The World Health Organization states that if all children were breastfed within an hour of birth, exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and then continued to be breastfed (in addition to other food) up to the age of two, over 800,000 child lives would be saved annually.
This is why we ALL need to become breastfeeding advocates.
The anthropologist Dana Raphael explored breastfeeding and postpartum care in nearly 200 different cultures. She discovered that women and families that had more support were more likely to breastfeed easier. It’s really important that anyone supporting families in the early days and weeks are also supportive of breastfeeding.
It’s quite normal for a newborn to feed every 2-3 hours around the clock. This helps to establish milk supply. Babies also have a very small stomach so they need to feed this frequently. This is biologically normal and anyone around new parents needs to understand that breastfed babies will be feeding 8-12 times a day.
Understanding the signs that baby is full/happy may help parents feel reassured they are doing the right thing. Baby is probably content if they appear more relaxed/sleepy when they stop suckling. In the early weeks, we expect around 6+ wet nappies and 3+ poo nappies every 24 hours.
It’s also good to remember that babies seek comfort and connection not just food. For a baby this young, it’s normal and healthy to be feeding every couple of hours.
In the early days, parents may need space to adjust to being a new family. It is important that the newborn is spending lots of time with their primary carers. Family members could help in other ways like bathing or dressing the baby and making meals or doing housework.
I encourage my clients to trust their intuition when it comes to feeding their baby. But sometimes, a little professional help can make the world of difference. Questions may come up, or some suggestions for different things to try could be really helpful. Rather than relying on grandparents or family members for advice, it’s probably best to ask a lactation professional. Some advice from family members is outdated, so asking a lactation consultant or lactation counsellor what is evidence based and current will be more helpful.
New mothers may not have the bandwidth or headspace to have conversations with well-meaning visitors. This is where the partner or support person can step in. It can be difficult when family or friends comment on breastfeeding and may put doubt in the parents’ minds.
Instead, thank the visitors for the helpful things they have done, outline other ways they could be helpful and also reassure them that you have professional lactation support for any issues.
New parents need to feel well looked after and supported. Reassurance is helpful and reminding them to trust their intuition is key. We need to protect the breastfeeding relationship and nurture confidence in new parents. Let’s raise the breastfeeding rates and save more lives.
If you are in the Northern Rivers area of Northern NSW you are welcome to attend our Lismore lactation community clinic and breastfeeding support group.
You can save your spot and find out more information --> HERE
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