Lactation consultant Jani Combrink answers breastfeeding FAQs for nursing mamas and serves up plenty of breastfeeding advice!
Providing advocacy and guidance for breastfeeding mamas, the theme of World Breastfeeding Week is about peer counselling and getting mamas the help they need to sustain breastfeeding past the early baby days. We chat with our own lactation expert, Jani Combrink, to get her breastfeeding advice for nursing mamas, and what can be done to help when problems arise.
I’m really struggling with breastfeeding and thinking about stopping. What advice do you have to keep me going?
To continue or not is entirely your choice. If possible, give yourself an extra week or so to make sure you’ve tried everything and got all the help you need before giving up. There is a surprising amount of help available if you know where to look (Ed note. Singapore mamas can try the fab Stork’s Nest FB page or Mother and Child if you’re looking for b’feeding help). Most issues are relatively simple to fix — if your support person knows enough to help you!
How many times per day can I expect my baby to feed and for how long?
In the beginning, babies feed a lot and usually for a long time! The average initial number of feeds is typically 8-12 times every 24 hours. Babies can feed for up to an hour (or longer!) at a time initially, but some babies feed really fast and can get what they need within minutes. It all depends on the baby, your equipment, the type of delivery, and many other factors.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
If your baby is having enough wet nappies (6 or more) and dirty nappies (4 or more) after the fourth day of life, and if your baby is gaining weight well (back to birth weight by about the end of the second week) your milk is enough.
How do I know when my baby is latched correctly?
If it hurts (even if it looks ‘right’) there is probably something wrong. The right latch is deep, the baby’s mouth is wide open, lips curled out, and (most importantly) it doesn’t hurt.
What can I do about sore and painful nipples when breastfeeding?
The best way to heal sore nipples is to correct the problem, usually the latch. Exposure to fresh air, expressed milk smeared over the nipple and areola, and sunlight for a few minutes at a time throughout the day is the fastest way to heal sore nipples.
What can I do to help boost my milk production?
Eat often and well, stay hydrated and rest! Feed your baby as often as necessary (8 to 12 times per 24 hours) and try to get baby to latch deeply. Some foods that can help support your supply are oats, quinoa, alfalfa sprouts and tofu. Many cultures also have foods that anecdotally support breastmilk supply and these usually work well.
When should I seek help from a qualified lactation consultant?
Seek help for any of the following:
- Nipple or breast pain of any kind;
- Poor infant weight gain;
- Lumpy or engorged breasts for longer than 12-24 hours;
- Poor or weak infant suck;
- Poor infant output (wet/dirty nappies);
- Jaundiced infant;
- If you are unsure if things are going well, or if you have received conflicting advice.
Any other advice?
Breastfeeding is an evolving science. It is very important that any help or advice you take on board is based on recent, scientific data. Sometimes all the advice given to new mums can be very conflicting and confusing. Try to seek the help of a qualified International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in such cases and do make it clear what your personal goals are. Every mother and baby is unique and it is particularly important that a plan is devised that suits your baby and your family. Keep seeking second (or even third opinions) if you are unsure. There is support available if you need it. It may sometimes be hard to get off to a good start, but with perseverance it is possible and totally worth the effort. Hard work in the beginning will guarantee an easy journey!
Jani Combrink is a qualified lactation consultant, creator of the hugely popular Facebook support group, Stork’s Nest and mama to 3 little boys! What Jani doesn’t know about breastfeeding and supporting new mums isn’t worth knowing! You can contact Jani through Mother and Child at Tanglin Mall.