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By NUH Women’s Centre

 

Breastfeeding

 

Congratulations if you have decided to breastfeed your newborn as that is the recommended infant
feeding method.

 

Breast milk is the best for babies. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for
the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a
negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods
while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to
use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

 

Remember the 3 E's to successful breastfeeding.

• Early breastfeeding assures you the best chance possible to establish a breastfeeding relationship

with your baby and also makes sure you have a consistent milk supply.

• Every breastfeed will ensure that your baby gets to stimulate your milk production.

• Effective breastfeeding means that you have experienced no discomfort or pain when you

breastfeed.

 

Please talk to our trained lactation team if you experience any pain, discomfort or difficulties. They can
provide help and advice to ensure that you breastfeed comfortably and properly. It takes time and patience
but you can do it with confidence.

 

If your baby cries a lot, it may not be because he or she is not getting enough milk or that you are not
producing enough to satisfy him or her. It is important to ensure that the latch has been comfortable and that
the baby has enough urine and stool output. Please contact your lactation support in the hospital when in
doubt.

 

If your breasts become engorged, express some milk to be used later. This will allow your partner to feed
the baby too. Some women, despite all their efforts, suffer cracked nipples and infections. Please inform
your obstetrician if you are running a fever, have bleeding nipples or painful breasts.

 

Breastfeeding for Working Mothers

 

1. For working mothers who still want to breastfeed, how can they express their milk at the workplace as efficiently and mess-free as possible?

 

Going back to work should not prevent mothers from continuing to give breast milk to their babies. Mothers
should breastfeed their babies before leaving for work and as soon as they return home. They should also
express their breast milk regularly during working hours to maintain their milk supply and to prevent breast
engorgement. Pumping at three-hourly intervals will be ideal but may not be practical so at least twice in a
normal 8-hour shift.

 

Methods for expressing breast milk vary for individuals and mothers should see if they are more comfortable
using electric pumps, manual pumps, or direct hand expression although a hospital-grade electric pump may
be most efficient.

 

Other equipment required includes containers, breast pads, an insulated carrier bag with ice packs, and
access to a chiller or refrigerator. There is no need to chill the breast milk if it is to be used within six hours.
Labels to indicate the time and date of expression is a good idea if the milk is not to be used straightaway.

Mothers will have to find a place that will allow them privacy to comfortably express their breast milk. These
sessions usually last between 15 to 30 minutes (actual duration may vary between individuals). It is thus
a good idea to inform their colleagues so that they will not misunderstand the regular breaks taken for
pumping and to avoid unexpected interruptions.

 

2. In public places such as restaurants, what is the best procedure to breastfeeding with minimal hiccups or embarrassment?

 

Being prepared by wearing blouses designed for breastfeeding mothers is a good idea as this will allow
mothers to breastfeed discretely wherever they are.

 

Some mothers use scarves to drape over their babies during breastfeeding for added modesty. Asking the
restaurant staff for a quiet corner may be another option.

 

Many public places also have parents' rooms for breastfeeding and nappy changes.

 

Whatever they choose to do, women should never be embarrassed to breastfeed their babies.
Breastfeeding mothers should be secure in the knowledge that they are providing the best possible nutrition
for their little ones.

 

Post-natal Care

 

In the post-natal ward, trained nurses assist the mothers in breastfeeding their babies. Daily parent-craft
classes in the post-natal wards teach the patient and any other caregivers the necessary know-how to look
after the newborn, namely, bathing the baby, changing the diaper, taking care of the umbilical cord and so
on.

 

Besides, mothers are taught perineal hygiene and breast care. Counselors from the Department of
Psychological Medicine also give talks on ‘Emotional health of the mother'.

 

Our complimentary Lactation Consultation Service is offered to our patients in the wards.

 

If you wish to speak with a Lactation Consultant on breastfeeding enquiries, you can contact our 24-hour
hotline at (65) 9722 0376 free of charge. Personal consultation appointment can also be made at the same
number.

 

This featured article is contributed by the NUH Women’s Centre, National University Hospital. Please visit
www.nuhgynae.com.sg to read more.

 

 

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