Breastfeeding and Self-care

Updated: Sep 3

It is incredible to learn that three out of five newly-born children are not breastfed in the first hour of their life. A large number of new moms would rather give formula to their babies instead of breastmilk, or interrupt breastfeeding after a couple of months. The reasons they give are fear of pain, the effect of the breastfeeding on their breasts, and the need to start working as soon as possible.

Breastfeeding is not only healthy for the child but also for the mother. It creates a connection that will perdure through the years, initiation a unique relationship between them.


Benefits of Breastfeeding


Breastmilk is the most nutritious food that babies can have during the first six months of their lives. According to the World Health Organization, breastmilk "is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses".

Even as they grow up and start eating other foods and vegetables, breastmilk will continue giving them vitamins and nutrients that can't be found in any other food.

Children that receive breastmilk since the first hour of their life are more protected from illnesses like diabetes and suffering obesity. They also do better on intelligence tests. As for the mother, breastfeeding helps her prevent ovarian and breast cancer.





Dangers of breastfeeding incorrectly


When the baby can't latch correctly to the breast, or when the mother leaves a lot of time between breastfeeding, there can be clogged milk ducts, which means that the milk is blocked and it can't flow to the baby. Clogged milk ducts "can cause swelling, redness, and pain in the area of the breast where they develop" (January 10, 2020). It can provoke problems for the mother, and the baby will stress for not being able to eat.



How to avoid clogged milk ducts


There are different methods to prevent the causes of blocked milk, and also return the normal flow of the milk if the ducts are plugged.


-Heat:

You can put a warm wet towel on the breast, including the armpit area for 10 minutes at a time. Or, you can soak the breasts in a bowl with warm water for 10 minutes.


-Hand Expression:

You can hand pump the milk by using your fingers and thumb in a C shape, massage your breast starting away from the areola, and move them to the nipple. You will know that you are doing right when you get a spray of milk doing this exercise. If you apply compression with heat to the breast, you stimulate and imitate the warmth of the baby's mouth, which can help the process.


-Electronic pump:

Using an electronic milk pump after nursing, which is producing a sucking effect.


-Position:

Changing positions to make the baby’s chin or nose points toward the clogged duct. It will be easier to loosen the milk and drain the duct.


-Massage:

Massaging the clog with gentle pressure, beginning just above it and pushing down and out toward the nipple. It will work even better when you massage during nursing.


Please try to do self-care breast massage every day for at least 5 minutes. Please check the picture as below: 5 steps: PHAST.



If you can do the PHAST massage every time before feeding or pumping, it will be even better.


Four Important Steps for Nursing

-Bra:

Please don’t wear a bra at home. If you have to wear a bra, please choose a 100% cotton wireless bra.


-Sleeping:

Please try not to add more pressure on your breasts during sleeping, such as your hands, arms and pillows.



Conclusion


It is essential to learn how to breastfeed your baby, and how to self-care about yourself. Breastfeeding is a healthy practice and will keep both the mother and the newly-born in good health. Breast massages help stimulate the continuous flow of the milk, preventing clogged milk ducts that can cause pain and stress to the mother and her baby.



#breastfeeding

#nursing

#milkpump

#breastmassage

#selfcare


References:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/breastfeeding

https://www.verywellfamily.com/plugged-milk-ducts-causes-treatments-and-prevention-431586

https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/hand-expressing/

https://www.medela.com/breastfeeding/mums-journey/how-to-use-breast-pump

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