Becoming a parent can be very overwhelming. There is a lot to prepare for, especially if you plan on breastfeeding. Soreness, engorgement, plugged ducts – these are all common problems that mothers face. There are many common breastfeeding questions every mother asks.
Understanding the basics of breastfeeding is key to giving your baby the best start in life, so we sat down with Dr. Wong Boh Boi, Deputy Director (Clinical) and Senior ParentCraft Educator from Thomson Medical Centre, at the Philips Avent Breastfeeding 101 event, to get the best tips for breastfeeding and managing fever in infants – another common question for new parents.
1. How do I manage twins during breastfeeding?
Dr. Wong: The most important thing is to always have enough rest when you are breastfeeding twins. Always start off by feeding one first before moving on to the other. Feed them one at a time and go slowly – take your time to get the hang of things.
When you are more comfortable with the process, try feeding both of them at the same time. One crucial tip is do not lean forward as it will affect milk flow, leading to other complications as well. Breastfeeding twins can be challenging, but it will get better with time!
2. Is there a limit to how much milk a baby can take in? How long should each breastfeeding session take?
Dr. Wong: This is a very good question that I get all the time. Most often, babies will leave behind one-third of your breast milk. What I would suggest is to start off by pumping about 100ml of milk first – babies are likely to be able to take in that amount. You can store the excess in the freezer. For newborns, I would usually suggest feeding the baby for 5 to 10 minutes on each side.
3. Are there any foods to avoid during breastfeeding?
Dr. Wong: When I first returned to Singapore from the U.K., I was shocked at the breastfeeding myths I heard about. Almost every mother I met told me they had learned to avoid eating cabbage while breastfeeding as it may lead to “wind” or bloating. When I did my research, I learned that cabbage can actually help enhance milk for mums when it is blended and put into a drink.
There are no specific foods you should avoid – it is all about moderation. Another common question I get from mothers is – what about coffee? You can definitely enjoy coffee while breastfeeding, as long as it is in moderation. It is not about the frequency of your coffee intake, but rather the amount you take in.
4. Does milk supply drop after engorgement?
Dr. Wong: Yes. Usually, one of two things will happen with breast engorgement. One is that the breast will feel very heavy, you pump to ease it, and it goes away. If you do nothing, your milk supply will drop the next day. The second situation is that you might feel throbbing pain in your breasts and yet no milk is produced. In this case, cabbage leaves are very useful and can help a lot with the soreness. Rinse the leaf under water and place it in the fridge. Once it is sufficiently cool, cut it into a circle and put it on your skin – this can help you to heal. It also reduces soreness and prevents breast pads from sticking to your skin. Proper care is essential when you breastfeed to ensure a continuous milk supply!
5. How to prevent baby colic?
Dr. Wong: Over-consumption of any food when breastfeeding can cause baby colic, for instance ginger, a commonly used remedy to relieve gas. ‘Evening colic’ does not occur till two weeks after delivery and babies can cry from the evening till late at night or in some rare cases, from midnight till the wee hours in the morning.
Here are some ways to comfort a colicky baby. At just two-months old, a baby’s brain, neck and muscles are well-developed. However, when carrying newborns less than 2 months old, you should always support the neck instead of just the baby’s head alone – this is called the “C hold”. Next, the baby’s jaw should also be support and parents should take note to not dig their fingers excessively into a baby’s jaw or risk choking the baby. Alternatively, what parents could do is what we call a “chest exercise” where baby’s hands are opened widely across and raised above their head. The same exercises can be done for babies’ legs as well. Another option is to place mother’s hands on top of each other and rub baby’s tummy for comfort. Should baby be crying profusely, parents can also try holding them in different positions to provide comfort such as the “football position” or place baby facing downwards on their tummy on your lap and gently rub their back.
For more information, visit Philips Avent, the world’s leading mother and childcare brand.
Courtesy: Thomson Medical Centre