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I Make Milk, What's Your Superpower?

super-mom

To breast feed or not to breast feed that is the question!

Making the decision to breastfeed is a personal matter. It’s also one that’s likely to draw strong opinions from friends and family. But you and your baby are unique, and the decision is up to you.

Benefits for your baby

breast-feeding-babyBreast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat, everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding is said to lower your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, tend to have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhoea. They also tend to have fewer hospitalisations and trips to the doctor.

Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. What’s more, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than becoming overweight children.

And the great benefits for Mums

Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding is said to lower your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may even lower your risk of osteoporosis, too.

Correct posture

The best position for you is the one where you and your baby are both comfortable and relaxed, and you don’t have to strain to hold the position to keep nursing. Here are our top 3 positions for breastfeeding your baby:

Cradle position

cradle-poisitionRest the side of your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow with his whole body facing you. Position your baby’s belly against your body so he feels fully supported. Your other, “free” arm can wrap around to support your baby’s head and neck — or reach through your baby’s legs to support the lower back.

Football position

football-positionLine your baby’s back along your forearm to hold your baby like a football, supporting his head and neck in your palm. This works best with newborns and small babies. It’s also a good position if you’re recovering from a cesarean birth and need to protect your belly from the pressure or weight of your baby.

Side-lying position

side-lying-positionThis position is great for night feedings in bed. Side-lying also works well if you’re recovering from an episiotomy, an incision to widen the vaginal opening during delivery. Use pillows under your head to get comfortable. Then snuggle close to your baby and use your free hand to lift your breast and nipple into your baby’s mouth. Once your baby is correctly “latched on,” support your baby’s head and neck with your free hand so there’s no twisting or straining to keep nursing.

Some Tips While Feeding

It’s also important to “check in” every now and then while nursing. I think it’s perfectly natural to want to enclose around your beautiful baby. And I don’t believe you have to “sit up straight” whilst nursing. But even as you feel yourself drawn down toward your baby, here are a few tips to keep your own body happy:
Even if you are bending over your baby, try not to collapse into a passive heavy posture. Keep your core active and engaged.

  • Imagine your spine free and almost liquid-like as you hug your baby.
  • Take deep breaths and expand your ribs.
  • Sit on your “sitz bones” (ischial tuberosities) rather than tucking your tailbone under as this creates tension in the lower back.
  • Always remember to bring your baby to you rather than straining your body to the baby. (Using a nursing pillow may be useful.)

Enjoy these moments of connecting and being with your child. It really does go so fast!

twinsIf you would like to know more about the beauty of breast milk and benefits for your baby and yourselves here is some sources to look at;

  • News release, American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Baker, R. Pediatrics, November 2010.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics: “Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.”
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Breastfeeding Your Baby.”

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