Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A Great Latch....

Good quality, timely support is absolutely necessary to help mothers to have the breastfeeding experience that they want.

We know that of mothers that stopped breastfeeding before 6 months, the vast majority wished that they had continued. The reasons they cite for stopping being pain and failure to thrive among others.

Pain is so not necessary in breastfeeding. It's quite often unfortunately that a breastfeeding counsellor will be called to support a mother with cracked, sore and bleeding nips. You can't help feeling that earlier support may well have avoided the issue. Getting a great latch early on is key.

Remember that a baby born after 34 weeks has the ability to breastfeed. Babies who are born and put onto their mothers tummies and 'left to it' will find their way and rather helpfully latch themselves on.

They don't worry about mummy sitting bolt upright clutching them in a vice like grip and cradle hold, they simply want mummy to be relaxed and all parts of her body supported. Using their natural instincts, quite a bit of bobbing around etc, and then with a big open mouth, they'll latch on. No specific direction, just let the baby lead the way.

Mothers have reported less incidents of pain this way so give it a go. Try it at a time when baby is relaxed and only demonstrating the very early infant feeding cues.

Above all, ring someone, get someone to come visit you and get the support you need. Nipple pain is horrible so give yourself a fighting chance of avoiding it.

Failure to thrive...
A favourite of the 'chart brigade' this one is used to frequently guilt mothers into formula feeding exclusively or topping up.

If the baby doesn't seem to me putting on weight and is not moving up the chart in a consistent manner then there is a chance you'll hear this phrase. It's a horrible phrase actually, to me implies some dirt of failure on my part which is simply not the case. But why might a baby fail to put on weight?

The first thing to look at is the latch. Is it good? Is baby breastfeeding efficiently? If a baby isn't feeding efficiently its quite possible that they will out on weight slower.

Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis, so the more you breastfeed the more you will supply.

Both these things can be addressed by early support for a great latch. Breastfeeding counsellors are not just here for when you're in bad pain through breastfeeding, we're here to support you to actually avoid that pain and heartache.
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