It’s a mother’s choice whether to breastfeed or use formula. Health experts believe that breast milk offers the best nutrition to a baby as well as antibodies that protect the baby from infections, prevents allergies and childhood diabetes. However, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women, and there’s a variety of options to help to make sure your baby receives the right nourishment. Visit your local Alphega pharmacist who will be able to help you with further advice on breastfeeding and the alternatives.
Why should I breastfeed?
Whether a mother breastfeeds or bottle feeds this time together helps to develop a special bond between mother and baby. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that exclusive breast feeding is the best form of nutrition for babies. It’s best to start immediately after birth and continue for at least six months. Breast milk is best because:
It contains the appropriate balance and concentration of nutrients in a form that is easy to digest, convenient and no special equipment or sterilising is needed
It contains antibodies produced by the mother. These protect the baby from infections such as gastro-enteritis and chest and ear infections. The antibodies can also help to protect the baby from allergies such as eczema and from childhood diabetes
For a mother, it can help her to lose much of the weight gained during pregnancy by using up her fat stores
Breast feeding can also reduce the mother's risk of certain cancers (ovarian and breast) and reduce the risks of osteoporosis and fractured hips
There is less risk of the baby being overweight
It helps reduce the mother's uterus to normal size after pregnancy
A guide to how to position your baby to breastfeed
Breast feeding tips
Breast feeding may feel uncomfortable at first, but this usually eases as the feed continues, and should stop altogether after the first week or two
Find a feeding position that feels comfortable. Remember to keep the baby close and facing you - the baby shouldn't need to twist or stretch. The baby's head, shoulders and body should be in a straight line
Always bring the baby to your breast and not the other way round
The baby's nose should be level with the nipple, to encourage a slight tilting of the chin for optimum swallowing
If you need to support your breast, place your fingers flat on your ribcage, where the breast and ribs meet, with your thumb uppermost
The nipple should not be pulled out of shape in any way as it goes into the baby's open mouth
The whole nipple and much of the areola (darker tissue surrounding the nipple) should be in the baby's mouth to maximise the flow of milk
Source: La Leche League GB
For more information speak to your local Alphega pharmacist.
Support for Breastfeeding mothers
Caring for a newborn baby is a full-time role for a mother and it’s a time when a helping hand and support from close family and friends will be welcomed. The biggest challenges for any mother are:
getting enough sleep
keeping up with basic household chores
lack of emotional support
isolation – especially when a mother’s baby is nursing all the time and waking at night. This is a time when a mother might need emotional and practical support – remember to ask – there are always ways to help.
Remember to keep it simple: babies love cuddles, play, walks in the fresh air and being around people. All these activities are great ways to bond with a baby and share in their care.
It’s a mother’s choice whether to breastfeed or use formula. Health experts believe that breast milk offers the best nutrition to a baby as well as antibodies that protect the baby from infections, prevents allergies and childhood diabetes. However, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women, and there’s a variety of options to help to make sure your baby receives the right nourishment. If you need any advice or information, visit your local Alphega pharmacist who will be happy to help. Find your local Alphega Pharmacy by searching here.