Everyone has a unique experience of parenting and every mother has an equally unique feeding experience. Every mother endures a great deal to ensure her little one is well-nourished. Over the last few decades, breastfeeding awareness has grown by leaps and bounds and in the UK particularly, the short term and long term benefits have gained popularity amongst new mothers.
What WHO and UNICEF recommend about breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour of birth and they must be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother
- Breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and weak bones. Additionally, it also reduces risk of diabetes, arthritis and certain cardiovascular diseases.
- Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin helps recovery from childbirth by facilitating regression of the uterus back to its normal size.
- Helps hasten weight loss in mothers.
- May provide a form of natural contraception, thus, enabling adequate spacing between consecutive pregnancies.
- Helps build a strong, emotional bond between mother and child.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
- Breastfeeding contains antibodies which build immunity in babies.
- Promotes healthy weight gain and maintenance during initial months.
- Breastfeeding helps to facilitate normal oral facial development.
- It has been proven that there are less chances of colic in breastfed babies.
- Reduces risk of both types of diabetes.
Positions and Latches for effective Breastfeeding
The key here is to remember that every mum and baby will find their own way, there’s no right or wrong. However, there are ways of enabling a better latch whilst making sure you don’t cause any long term harm to your posture. Some of the most commonly used positions include cradle, cross-cradle, football hold and side lying. Make sure to choose what is comfortable for you as well as your little one, the focus points while breastfeeding should be as follows –
- Your back is well supported.
- The nipple should be at baby’s eye level.
- Baby’s mouth is wide open in a fish-like manner – upper lip slightly everted.
- Baby’s chin should touch the breast.
Common challenges faced by Mothers and How we can help
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s almost always filled with it’s ups and downs and it’s important to remember that this is normal and you’re not alone. For instance in the UK, there is a section assigned to Breastfeeding in the NHS Red Paper Book to support mothers through this journey. It includes access to a 24/7 helpline, a DVD explaining breastfeeding inside out as well as additional brochures with less common challenges such as feeding preterm/sick infants and returning to work while feeding.
Moreover, some of the challenges that Nurturey Pinkbook – the smartest digital upgrade for the NHS paper red book can assist mothers with include NHS guided (NHS Library) articles, listicles and videos based on –
- Breastfeeding – the first few days after birth.
- Common breastfeeding queries answered.
- Positioning and attachment
- Breastfeeding your premature baby
- How to stop breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding in public
- Expressing and storing breastmilk
Support in other forms
Start4Life is a government campaign to support a better start in life for infants from birth, by providing healthcare professionals with accessible, concise information about the recommendations on breastfeeding, appropriate introduction of solid foods and active play.
Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2021 is an initiative to encourage families to support breastfeeding. With so much information out there, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and hence, Start4Life has put the latest news on baby nutrition and activity together on their website.
Common Breastfeeding Initiatives in the UK
- NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide
- Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative
- The Lactation Consultants of Great Britain
- The UK Association for Milk Banking
Nurturey PinkBook’s Role in supporting new mothers
Nurturey PinkBook is the smartest digital upgrade for the NHS paper red book. Aimed at parents with young children and pregnant women, Nurturey‘s intuitive tools help you navigate the journey of your child’s health and your pregnancy while feeling supported, informed and empowered.
As mentioned above, Nurturey PinkBook aims to guide and support mothers via trusted sources such as the NHS library. Additionally, information via Pointers, FAQ’s help mothers have that extra edge to consistently stay on top of their and their children’s needs.
Making Sure You’re Taking Care of Yourself
‘Healthy mama means healthy baby’ should be your mantra for those first few months. It can be hard but try not to lose track of your own diet and exercise while breastfeeding, reach out to your physician or midwife as many times as needed (there’s no right or wrong here!) and make time to relax from time to time to avoid postpartum fatigue. Be patient with yourself and utilize this time to bond with your little one, the rest will fall into place as long as you yourself are well rested and nourished.