Breastfeeding tips for new mums from lactation consultant Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin
A must-read article for valuable advice on breastfeeding your little one...
When you are pregnant, you read up on everything there is to know about looking after your new baby. One very important topic mums-to-be research on is breastfeeding.
Parenting books often make breastfeeding seem simple. Definitely for some mums, nursing their newborn comes naturally and without major problems. However, for other mums, breastfeeding may pose some challenges.
Often, mums who struggle with breastfeeding tend to give up. Most are worried that their baby might not be getting enough milk, or because they think they are just not getting it ‘right’.
However, with the advice and guidance of an experienced lactation consultant, there is no need to end your breastfeeding journey before it even begins.
It is possible to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months, which is the World Health Organization’s recommendation, and even continue for as long as you wish.
Lactation Consultant and Parentcraft Instructor Ms Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Novena gives some very valuable tips and advice for mums who might be struggling with breastfeeding. Mums-to-be who want to learn more about nursing their little ones will also find this interview valuable.
Is there anything mums can do before their baby is born to ensure their milk will kick in?
Not during pregnancy. But do ensure that your nipples are soft and protruding and there is no dry skin. If you are not sure, please speak to a lactation consultant for help.
What are your top tips on helping a newborn baby latch on properly?
It’s best to try and master the skill in the hospital before you are discharged. Also, put your baby to your breasts frequently immediately after birth. You can also ask the nurses to check on the latching and positioning if you are not sure.
What’s the easiest breastfeeding position for new mums?
There’s really no such position and it depends on what suits you and your baby. First, try to hold the baby correctly and build up your confidence in handling a newborn. It’s also important that your partner also learns how to hold your newborn, and learns things like how to burp the little one.
How do you prevent getting problems such as blocked ducts and mastitis? If you get them, what can you do about them?
Start breastfeeding early, have your newborn room-in with you and continue breastfeeding on demand.
When your breasts are filled up with milk, your baby must be able to latch on and suck correctly. Empty each breast during each breastfeeding session before moving on to the next session.
Blocked ducts are cause by engorgement, followed by mastitis if it is not treated.
Do take engorgement seriously. If your breast milk is not flowing well, do not try to use electrical pump as your first resort to getting the milk out, but allow the baby to remove the milk.
Try to breastfeed your baby every 2 hours until your breasts are softer and milk starts to flow.
Hand expression is actually more efficient in removing the breast milk than using an electrical pump during the hospital stay. The electrical pump is only useful when a newborn for whatever reason, is not able to breastfeed directly.
Are there any foods or supplements nursing mums can take to boost their amount of breast-milk?
While stimulating and emptying the breasts frequently is recommended to increase supply, Fenugreek is a common supplement for breastfeeding in Singapore.
What are your top tips for continuing breastfeeding your child beyond the age of 1 (extended breastfeeding)?
The World Health Organization recommends you breastfeed your baby for 2 years in order to get all the benefits for both baby’s and mum’s health.
If you are a working mother, find out whether your working environment is baby friendly. If not, speak to your supervisor and colleagues to seek their support.
Ensure your refrigerator is in good condition to store your expressed breastmilk.
Is it safe to breastfeed a child while you are pregnant?
Yes it is. We have seen a mother breastfeed her first child until delivery day!
Can a mum breastfeed an older child and a newborn at the same time?
Yes, but always breastfeed your newborn first as your milk composition will be best for him/her rather than your older child.
What are your top tips for a mother who wants to continue breastfeeding after she returns to work?
Allow your baby to breastfeed directly whenever possible and pump regularly around the clock to maintain your milk supply.
You should not be over-stressed about pumping at work, so do ask your supervisor and colleagues to support you in your breastfeeding journey.
Mums, we hope these tips are useful to you in your breastfeeding journey. Remember to persevere and do not hesitate to contact a lactation consultant or your doctor if you encounter any issues with breastfeeding.