In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we reached out to one of our expert lactation consultants, Sandra Werlich-Praetze to find out the answer to some of her most frequently asked questions on breastfeeding from new mums. There are many amazing resources (links below article) and support communities out there, and we invite you to get the support you need.
Baby carriers help the modern-day parent attend to their child’s needs while still getting on with their day. That’s why babywearing and breastfeeding often go hand-in-hand. It’s the ultimate convenience–feeding on the go! Help us celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2015 #WBW2015) by showing your support.
Please feel free to share any #ergobabynursing and #breastfeeding photos, either with the carrier or the Natural Curve Nursing Pillow; stories or advice on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. We acknowledge that some mama’s journeys may have ended or due to struggles, never began. We support all mothers.
So whether you are expecting, just starting your breastfeeding journey or a supportive partner or family member, we invite you to enjoy and share these tips. And remember, sometimes the best advice is listen to the advice, but trust your instincts. You know yourself and your baby best!
Why should I breastfeed my baby?
Breast milk is the most natural baby food!
Above all, it is healthy and practical. Breast milk is very easy for the baby to digest. Studies show that breastfed babies suffer from fewer ear problems, respiratory conditions and cases of diarrhoea, among other things. Breastfeeding also prevents the baby from becoming overweight.
With the mother’s antibodies, breast milk ensures a strong immune system and thus protects the child against bacteria, viruses and possible allergies.
It does not just protect the baby, however, but the breastfeeding mother too. For example, breastfeeding reduces her breast cancer risk. Mothers are even more mindful of having a healthy, sensible diet. And breastfeeding is also one of the best tools for regaining the figure after pregnancy, because the body burns 300 to 500 calories a day when breastfeeding.
It is also very practical. The mother always has the milk with her and is therefore free and flexible.
Breastfeeding is also important from a bonding perspective. In the truest sense of the word, it satisfies your baby’s needs for closeness, security and warmth.
Is breastfeeding easy?
Essentially, breastfeeding is a natural thing, but not everybody gets off to a smooth start. However, it is usually possible to overcome all of these difficulties. With the right help, it all goes smoothly!
The most important thing is that pain is never a part of healthy breastfeeding, not even in the early stages.
Minor problems relating to suction are more frequent when you start nursing. If this is the case, lay your baby back down and calmly let them latch back on, with the mouth directly on the nipple. Your baby should have as much of the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple) in their mouth as possible.
Sucking or latching on incorrectly can be uncomfortable for the mother and lead to sores and cracked nipples. In this case, please get help at an early stage, so that you can quickly begin to enjoy breastfeeding again.
It pays to persevere. Difficulties with breastfeeding, particularly in the first few weeks, do not have to become permanent problems.
Remain patient, because it does get easier. When you and your baby are an experienced team, breastfeeding is simply wonderful.
Where can I find help?
Please don’t be afraid to get help if you have questions, as early as during pregnancy or immediately after the birth. Many problems are very easy to resolve and straighten out. Your midwife is by your side and, in addition to this, even one or two sessions with a trained breastfeeding counsellor can be enough to get to grips with insecurities or possible breastfeeding problems.
Speak to your midwife or paediatrician. They can refer you to specialists. Taking part in a mother-to-mother breastfeeding group does lots of mothers good. These groups aren’t just for new mums, but for everyone. They give you valuable information and let you make new contacts at the same time.
How long should I breastfeed for?
Breast milk is the best food for all babies. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, BfR) recommends not starting complementary feeding before the age of five months. Exclusively breastfeeding in the first six months of a baby’s life provides enough nutrition for the majority of babies. Continuing to breastfeed while introducing complementary foods is also recommended. Breast milk continues to give your baby everything they need to grow and thrive. Even brief or irregular breastfeeding is beneficial to your baby’s health.
The length of a feed depends on your baby and how they suck. Breastfeeding can last between 10 and 40 minutes. There is no right or wrong. At the beginning, you should latch your baby on to each side for 10 to 20 minutes and wake them in case they fall asleep while breastfeeding.
How often should I breastfeed?
In the first 14 days, your baby should be breastfed approximately 10 to 12 times in a 24-hour period. Look for signs such as restless sleep or your baby smacking their lips or turning their head, and latch your baby on to your breast BEFORE they begin to cry, if possible. Do not wait until your baby is crying with hunger.
You will usually breastfeed every 2 hours at first. The space between feeds will get longer with time. In the long term, your goal should be to breastfeed a lot throughout the day so that you can get as much sleep as possible at night.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
You will be able to tell whether your baby is satisfied or not.
Nappies are one good indicator. After the third day, nappies should be wet at least six times and soiled regularly.
How can I increase my quantity of milk?
Drink enough and be aware of your thirst. Always keep some fluid at the place where you breastfeed, so that you can drink something regularly. Be aware of your diet. Eat a balanced diet and consume approximately 500 calories a day more than before pregnancy.
Breastfeed as regularly as possible and allow yourself time to rest when your baby is asleep.
It has not been medically proven that nursing tea increases the quantity of milk. However, many mothers and experts swear by it. It certainly isn’t harmful.
If you have the feeling that you cannot offer your child enough milk, please get help before taking medication or herbal supplements by yourself.
How do I know if my baby is gaining enough weight?
Babies often lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first few days after the birth. Only then do they begin to gain weight. Your baby should have reached their birth weight again after about two weeks. Until then, you should wake your baby up regularly to breastfeed. When your baby has reached their birth weight again, you can usually stop waking them up and rely completely on your baby’s signals. Your midwife will support you in the period after the birth and weigh your baby regularly. Most babies have doubled their birth weight by six months and tripled it by their first birthday.
Does my baby need anything else besides breast milk?
In a word: no!
A healthy baby only needs breast milk. Giving the baby additional synthetic food, water or tea is not recommended.
My baby vomits – is that normal?
Many babies vomit after breastfeeding. There are two common causes: overfeeding and reflux. Reflux occurs because the valve at the opening of the stomach is still too weak or untrained. This means that the milk can be regurgitated. As long as your baby is gaining weight, this is not a problem.
Sometimes, it helps to give your baby smaller meals more often and not lay them down immediately after breastfeeding.
Speak to your paediatrician if your baby is feeling unwell or if their stomach is swollen and hard, if they pass blood or if their vomit is green in colour.
Jaundice – what’s that?
Jaundice is caused by a build-up of bilirubin in the baby’s body. Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells are broken down. Many newborn babies are affected. The more your baby drinks and excretes, the more bilirubin is removed, so your baby’s skin loses its yellow colour.
I am returning to work early – can I still continue to breastfeed?
Yes! Even if you want to return to work soon after the birth, you can breastfeed. Breastfeeding and working can be combined wonderfully. Please speak to your midwife or breastfeeding counsellor about the best way to prepare for expressing or combination feeding.