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    Struggling With Breastfeeding? Here's Your Go-To Guide for Support

    by Ainsley Smith - August 21 , 2017


    Image Courtesy of Pixabay
    Image Courtesy of Pixabay

    August marks National Breastfeeding Awareness month, which is a movement to help empower women, improve the health of babies around the world, and to normalize breastfeeding, especially in public. Today, most mothers are choosing to breastfeed, 85% of new mothers in fact. Yet despite this, only 17% of new mothers breastfeed exclusively for the recommended first six months of a babies life. So we need to ask ourselves, why are so many women giving up on breastfeeding once their baby becomes six months old?

    The truth is, breastfeeding is hard work. It’s frustrating trying to find somewhere to pump in public, latching hurts, and you can be left with cracked and sore nipples for starters. But when it comes down to it, breastfeeding is the best thing for both the baby and the mother. From giving your child the nutrients it needs to grow, lowering childhood obesity rates to helping your baby develop a better immune system, the benefits are endless. Not to mention it’s an incredible bonding experience and can help mom burn off an extra 500-600 calories per day!

    In celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we put together a guide for mothers that has all the information and support they’ll need to be successful at breastfeeding.

    Benefits of Breastfeeding:

    • Babies who are breastfed are typically sick less often, and have a greater chance of growing up without diabetes, obesity, and asthma.

    • Breastmilk contains healthy fats, proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals that a baby needs to grow.

    • Studies have found that breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancers.

    • Breastfeeding helps make a bond with the newborn. The baby will always feel safe when they are in touch with their mother. This is why skin-to-skin contact is so important.

    Breastfeeding 101:

    Nursing will be challenging and frustrating at first, but with support from your loved ones and nurses, patience and a whole lot of practice, both you and your baby will get the hang of it. According to Healthy Woman, you’ll need to try breastfeeding within the first hour of birth. This will not only help the uterus contract, but also provides the baby with colostrum, which is an important source of antibodies to protect against disease.

    If you find you’re struggling to get your baby to latch, your nurse will be able to help you with any issues. Your nurse can also help show you your baby’s hunger cues, which can include putting their hand to mouth or smacking their lips. The nurse can also show you how to pump breastmilk and how to properly get skin-to-skin with your newborn.

    Be Gentle:

    Breastfeeding can be an overwhelming process that can leave you feeling anxious and frustrated. If these feelings arise, the most important thing is to stay calm and not panic if things aren’t working out at first. Be gentle with yourself, use tons of pillows and get comfortable. Providing your body with as much support as necessary will eliminate any uncomfortable positions so you can feed comfortably.

    Keep Your Baby Close:

    During the first few months of having a baby, it’s important to have the baby sleep in the same room as you in a crib or a bassinet so he or she is always within reach. This also makes waking up in the middle of the night that much easier.

    Stay Hydrated:

    It’s very important to drink plenty of water once you’ve had your baby so you can stay hydrated and make sure your body can produce enough milk.

    Getting Help:

    Over time, you and your baby will develop a special bond through breastfeeding, which will help make feeding easier for both of you. Just remember, you’re not in this alone. If you ever need help, your partner is always able to lend a hand. Here’s a few ways they can help:

    • Offer Support: When you’re breastfeeding, your partner can offer you support by adjusting your pillows, bringing you water, helping with chores, or even offering to burp the baby when its finished feeding.

    • Help With Diaper Changes: A new mother will be very busy with feedings, so by helping with diaper changes, a new mom can take some time for herself and take a break and relax.

    • Get Educated: The more your partner knows about breastfeeding; the more they can help and be of assistance. There are countless resources available online that have useful tips and answers to most common questions about breastfeeding.

    Additional Support:

    While breastfeeding is a natural process, learning how to properly breastfeed can often take more time and practice than you realized. A great way to have additional support is to join a breastfeeding support group that’s filled with other mamas going through exactly what you are going through. These groups can easily be found on Facebook or with a quick Google search.

    If you feel like you’re having a difficult time producing milk, talk to your pharmacist or doctor to find out more about Domperidone, which can help increase milk production. Domperidone works by increasing prolactin production by the pituitary glands, which is the hormone that stimulates the cells in the mother’s breasts to produce milk.

    When using Domperidone, it’s important that your doctor regularly checks your progress through regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor. Finally, it’s important to note that Domperidone is not approved by the FDA, so you need to use this product at your own risk.

    Give it Time:

    If you’re finding that breastfeeding is harder than you expected, don’t let it get you down. Every mother is different and will face different challenges; some might find breastfeeding a piece of cake, while others struggle. Feeding a baby every few hours can be tiring, and it's okay to have a slow start. Remember that the more often you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce and like the saying goes, “Practice makes Perfect.”

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    Ainsley Smith is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Toronto. She currently writes for Canadian Pharmacy World, Daily Hive, 29 Secrets, and Toronto.com.


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