What is breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is when a woman feeds her baby breast milk directly from her breast. It is also known as nursing. Making the decision to breastfeed your baby is a personal matter and one that is likely to draw opinions from family and friends. Medical experts, including the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months without giving the baby formula, juice or water. After the introduction of other foods, it recommends continuing to breastfeed through the baby’s first year of life.

Signs that your baby is hungry:

The most common sign that your baby will show to alert lets you know that they are hungry is to cry. Other signs may include:

  • Gold StarLicking their lips
  • Gold StarSticking out their tongue
  • Gold StarMoving their jaw, mouth, or head to look for your breast is called rooting.
  • Gold StarPutting their hand in their mouth
  • Gold StarOpening their mouth
  • Gold StarFussiness
  • Gold StarSucking on things

What are the benefits of breastfeeding your baby?

Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants as it has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, fat and protein that the baby needs in order to grow properly. It is also easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that assist the baby’s body immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, and it helps lower the baby’s risk of asthma or allergies. Babies who have breastfed exclusively for the first six months after birth, without the substitute of formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and periods of diarrhoea. Plus, they also have fewer trips to the doctor and hospitalisations. Breastfed babies are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow.

Breastfeeding helps mothers burn extra calories, helping them lose pregnancy weight faster. It also helps the mother’s body release the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to its normal pre-pregnancy size and may also reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Dr Nsele helps guide mothers through different approaches to breastfeeding.


Will I produce enough milk to breastfeed?

The first few days after giving birth, your breasts may produce an ideal "first milk”, called colostrum. Colostrum is the thick, yellowish fluid that the breast produce. There's not enough of it; however, there is plenty for the baby’s nutritional needs. You will start producing transitional milk in a few days after giving birth. Mature milk is only produced after 10 – 15 days. As your baby needs more milk and nurses, your breasts respond by making more milk.

What are some of the common challenges with breastfeeding?
>p class="no-margin">The most common challenges with breastfeeding include:

  • Gold StarSore nipples
  • Gold StarDry, cracked nipples
  • Gold StarWorries about producing enough milk
  • Gold StarPumping and storing milk
  • Gold StarInverted nipples
  • Gold StarBlocked ducts
  • Gold StarBreast infection
  • Gold StarStress
  • Gold StarPremature babies not being able to breastfeed right away.
When can one not breastfeed her child?

There are a few situations where breastfeeding could be harmful to the baby, such as:

  • Gold StarThe mother is HIV positive, as this may result in the mother passing the HIV virus to the baby.
  • Gold StarThe mother has active, untreated tuberculosis.
  • Gold StarThe mother is receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
  • Gold StarThe mother is using illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana.
  • Gold StarThe mother is taking certain prescription medication such as some drugs for migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis.
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When should my child see a Paediatrician

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Visits with your paediatrician should begin as soon as your child is born. This allows you to become familiar with your child’s doctor, and also allows your child’s health to be monitored from an early age.

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