Choosing to Breastfeed

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

You are pregnant! This is the ideal time to decide how you want to feed your baby. Because milk will be the main source of food for your baby during the first year, it is important that you are well-informed before deciding on the method you will use.

Breast milk is made especially for your baby. It contains all the necessary ingredients for the growth and development of your newborn. It is convenient, at the right temperature and takes no preparation. It is impossible to reproduce or imitate your breastmilk.

Your family and friends may give you a great deal of advice about breastfeeding. They will share their good or bad personal experiences. Not everyone believes that breastfeeding is the best thing to do. You may have mixed feelings. What should I do? Inquire about the facts and decide what is best for you and your baby.

A. BREASTFEEDING - NOTHING COMPARES!

Being successful and happy with breastfeeding depends on the confidence you have in your capacity to breastfeed. Even though breastfeeding is "natural", learning to breastfeed is a step by step process for both mom and baby, and can be challenging. The first six weeks are when most learning takes place. Breastfeeding becomes easier with time.


 

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a. Benefits of Breastfeeding

 

Do you know the advantages of breastfeeding for the mother and the baby? Here are some of the reasons why your breastmilk is best for you and your baby.

In addition to all these advantages, breastfeeding is economical. Turn the wheel to discover the amounts you will save by deciding to breastfeed.

b. Concerns and Myths Surrounding Breastfeeding

New parents have many questions about breastfeeding. Will I be able to breastfeed? Will I have enough milk? Will my partner feel left out?

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Test Your Knowledge

This exercise will help you verify your knowledge about breastfeeding. You will also find answers to some of your questions.

Click on the button that corresponds to the correct answer and check your answer by clicking on the "Check" button.

1

Most women are able to breastfeed.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Most women are capable of breastfeeding and can breastfeed. One of the most important things is wanting to breastfeed your baby. Certain circumstances can prevent mothers from breastfeeding: Mothers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, mothers receiving treatment for cancer, or mothers who are infected with HIV. Wrong answer! Most women are capable of breastfeeding and can breastfeed. One of the most important things is wanting to breastfeed your baby. Certain circumstances can prevent mothers from breastfeeding: Mothers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, mothers receiving treatment for cancer, or mothers who are infected with HIV.

Check your answer

2

Mothers with small breasts produce less milk than mothers with big breasts.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! The size of the breasts is not important. Big or small, they can produce all the milk the baby requires. What counts is to start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce, supply equals the demand!Wrong answer! The size of the breasts is not important. Big or small, they can produce all the milk the baby requires. What counts is to start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce, supply equals the demand!

Check your answer

3

Women with flat or inverted nipples cannot breastfeed.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! The baby does not suck the nipple but sucks the whole breast. It is breastfeeding, not nipple feeding. Although it is easier for the baby to suck at the breast when the nipple stands out, it is not necessary. Generally, most problems may be eliminated when breastfeeding is well initiated. It is important to receive help with the breastfeeding.Wrong answer! The baby does not suck the nipple but sucks the whole breast. It is breastfeeding, not nipple feeding. Although it is easier for the baby to suck at the breast when the nipple stands out, it is not necessary. Generally, most problems may be eliminated when breastfeeding is well initiated. It is important to receive help with the breastfeeding.

Check your answer

4

Breastfeeding causes the breasts to "sag".

a) True
b) False
Right answer! This is the biggest myth surrounding breastfeeding. It is the hormones of pregnancy that cause the breasts to sag and not breastfeeding. The solution is to wear a good support bra. You will notice that your breasts will return to their normal shape and size once you stop breastfeeding. Wrong answer! This is the biggest myth surrounding breastfeeding. It is the hormones of pregnancy that cause the breasts to sag and not breastfeeding. The solution is to wear a good support bra. You will notice that your breasts will return to their normal shape and size once you stop breastfeeding.

Check your answer

5

Breastfeeding takes a lot of time.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! In reality, many mothers find that breastfeeding gives them more freedom than formula feeding. The activities of all new mothers are limited to feeding and caring for the baby and being tired. The first few weeks of your new life with your baby are a time of change and joy. This is true for all new moms! Wrong answer! In reality, many mothers find that breastfeeding gives them more freedom than formula feeding. The activities of all new mothers are limited to feeding and caring for the baby and being tired. The first few weeks of your new life with your baby are a time of change and joy. This is true for all new moms!

Check your answer

6

A mother who is breastfeeding must watch what she eats.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! A breastfeeding mother must have a balanced diet but nothing obliges her to eat certain foods or prevents her from eating others. In certain cases the baby may be bothered by what the mother has eaten, but this is unusual. When the baby has colic, gas, or cries, modifying the breastfeeding is a better solution than changing the mother's diet. Wrong answer! A breastfeeding mother must have a balanced diet but nothing obliges her to eat certain foods or prevents her from eating others. In certain cases the baby may be bothered by what the mother has eaten, but this is unusual. When the baby has colic, gas, or cries, modifying the breastfeeding is a better solution than changing the mother's diet.

Check your answer

7

Mothers who smoke can breastfeed their babies.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! However, we strongly recommend you quit smoking as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. A mother, who is unable to quit smoking, should still breastfeed. It is proven that breastfeeding reduces the negative effects of tobacco on the baby's lungs and can protect against respiratory illness. Breastfeeding is good for the baby and the mother. It is better if the mother does not smoke, but if she can't stop or reduce her consumption, it is better to smoke and breastfeed than to smoke and not breastfeed. Smoking should be done outside and after the breastfeeding to limit the amount of nicotine in the breastmilk. Nicotine replacement therapy is safe while breastfeeding (e.g.: Nicorette gum, the patch).Wrong answer! However, we strongly recommend you quit smoking as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. A mother, who is unable to quit smoking, should still breastfeed. It is proven that breastfeeding reduces the negative effects of tobacco on the baby's lungs and can protect against respiratory illness. Breastfeeding is good for the baby and the mother. It is better if the mother does not smoke, but if she can't stop or reduce her consumption, it is better to smoke and breastfeed than to smoke and not breastfeed. Smoking should be done outside and after the breastfeeding to limit the amount of nicotine in the breastmilk. Nicotine replacement therapy is safe while breastfeeding (e.g.: Nicorette gum, the patch).

Check your answer

8

A woman who is breastfeeding can become pregnant.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Breastfeeding provides good protection during the first six months following delivery. This protection is only reliable if the baby is under six months of age, is breastfed exclusively (which means no other liquids other than breastmilk), if there are no long interruptions between feedings (baby should not go longer than 4 hours between feedings in the day, and no more than one six hour stretch between feedings at night), and if the mother has not started her period. To avoid a pregnancy, you should use a more appropriate method of contraception while you are breastfeeding. As birth control pills may reduce your milk supply, it is recommended to wait to start them until after your baby is six weeks old. Follow-up with your health care provider. Wrong answer! Breastfeeding is not an effective method of birth control, but it can be a good method to separate births. Breastfeeding provides a good protection during the first six months following delivery. This protection is only reliable if the baby is under six months of age, is breastfed exclusively (which means no other liquids other than breastmilk), if there are no long interruptions between feedings (baby should not go longer than 4 hours between feedings in the day, and no more than one six hour stretch between feedings at night), and if the mother has not started her period. To avoid a pregnancy, you should use a more appropriate method of contraception while you are breastfeeding. As birth control pills may reduce your milk supply, it is recommended to wait to start them until after your baby is six weeks old. Follow-up with your health care provider.

Check your answer

9

If a woman breastfeeds, her partner is excluded from providing care to the baby.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! In the beginning when you and the baby are establishing the milk production, there are many other things that your partner can do to help you. He can take the baby in his arms, sing a lullaby, change, bathe, console, and walk the baby as well as other things. This will help him to develop a close relationship with the baby.Wrong answer! In the beginning when you and the baby are establishing the milk production, there are many other things that your partner can do to help you. He can take the baby in his arms, sing a lullaby, change, bathe, console, and walk the baby as well as other things. This will help him to develop a close relationship with the baby.

Check your answer

10

It is possible to continue breastfeeding even after returning to work or to school.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Many mothers can benefit from a twelve month maternity leave. However, students, part-time workers, and self-employed mothers may not have access to this paid leave. If you must return to work or to school, it is still possible to breastfeed with the help of your partner, a babysitter, a relative, or a friend. When returning to work or school after any length of maternity leave, you can still continue to breastfeed. Wrong answer! Many mothers can benefit from a twelve month maternity leave. However, students, part-time workers, and self-employed mothers may not have access to this paid leave. If you must return to work or to school, it is still possible to breastfeed with the help of your partner, a babysitter, a relative, or a friend. When returning to work or school after any length of maternity leave, you can still continue to breastfeed.

Check your answer

c. Risks of Not Breastfeeding

The benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the child are being recognized more and more. Have you ever thought about the risks to you and your baby’s health associated with not breastfeeding? The following list will help you to discover the most common risks mentioned in the literature. Food for thought...

  1. Increased risk of allergy and asthma
  2. Reduced cognitive development
  3. Increased risk of acute respiratory disease
  4. Increased risk of infection from contaminated formula
  5. Increased risk of childhood cancers
  6. Increased risk of obesity and diabetes
  7. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  8. Increased risk of gastrointestinal and ear infections
  9. Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome*
  10. Increased risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer for mothers
  11. Increased risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis for mothers
  12. Increased risk of maternal diabetes

Reference:

INFACT Canada. 14 Risks of Formula Feeding. Retrieved from: http://www.infactcanada.ca/pdf/14-Risks-Small.pdf

INFACT Canada. 2006. Risks of Formula Feeding. Retrieved from: http://www.infactcanada.ca/RisksofFormulaFeeding.pdf

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1. Expression of Milk

During the first weeks you may have to express milk if:

  • your breasts are too hard for the baby to latch.
  • you want to feed your baby with breast milk when you are apart.
  • you need to increase your milk production.

This is how to express milk manually.

Most mothers do not need a breast pump. If you do need a breast pump, there are a variety of pumps available for rent or purchase from lactation consultants, hospitals, medical supply outlets, drug stores and some children's stores. Lactation consultants provide instructions and support for the pumps they supply. A nurse at Healthline can advise you on choosing a pump and give you support. Call 1- 800-267-7120. The type of pump you select depends on what you intend using it for.

No matter which type of pump you select, you must always follow the instructions that come with the pump.

 

Here are a few tips if you are planning on purchasing a breast pump.

2. Storing and Thawing of Breast Milk

Here are a few tips when choosing containers used to store the breast milk.

Here are a few tips when storing breast milk.

Breast milk can be stored in the following places.

Tips to thaw breast milk efficiently and safely.

B. PREPARING TO BREASTFEED

Once you decide to breastfeed, you can begin to prepare yourself. The time to do this is now while you are pregnant. Successful breastfeeding depends mostly on the confidence you have in your ability to breastfeed. An appropriate preparation is essential in order to develop this confidence. Receiving adequate support, even during pregnancy, will help your confidence when breastfeeding.


 

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a. Changes Occurring in Your Breasts

Your breasts were getting ready to breastfeed even before you thought about being a mother. Milk glands start to grow during the teenage years.

During pregnancy, the breast, areola, and nipple get bigger. The nipple and the areola become darker. The alveoli and the ducts increase in number and grow in size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b. The Breast and How It Works

You will notice a big change in your breasts when the baby is born. Once the placenta leaves the body, hormones stimulate the alveoli to produce milk. The milk passes through the lactiferous ducts and is stored in the small reservoirs situated under the areola causing the breasts to swell. You may feel that your breasts are full or even a little tight. If you breastfeed often, these sensations tend to go away.

When the baby is positioned correctly, movements of the mouth squeeze the reservoirs located just under the areola. The milk flows through several small openings located on the tip of the nipple. The position of the baby's mouth on the breast is very important to assure that the baby is breastfeeding well.

The following animation illustrates the production of milk.

c. Breastfeeding Positions

There are several breastfeeding positions. Follow these suggestions for each position.

  • Your back and arms must be well supported. A pillow behind your back and under your arms will help.
  • The baby's body and head are raised up to your breast. Place a pillow under the baby.
  • The baby's chest must face and touch your chest. Place the baby on his/her side except for the football position.
  • For the football position, place the baby on his\her back or slightly turned towards the breast.
  • Your baby's nose must face the nipple. Bring the baby towards you instead of leaning forward or pushing your nipple into the baby's mouth.

Remember that it is important to change breastfeeding positions and to offer both breasts at every feeding.

The following pictures illustrate the main breastfeeding positions.

Alternate Arm Cradle Hold

This position works well, if you are learning to breastfeed:

  • the heel of your hand supports baby’s shoulders
  • the hand that holds the breast is on the same side the baby is nursing

 

Football Hold

This position works well:

  • if you are learning to breastfeed
  • if you have a small baby
  • if you have large breasts
  • if you had a Caesarean birth
  • if you are nursing both twins at the same time
  • flex baby’s legs up behind your arm
  • baby’s mouth is well under breast before you start

 

Cradle Hold

This position works well:

  • after you are comfortable with breastfeeding
  • baby’s head rests on your forearm
  • baby’s nostrils are in front of your nipple before you start to latch

 

Side-Lying Hold

This position works well:

  • if you find it too painful to sit
  • if you want to rest when you breastfeed
  • if you had a Caesarean birth
  • you and baby lie on your sides facing each other
  • your hand is across baby’s shoulder blades
  • bring baby towards your abdomen
  • wait for the baby to extend his head with a wide mouth and latch without assistance

 

d. Learning to Breastfeed

Begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after the delivery. The baby is most awake and ready to learn how to breastfeed during the first two hours after birth. Breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery will favour skin to skin contact with your baby and will help you produce more milk.

Once you are in a comfortable position, you are ready to offer your breast to your baby. The cross cradle position may be the best position for the learning period.

Babies often suck better if their skin is in contact with the mother's skin. They will keep warm from being skin to skin with you. In the beginning, undress the baby down to just their diaper prior to feeds to help keep baby awake at the breast. Some infants find the breast and latch on correctly from the first tries. Others need help. The following pictures provide a few tips to help your baby accept the breast correctly.

The following video shows a baby well positioned on the breast.

Sample video from "Breastfeeding : Bringing baby to the breast" from http://www.videoallaitement.org/english.html

The following video demonstrates how to apply pressure to your breast to encourage feeding.

Sample video from "Breastfeeding : Bringing baby to the breast" from http://www.videoallaitement.org/english.html

Feed the baby before he or she gets upset or cries loudly. Crying is a late sign of hunger. The baby will show signs of hunger long before starting to cry.

Your baby can:

  • have rapid eye movements under the eyelids when he/she begins waking up to drink.
  • make sucking and licking movements with his/her mouth.
  • put his/her hand in his/her mouth.
  • stretch and become more agitated.
  • make small noises.

A sign that the baby is hungry.

e. Skin-to-Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact involves placing the baby wearing only a diaper, tummy down on his/her mother's bare chest immediately after birth and well into the first month. Baby may be covered lightly with a blanket. Your partner or support person can also do skin-to-skin to know, comfort and nurture your baby.

Benefits:

  • strengthens the mother-baby relationship;
  • helps regulate the baby's body temperature, respirations and heart rate;
  • promotes better breastfeeding;
  • helps regulate the baby's blood sugar;
  • provides pain relief to baby during painful procedures;
  • encourages longer duration of breastfeeding, on average by an additional six weeks.
  • the benefits of skin-to-skin for bonding, soothing and breastfeeding continue well after the newborn period.
  • premature babies also benefit from skin-to-skin. Sometimes this is called Kangaroo Care.

f. Infant Feeding Cues:

Babies should be fed when they cue or indicate hunger. Crying is a late cue or indicator of hunger. Breastfeeding is much easier for both mother and baby if you are able to pick up on baby's early hunger cues.

Sample video from "Breastfeeding : Bringing baby to the breast" from http://www.videoallaitement.org/english.html

Common infant hunger cues include:

Early:

  • increased alertness, moving during sleep or having REM sleep
  • smacking or licking lips
  • opening and closing mouth
  • sucking on lips, tongue, hands, fingers, toes, toys, or clothing.

Active:

  • rooting around on the chest of whoever is carrying him
  • trying to position for nursing, either by lying back or pulling on your clothes
  • fidgeting or squirming around a lot
  • hitting you on the arm or chest repeatedly
  • fussing or breathing fast

Late:

  • moving head frantically from side to side
  • crying
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Test Your Knowledge

The following exercise will help you acquire knowledge to make breastfeeding successful.

Click on the button that corresponds to the correct answer and check your answer by clicking on the "Check" button.

1

It is important to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after the birth of your baby.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Your baby is more alert and ready to start suckling at your breast during the first two hours following birth. Ideally, the baby should be given the breast within 30 minutes after birth. Beginning to breastfeed as soon as possible after the birth will help you to produce more milk. If baby is not effectively breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact will help your milk production. Wrong answer! Your baby is more alert and ready to start suckling at your breast during the first two hours following birth. Ideally, the baby should be given the breast within 30 minutes after birth. Beginning to breastfeed as soon as possible after the birth will help you to produce more milk. If baby is not effectively breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact will help your milk production.

Check your answer

2

You must breastfeed every four hours the first few days.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! During the first month, the baby will eat a minimum of 8 times a day. Babies are meant to feed frequently in the early days. It is common for babies to have many feedings in a short period (cluster feeding), and then sleep longer between feeds at other times. There are no set times to feed your baby. Wrong answer! During the first month, the baby will eat a minimum of 8 times a day. Babies are meant to feed frequently in the early days. It is common for babies to have many feedings in a short period (cluster feeding), and then sleep longer between feeds at other times. There are no set times to feed your baby.

Check your answer

3

Do not give a pacifier or bottle to a breastfed baby.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Sucking on a bottle or pacifier and suckling from the breast is completely different. If you decide to use a bottle or pacifier, it is better to wait until your baby has learned to breastfeed. This usually happens around the 6th week. If you give a pacifier or bottle too soon, the baby may prefer this type of feeding and not want to suckle at the breast. This may cause pain when breastfeeding.Wrong answer! Sucking on a bottle or pacifier and suckling from the breast is completely different. If you decide to use a bottle or pacifier, it is better to wait until your baby has learned to breastfeed. This usually happens around the 6th week. If you give a pacifier or bottle too soon, the baby may prefer this type of feeding and not want to suckle at the breast. This may cause pain when breastfeeding.

Check your answer

4

Most mothers need help to learn how to breastfeed.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! Ask the nurse to help place the baby to your breast. Ask for help immediately if you are having problems. Once you are home, there are supports available in the community to help you with your breastfeeding. A public health nurse calls within 48 hours of going home. There are free Breastfeeding Support drop-ins in the community where you can attend with your baby to receive hands-on help from a certified lactation consultant.Wrong answer!Ask the nurse to help place the baby to your breast. Ask for help immediately if you are having problems. Once you are home, there are supports available in the community to help you with your breastfeeding. A public health nurse calls within 48 hours of going home. There are free Breastfeeding Support drop-ins in the community where you can attend with your baby to receive hands-on help from a certified lactation consultant.

Check your answer

5

You must always give water to breastfed babies.

a) True
b) False
Right answer! During the first six months, a healthy baby does not require any additional liquid or food. If you give additional liquids or foods to your baby, your milk production may be reduced and this could be harmful to your baby's health (e.g.: your baby may be at increased risk for allergies). Health Canada along with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Breastfeeding should continue with the introduction of solids, for up to two years and beyond. Wrong answer! During the first six months, a healthy baby does not require any additional liquid or food. If you give additional liquids or foods to your baby, your milk production may be reduced and this could be harmful to your baby's health (e.g.: your baby may be at increased risk for allergies). Health Canada along with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Breastfeeding should continue with the introduction of solids, for up to two years and beyond.

Check your answer

g. Signs that the Baby Is Breastfeeding Well

New mothers often wonder if their baby is drinking enough milk. Although you cannot check the quantity of milk the baby is drinking, there are signs that indicate if the baby is drinking enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1. The Baby's Suckling

At the beginning of the feeding, your baby's suckling will be shallow and quick. Once the milk begins to flow, the baby's suckling should become deep and slow. At one point there should be a pause and the baby should open his/her mouth wide. This is when the mouth fills with milk. The longer this pause, the more milk the baby gets.

You may :

  • feel some initial pain for the first few sucks which should go away. If it continues, the baby may not be latched or positioned well. Seek professional help to assist in correctly breastfeeding your baby.
  • hear the baby swallow.

The next video shows a baby breastfeeding well.

Sample video from "Breastfeeding : Bringing baby to the breast" from http://www.videoallaitement.org/english.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Number of Wet and Soiled Diapers

By counting the number of wet and soiled diapers, you can check if your baby drinks enough milk:

 

  • at 1 day old has at least 1 wet diaper and at least 1 to 2 sticky dark green/black stools.
  • at 2 days old has at least 2 wet diapers and at least 1 to 2 sticky dark green/black stools. ** This is easier to notice urine in cloth diapers. A facial tissue can be placed inside disposable diapers, if you are not sure.
  • at 3 days old has at least 3 heavy wet diapers and at least 3 brown/green/yellow stools. Occasional “red brick coloured” staining is normal until day 3.
  • at 4 days old has at least 4 heavy wet diapers and at least 3 brown/green/yellow stools.
  • at 5 days and older, as the milk supply increases, baby has at least 6 heavy wet diapers and at least 3 large soft yellow seedy stools per day.

A wet diaper is equivalent to 2 tablespoons or 30ml, and a heavy wet diaper is equivalent to 4-5 tablespoons or 60-75 ml.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Weight Gain

The weight gain is a good indication that the baby is drinking enough milk. Here are a few clues:

  • most breastfed babies will lose up to 7 percent of their birth weight during the first three days after birth.
  • your baby should gain at least five to eight ounces (140 to 224 grams) per week during the first three months and at least 1 pound (16 oz or 448 g) per month between the third and the sixth month.
  • your baby should have returned to his/her birth weight by the second week of age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Other Signs

There are other signs to indicate if the baby is drinking enough milk. Observe the following clues:

  • your baby has a loud cry and moves a lot.
  • your baby's mouth is wet and pink.
  • your baby's eyes look bright and awake.
  • your baby comes off the breast looking relaxed and sleepy.
  • your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding.

 

Ask for help immediately if your baby does not seem to be breastfeeding well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

h. Breast Care

There is no special care required for your breasts during pregnancy. Good daily hygiene is sufficient. The Montgomery tubercules (glands) situated under the areola are responsible to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. To support your breasts, wear a bra that fits well; preferably without underwire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1. General Breast Care

Basic care is important during breastfeeding

  • Wash your breasts daily. Avoid putting soap on your nipples, especially if they are sore. Soap may dry your nipples and cause them to crack.
  • Wear a well-adjusted bra that is not too tight. Do not wear a bra with underwires.
  • After breastfeeding, express some breast milk into the nipples and the areolas in order to protect the skin. Allow the milk to dry before putting on your bra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Hard Breasts

The breasts may become hard or engorged the first days after birth. This engorgement is caused by an accumulation of milk in the breasts. This happens during the inflow of milk usually three to four days after the birth of your baby. If your breasts become hard, the baby may have trouble feeding. The hardness should only last 1-2 days. Here is some advice to help soften your breasts.

During the first weeks, you may have to express breast milk if your breasts are too hard for the baby to latch on.

You will find more information on expressing breast milk in Module 8 entitled "Healthy Family".

Ask for help immediately if you:

  • cannot soften your breasts or have trouble breastfeeding.
  • have red or painful areas on your breasts.
  • have a fever.
  • ​feel ill.

3. Sore Nipples

The nipples may become tender during the first few days after birth. This situation should improve daily. Breastfeeding should not be painful. Check the following table if you have sore nipples.

Ask for help immediately if your nipples are sore even though the baby is well-positioned and feeding properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i. Setting Goals for Breastfeeding

The ideal time for the first feeding is within the first two hours following birth. Breast milk is all the baby needs during the first six months. After six months, begin to introduce solid foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years and beyond.

Now is a good time to set your own goals for breastfeeding. You have the natural ability to breastfeed, but you must learn how to do it correctly.

By setting goals, you are learning what to do. You can also decide how you are going to do it. By setting your goals in advance, you can then decide how you will achieve them.

j. Creating Breastfeeding Support

Although breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby, that doesn't mean that you will know how to do it right away. Most mothers need information and support while breastfeeding especially during the first two months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1. How Can a Breastfeeding Support Network Help Me?

It is good to plan your support network ahead of time. Think about friends, members of your family, professionals, and any other person who will be able to help. It is also a good idea to determine how these people can support you during breastfeeding.

With the help of a support group, you will have:

  • someone to talk to about breastfeeding and from whom you can get help either in person or by phone.
  • someone in whom you will be able to confide anytime during the day or night; but most often during the night.
  • someone who will check up on you to see how you are making out.
  • someone who will take care of the baby while you take a bath, go to the hairdresser, or simply have a rest.
  • someone who will prepare some meals, do the cleaning, or get the groceries.
  • someone who will care for the other children if you have any. The other children, depending on their ages, can also be involved.
  • someone who will invite you, your baby, and your family for a meal or an outing.
  • someone who will babysit while you and your partner go out.

Keep in mind that your family and friends will offer advice whether you have asked or not. Some advice will be helpful, some not. Don't be afraid to ignore the advice that is not good for you. Thank them and do what you think is best for you and your baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Who Can Be Part of My Support Network?

Now is time to create this support group so you will be ready when your baby is born. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Find one or two mothers who have enjoyed breastfeeding and who live near you. Ask them if they will give you moral support and help you if necessary.
  • EOHU Breastfeeding Help can match you two months prior to your due date with a trained volunteer, who is a mom who has breastfed at least one child for a 6 month period or longer. They provide peer telephone support up until your baby is 6 months old. They are available to provide support in various languages. 
  • Talk to your partner about sharing the workload once the baby arrives and explain why you will need his help.
  • Find out if there is a support group in your area. If possible, attend one or two meetings before the baby is born. This will allow you to establish contacts with mothers who have already lived the breastfeeding experience.EOHU Breastfeeding Help has meetings you can attend prenatally as well as after the birth of your baby to learn about breastfeeding.
  • Find other mothers to talk with and who will agree to exchange child care services. Find out how you can give each other time off when you need it.
  • Check to see if there are community groups or EOHU Breastfeeding Help in your area that feature day nursery services, mother-baby groups, or exercise programs you can join.
  • Talk about breastfeeding with your public health nurse. There are EOHU Breastfeeding Help in the community to assist you with your breastfeeding.
  • There are also EOHU Breastfeeding Help available up until your baby is one year of age.

WMG drop-in centers 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. MEDICATIONS AND MOTHER'S MILK

An appropriate preparation is essential in order to make the safest choices for you and your baby. Alcohol can harm your baby's health. Most medications are safe while breastfeeding. It is important to understand how Alcohol and Medications enter into the breastmilk and to your baby before making the best decisions. To be sure always check with your Health Professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a. Alcohol

Alcohol easily passes into the mother's breastmilk, with the level being close to what is in the mother's blood supply. There is no known safe amount of alcohol exposure for a baby from breastmilk! The safest choice is not to drink alcohol while you are breastfeeding. If you have an occasional glass of alcohol, it is recommended to consume it after feeding and to wait about an hour to an hour and a half before feeding. General guideline: it takes approximately 2-3 hours for one standard drink of alcohol to clear from the mother's breastmilk. Heavy alcohol consumption should be avoided. The effects of alcohol on baby are not well studied.

b. Medications

Most medications are safe while breastfeeding and most do enter into the breastmilk in small amounts. Very few medications the baby is exposed to in the breastmilk have caused side effects. The risks of not breastfeeding the baby are often higher than the risk of the mom taking the medication while breastfeeding. It is important to ensure when a health care provider is prescribing medications to the breastfeeding mother, that they are aware she is breastfeeding.

Further information can be found at:

Motherisk: www.motherisk.org

Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS): 1-866-626-6847 www.otispregnancy.org

Dr Jack Newman's website: www.nbci.ca

D. BREASTFEEDING AT THE HOSPITAL

Not all hospitals offer the same support to mothers who want to breastfeed. Find out if there is support for breastfeeding at the hospital where your baby will be born. Ask about this when you are pregnant so you will know what to expect. All Ottawa area hospitals have lactation consultants that you can see during your hospital stay after the birth of your baby.

 

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a. Questions to Ask Before Labour

One way to prepare for breastfeeding is to ask questions. If possible, question the hospital staff before your due date. Here is a list of questions you can ask the staff at the hospital where your baby will be born. You can print the list and bring it with you to the hospital so you can discuss with the nurses during labour.

 

 

 

b. Goals for Breastfeeding in the Hospital

A good start is the key to a successful and happy breastfeeding experience.

Here are some breastfeeding goals for the time you will be in the hospital. By setting goals, you will get a good start.

c. Breastfeeding Plan

This is an example of a breastfeeding plan that you may use during your stay in the hospital. Keep this plan and if possible, share it with your partner, your health care provider, your nurse, or any other person who may be around for your beginning as a breastfeeding mother.

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Test Your Knowledge

Congratulations! By completing this module, you have learned how to prepare to breastfeed your baby. The following exercise will allow you to verify if you are ready to begin the wonderful experience of breastfeeding.

Click on the button that corresponds to the correct answer and check your answer by clicking on the "Check" button.

1

The newborn should be placed to the breast:

a) a half hour after birth.
b) two hours after birth.
c) three hours after birth.
d) when the baby is hungry.
Right answer! Your baby should be put to your breast within a half hour of birth. This allows you to have skin contact. It is the start of a special time between you. Your baby may not feed at this time but you can still enjoy the time together.Wrong answer! Your baby should be put to your breast within a half hour of birth. This allows you to have skin contact. It is the start of a special time between you. Your baby may not feed at this time but you can still enjoy the time together.

Check your answer

2

Among the following people, who would be best suited to be part of your breastfeeding support group?

a) Your mother who has never breastfed.
b) Your neighbor who has breastfed her two children.
c) Your health care provider
d) Your sister who does not have any children but is always ready to give you advice.
Right answer! Your neighbor who has breastfed her two children is best suited to be part of your support group.Wrong answer! Your neighbor who has breastfed her two children is best suited to be part of your support group.

Check your answer

3

How long is it recommended to breastfeed exclusively?

a) 2 months
b) 4 months
c) 6 months
d) 12 months
Right answer! Breast milk is all the food your baby needs during the first six months.Wrong answer! Breast milk is all the food your baby needs during the first six months.

Check your answer

4

What is the best thing your partner can do to help you breastfeed?

a) Give the baby a bottle of breast milk during the night to allow you to rest.
b) Prepare the bottles of formula ahead of time in case you do not have enough breast milk.
c) Carry the baby in a baby carriage while you take a relaxing bath.
d) Sleep in another room during the first month following the baby's birth.
Right answer! The best thing your partner can do is to take care of the baby while you relax.Wrong answer! The best thing your partner can do is to take care of the baby while you relax.

Check your answer

5

While breastfeeding during the first days following birth it is better to:

a) always use the same position in order for the baby to learn the latch-on skills.
b) always begin with the left breast so as not to confuse the baby.
c) use different positions and offer both breasts at each feeding.
d) give the baby a pacifier after breastfeeding.
Right answer!During the first days of breastfeeding, it is better to offer both breasts and use different positions at each feeding to ensure a good supply and intake of milk.Wrong answer! During the first days of breastfeeding, it is better to offer both breasts and use different positions at each feeding to ensure a good supply of milk.

Check your answer

6

While in the hospital, it is better to

a) keep your baby with you 24 hours a day in order to get a good start at breastfeeding.
b) leave the baby in the nursery as much as possible so that you can rest.
c) enjoy as much company as possible.
d) take the baby only when he/she is hungry or crying.
Right answer! During your stay at the hospital, it is preferable to keep your baby with you as much as possible. Often, babies breastfeed better if they have skin-to-skin contact with their mother.Wrong answer! During your stay at the hospital, it is preferable to keep your baby with you as much as possible. Often, babies breastfeed better if they have skin-to-skin contact with their mother.

Check your answer

7

When is the best time to get ready for breastfeeding?

a) Before you are pregnant.
b) During your pregnancy.
c) In the hospital after the delivery.
d) It is not necessary to get ready because breastfeeding is natural and you will automatically know how to do it.
Right answer! Pregnancy is the ideal time to prepare for breastfeeding.Wrong answer! Pregnancy is the ideal time to prepare for breastfeeding.

Check your answer

8

Which among the following statements is not a good prenatal breastfeeding goal?

a) I will tell the hospital personnel that I intend to breastfeed my baby.
b) I will ask my partner for help so that breastfeeding is a success in our family.
c) I will wait to see how I make out at the hospital before deciding if I will continue breastfeeding.
d) I will learn as much as possible about breastfeeding in order to gain confidence.
Right answer! Waiting to see how you will make out at the hospital is not the ideal way to prepare for breastfeeding.Wrong answer! Waiting to see how you will make out at the hospital is not the ideal way to prepare for breastfeeding.

Check your answer

CONCLUSION

Deciding to breastfeed is the best choice because breast milk is the natural food for your baby. In this module you have learned how to prepare yourself well for a successful breastfeeding experience for you and your family.

The special bond between you and your baby will get stronger every day because of breastfeeding. The more experience you acquire, the more comfortable you will become and the more breastfeeding will be enjoyable. Your baby will be grateful for life!

Milk Bank Ontario for information on How to donate milk and How to receive milk http://www.milkbankontario.ca/

For more breastfeeding information and support visit, Eastern Ontario Health Unit website