both shield and breast together. This prevents from pushing the edges of the breast shield into the breast tissue which could block the milk ducts.

How should I store breast milk?
Freshly pumped breast milk should go immediately to the refrigerator. There it can be kept for two to three days without losing its nutrients and without any bacterial growth. If a mother pumps only small portions of breast milk she should store every portion in the refrigerator until all portions are cooled down properly. Only then she should mix the different portions.

While breast milk can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months, a mother should not give milk she’s pumped when her child was two months old to an eight-month-old baby, because the nutrient content of the milk would not be sufficient for the growing child.

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