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Breastfeeding When I’m Sick

breastfeeding, sick

Do I stop breastfeeding when I’m sick?

As a new mummy who already has enough on your plate, falling sick when you are breastfeeding your newborn can be scary. Should I stop breastfeeding when I’m sick? Why is my milk supply dropping? Will my baby fall sick too? Can I eat medicine while I’m breastfeeding?

Don’t worry mummies! It is generally safe for you to continue breastfeeding even when you are sick, and we will tell you why.

 

How does breast milk change when I am sick?

Your breast milk changes when you are sick. When you fall sick, your body makes antibodies to fight the illness, and the antibodies are then passed on to your baby through your breast milk. 

Your milk also consists of immunity-boosting cells, which increase in number whenever your baby is sick and helps to fight diseases. 

 

How is this beneficial to babies?

By the time you realize that you are sick, your baby has already been exposed to the illness. Remember that you and your baby share the same immune system. Continuing to breastfeed will give your baby the antibodies he or she needs to protect them. 

On the reverse side, when your baby falls sick before you, they will pass those germs to you through nursing, and within the breast itself you begin making antibodies and pass them back to the baby.

 

Stop nursing or continue?

In general, if you are feeling okay, there is no reason for you to stop nursing! In fact, nursing provides fluids and nutrition when your baby finds it hard to digest other food and drinks. To stop breastfeeding would stop them from receiving protection from the antibodies that you have begun passing through your breast milk. 

 

What are the illnesses that require me to stop nursing?

There are a few conditions where breastfeeding is not encouraged. 

For more information on breastfeeding when you have specific diseases or illnesses, do visit websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov) or the World Health Organization (who.int/eng). 

Do remember to seek medical advice about your condition and whether it is best to continue or stop breastfeeding. 

 

Recovery

The bottom line is there are very few illnesses that would require you to stop breastfeeding. Nursing would provide your baby with essential nutrients that they need to recover, as well as serving as an excellent pain relief. 

Don’t worry too much if you see your milk supply dropping slightly when you are sick, especially if you are vomiting or have diarrhea. Drink enough liquids to stay hydrated and your milk supply will increase as you recover!

If you have to take medications, most medications do not interfere with breastfeeding.

Get as much rest as possible and have a diet rich in vitamin D, antioxidants, zinc, and omega-3 fats. These nutrients can help to keep your immune system in good shape! It is important for you to stay healthy so that you can recover quickly and tend to your baby.

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Weaning: how to stop breastfeeding

weaning, breastfeeding

When’s the right time to stop breastfeeding?

It is recommended that you start offering solid foods when your baby is around 6 months old. The 4–6-month window is the most optimal to reduce the chances of your baby developing a food allergy. However, do look out for the following signs to indicate that your baby is ready to eat solids:

  • Your baby can hold their head up
  • They can sit up well in the support of their highchair
  • Your child shows interest in mealtimes and food
  • They can move food to the back of their tongue and swallow

If you’re unsure, please make sure to check with your doctor.

After you’ve introduced solids, you can start weaning them or continue to breastfeed you baby along with other foods until you’re ready to fully wean them.

How to stop breastfeeding

It is important that you do this gradually. Suddenly stopping breastfeeding might lead to engorgement which can be very uncomfortable. You are also at higher risk of developing mastitis or clogged ducts. Thus, you’ll still need to express your milk sometimes. Express just enough for comfort. If you express too much, it won’t reduce your milk supply and the weaning will take longer.

Some mums will go from one feed a day to one feed every few days to reduce the aforementioned symptoms, before stopping breastfeeding altogether.

Night weaning

When your kid is six months old, you can think about night weaning for breastfed babies or phasing out night feeds for bottle-fed babies. Most babies at this stage are getting enough food during the day for healthy growth and development.

However, if you’re comfortable with feeding your baby at night, there’s no hurry to phase out night feeds. It’s good to chat with your doctor prior to weaning to get individual advice.

If night wean, you baby will still get all the benefits of breastmilk if you continue breastfeeding during the day.

If your baby’s nighttime feed is short (less than 5 minutes) you can phase out night feeds by stopping the feed altogether and resettling your baby with your favourite settling technique. Note that it’ll take a few days for your baby to get used to the new routine.

If your feedings last for a longer period of time, you can gradually cut down the length of feeding over 5-7 nights, which will help your baby get used to the change.

Weaning for the baby

You can wean your baby to a cup or a bottle, it depends on your baby’s age. By 7-8 months old, babies can generally learn to drink from a cup.

The age of your baby also determines if you should replace breastmilk with formula or cow’s milk. If your baby is younger than 12 months, you should not offer them cow’s milk. They will need to be weaned onto formula.

Before you start weaning, you need to replace the breastfeed your baby seems the least keen on with expressed breastmilk, infant formula or cow’s milk, from a cup or bottle. Drop one feeding at a time and wait a few days before dropping the next one.

Stopping breastfeeding before six months

If you’re unable to continue breastfeeding until six months and want to try mother-led weaning, start by cutting out one breastfeed a day and replace it with formula.

Ideally, start with the mid-day feed. Be careful and mindful of good hygiene when preparing feeds. Your baby may take fewer feeds of expressed breast milk than from the breast during a 24-hour period. Don’t force them to take more milk than they want.

Once your body is used to this new volume, cut out another feed per day. Repeat until you’re no longer producing milk and your baby is fully weaned.

If you want to maintain the intimacy and health benefits of breastfeeding, but need to cut back, try partial weaning, where only some of the feeds are replaced with formula.

Stopping breastfeeding naturally over time

You can also choose to let your toddler decide when to stop breastfeeding (baby-led weaning or natural-term breastfeeding). The weaning process is likely to be slow and gradual. Over the months, her feeds will become shorter and less frequent, while they might also just lose interest one day.

Your body should have time to adapt, do you’re unlikely to experience any uncomfortable engorgement. You may find it tough emotionally however, so make time for plenty of cuddles and bonding moments.

Stopping breastfeeding quickly

Although this isn’t ideal, sometimes it’s necessary to stop breastfeeding suddenly for health reasons.

You’ll almost certainly need to express milk to avoid your breasts becoming uncomfortably engorged. Only express to easy any discomfort since you don’t want your body to produce more milk.

Your breasts may feel swollen and tender, but they will adapt. However, this may take days or even weeks.

Things to note about weaning

When weaning an older baby or toddler, it’s best to go slowly if you can.

It’s also normal to feed a bit down after your last feed, even if you were looking forward to it.

Your hormones may time some time to return to normal. Some women begin ovulating as soon as they reduce night feeds or begin to wean, while others find that ovulation and menstruation takes a few months.

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Breast shield: Choosing the right one for you

Did you know that breast shields ( flanges) come in different sizes? Many mummy experience inefficient pumping session, and the reason is usually because of wrong breast shield size. Many breast pumps ship with size 27mm or 28mm in Singapore; however, that doesn’t mean that everyone will fit that size (we don’t all wear the same sized shoes, after all). There are breast shields on the market ranging in size from 15mm to 36mm!

Follow this simple guide to determine your breast shield size but first thing first

Pump for 5 minutes, and then measure

It’s a common misunderstanding to measure your nipple before you start pumping, but you actually have to measure the nipple after you pump. The reason is simple. The nipple swells while pumping, and since the rate of swelling varies between women, it’s important to take this swollen measurement to select a comfortable shield size. Grab the shield that came with your pump, assemble it to the milk collection kit and then pump on a low setting for 5 minutes, so the nipple swells. You might even express milk while doing this (if this is your first time pumping, be sure to use the lowest vacuum setting to avoid any pain or discomfort).

Measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple

 

After your nipple has swollen, measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple. Be careful not to include any areola in the measurement. Gently lay a ruler onto the areola next to the base of the nipple so the measurement lines are visible when looking straight at the breast. This can be tricky so some women find that doing it in front of a mirror or using a smart phone in selfie mode is helpful.

Select a shield size 2-3mm larger than your nipple diameter

To allow the nipple to move freely within the flange while pumping and to avoid any pain or discomfort (or worse – blisters!) from rubbing, select a shield size that is 2-3mm larger than the diameter of your nipple. For example, if your nipple measures at 18mm, you would want to try the 20mm shield. It’s important not to go too large either because excess areola can be drawn into the flange, causing discomfort, pain, or even constriction of milk flow.

Signs your breast shield may be too small

  • Painful rubbing of nipple in flange.
  • Nipple not moving freely inside of flange.
  • Redness of the nipple.
  • Whiteness of the nipple and/or a white ring around the base of the nipple.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Signs your breast shield may be too large

  • Excess areola is drawn into the flange or even up and around the nipple. Note that a small amount of areola may enter the flange for some women; however, it should never be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Sensation of pulling and/or pulling pain.
  • Nipple is pulled to the end of the flange.
  • Shield falls from the breast while pumping.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Size that is just nice

  • A properly sized breast shield should be very comfortable.
  • You should barely be able to feel it while pumping.
  • Just a gentle tugging sensation on the nipple and nowhere else.
  • You should not see any excess areola being drawn into the flange
  • Should not feel a pulling sensation or pain while using your breast pump.
  • After your pumping session, your nipple should be free of any redness or whiteness.
  • Pumping should be pain-free

 

Additional factors impacting breast shield size

breast shield

Although the above instructions provide a good indication of the size of breast shield you will need, there are few things to consider:

  • Every woman’s body responds differently to pumping. It is possible your measurements before pumping might change during pumping, therefore we suggest taking measurements of the swollen nipple 5 minutes after pumping.
  • Your measurements might be different throughout the day. For example, you might be fuller in the morning after going a few hours without pumping and/or feeding at night, warranting a larger size. You might also be smaller in the evening after consistent pumping or feeding throughout the day.
  • You might be larger at the beginning of a pumping session, and smaller after some milk has been expressed.
  • Your measurements might change after your milk supply is well-established (about 10 weeks postpartum).
  • One breast may need a different sized breast shield than the other.

However, you should not follow this guideline blindly because the info graphic merely relies on nipple diameter only. In addition to nipple diameter, you should also consider the following factors:

  • Check how your nipple moves while pumping.

The nipple should move freely and it should not rub the side wall of the flange. You may see a little bit of areola gets pulled, but not the whole areola. And your nipple should not hit the back wall of the breast shield.

  • Comfort

Even if you think you already choose the best breast shield size, but you feel uncomfortable / painful while pumping, that means something is not right. Try to size up or down. Nipple redness / or sore feeling after pumping is also an alarm that you may need to choose different breast shield size.

  • Effectiveness of pumping

If you feel you breast is not emptied after pumping, you may suspect that you don’t use the correct breast shield size (note: various factors can affect this, breast shield size is just one of possible reason).

  • Breast tissue / elasticity

Some women has a very elastic tissue so that the skin will get pulled easier. In this case, it is possible that pumping makes nipple get elongated so much until it hits the back wall of the flange. For this case, using breast shield with longer ‘tunnel’, or using smaller insert in bigger breast shield may help.

 

Nipple Ruler

We also found Nipple Ruler by pumpables.co

Simply print it out, fold along the line, and carefully cut out the circles.

The nipple ruler works on both US Letter and A4 paper sizes. Make sure you select “full size” or “100%” in your print menu (don’t “scale to fit”). You can also print it on larger sizes like US Legal or A7, but you might have to trim off the extra

breast shield breast shield

At the end of your pumping session, use the circles to measure the diameter of your nipple at the base. You should select a size that is snug, but not constricting, around your nipple.

breast shield

Here’s another Nipple Ruler we found from MayMom

breast shield

If you have more questions or need further help with breast shield sizing, reach out to a Certified Lactation Consultant. In the long run, it’s worth taking the time to determine the breast shield size that’s right for you. You’ll benefit by maximising your pumping sessions so you can get back to what matters most – the little one you’re pumping for!

Reference
https://pumpables.co/measure/
https://spectra-baby.com.au/measuring-nipple-correct-flange-size/
https://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/article/143/breast-shield-sizing:-how-to-get-the-best-fit

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All about tandem breastfeeding

tandem breastfeeding

Tandem breastfeeding and how to make it work

Breastfeeding can be stressful, but after months of trying to make it work, you finally get the hang of it. You and your baby are both happy and healthy, and suddenly you realise you are pregnant. You’ll probably have a lot of questions. Should you continue nursing? Do you have to wean your baby? Is your milk safe for your baby to consume? In this article, we’ll talk about tandem breastfeeding, why breastfeeding while pregnant is safe, its benefits and some tips on how to make it work! Do remember to check with your doctor regardless of what your decision is.

What is tandem breastfeeding?

Tandem breastfeeding or nursing is breastfeeding more than one child at the same time. For instance, a toddler and a newborn at once.

It’s a common misconception that once you get pregnant, you must stop breastfeeding for the health of you and your baby. However, this isn’t the case. Let’s talk about what breastfeeding while pregnant is actually safer than you think.

Why breastfeeding while pregnant is safe

Development of the unborn baby

Many mummies think that breastfeeding during pregnancy deprives your foetus of its nutrients. This isn’t true if you eat enough! During your second and third trimester, you need to eat an additional 350-450 calories per day, on top of what you need to consume for breastfeeding. This means breastfeeding while pregnant means you need an additional 500 to 650 calories per day. You’ll also need sufficient protein and calcium intake while taking in enough fluids!

Uterine contractions

You’ve probably heard that breastfeeding while pregnant causes contractions and premature labour. The reasoning behind this is that oxytocin, produced and released during breastfeeding stimulates labour.

However, it should be noted that the amount of oxytocin released while pregnant and breastfeeding is a lot less than the amount released when you are breastfeeding but not pregnant. This means that the amount of oxytocin released is not enough to cause your cervix to prematurely dilate or cause contractions.

Miscarriage fears

You may have heard that breastfeeding while pregnant causes miscarriages. But there’s no evidence to support this claim.

Miscarriages can occur due to many factors and oftentimes there is no explanation for one.

Milk compatibility for a nursing child

While it is true that pregnancy hormones pass into your milk, it is not true that they make the milk unsafe for your nursing child. Only a small amount of these hormones pass into your milk and they pose no harm to the child you are breastfeeding while pregnant.

However, your child may decide to wean on their own. In the second trimester, the taste of your milk may change and your nursing child may not like the taste. Your supply will also dip during pregnancy, causing some children to wean themselves.

When you might have to wean

You may have to wean for your and your unborn’s safety. Let your doctor know you are intending on breastfeeding while pregnant so they can best advise you.

  • Pregnancy complications/ high-risk pregnancy
  • Pregnant with twins or multiples
  • Bleeding, contractions or uterine
  • The foetus is not growing well

Now that we’ve established that tandem breastfeeding is safe, let’s talk about some of its benefits!

Benefits of tandem nursing

Increased milk supply

Since breastmilk works on a demand and supply basis, two mouths to feed can cause your milk supply to double! This is to accommodate feeding two children and triggers more milk production.

Connects toddler and baby

Tandem breastfeeding can help to provide a smooth transition for the older child. Sometimes, for the older child, it is hard to adjust to a new baby in the family. Tandem nursing can help to ease the transition and promote sibling bonding with an activity they can do together.

Sometimes, a toddler that has been weaned may want to nurse again after seeing their mum breastfeed the new baby. If you are comfortable with this, it can be a great bonding experience.

Tips for tandem breastfeeding

Drink lots of water and consume lots of calories

As discussed earlier, breastfeeding while pregnant requires lots of extra calories! Tandem breastfeeding is demanding as well, and you will have to continue consuming extra calories. You’ll have to eat well and drink lots of water to keep up with the demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Let your newborn nurse first

During your newborn’s first week of life, you will be producing colostrum, which contains antibodies and is great for the newborn. Let your baby nurse from the fullest breast first and offer your toddler the same breast later. After your milk properly comes in, you don’t have to do that anymore.

However, letting your newborn nurse first is important to make sure they’re getting enough milk to grow well since it’s their only food!

Take care of yourself

Tandem breastfeeding is draining, both emotionally and physically! Your hormones are also going crazy and it takes some time before your hormones balance again. Tandem nursing won’t be the peaceful experience you might imagine.

You’ll need to tend to yourself well, prioritising your sleep, nutrition and hydration. Take breaks from your kids, and lean on your partner if you need support.

Remember to check with your doctor for final advice. Let them know your intention of breastfeeding while pregnant and tandem breastfeeding so they can give good advice and information to you.

 

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Breastfeeding premature babies

breastfeeding, premature

Breastfeeding premature babies

You might be preparing yourself for the probability of your baby being born prematurely, but did you know what you can breastfeed your premature baby?

Most pregnancies last 40 weeks. A premature or pre-term baby is a baby born before the 37th week. Fortunately, thanks to modern medicine, 90% of premature babies survive and go on to live normal lives. Very premature babies are at a higher risk of developmental problems, being born at 23 to 24 weeks. Babies born before 32 weeks may need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until they have developed enough to survive on their own.

Importance of breastmilk for premature babies

Breastmilk is extremely beneficial for newborns. DHA (a fatty acid vital for healthy brain and eye development) and immunoglobulin G (an antibody) are transported from mummy to foetus via the placenta throughout pregnancy. But since premature babies arrive early, they may not have received these important factors. However, the milk from the mums of premature babies contains more fats and immunoglobulin than milk from full-term babies.

Premature babies also have immature gastrointestinal tracts, so they need foods that are easy for them to digest. Breastmilk contains enzymes that help your baby with digestion and helps their intestines mature.

Breastmilk is extremely important for premature babies. You might want to consider donor milk from the milk bank if it is available to you to help to bridge the gap, rather than using formula.

Will I have milk

After the placenta is delivered after the baby is born, your pregnancy hormones drop, triggering colostrum production. Usually, a mum’s milk supply will be triggered by her newborn baby latching onto her breast and sucking, but if your baby comes early, he might not be able to feed at first.

You can reproduce the sensations by stimulating your breast and nipples with your hands or by using a pump, to collect colostrum to give your baby.

What if my preemie can’t feed from the breast?

Many babies born before 34 weeks struggle to coordinate their sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Until they have developed enough to do this, nurses will place a tube into their tummy to feed them. In this case, continue to pump and express milk until you can feed them. Talk to your healthcare professionals to find out how you can give your child breastmilk.

Hospital policy on breastfeeding preemies

Breastmilk is important for the best growth and development for your newborn, and especially so for premature babies. However, there are a few reasons why hospitals don’t encourage it.

Breastfeeding may not be a priority for hospital staff who are focused on other aspects of care;  premature babies often have significant medical problems and needs.

Hospital routines also make it difficult for mothers to establish milk production and get the baby latching well. It’s also a difficult time for mothers, who will be worrying about the baby. Hence, they might not be able to build a good milk supply.

Kangaroo care

Kangaroo care is when parents keep their newborn skin-to-skin against their bare chests for extended periods, as it helps to calm and regulate the baby’s breathing and heartbeat. Preemies with kangaroo care often have better health. If possible, you can even breastfeed your premature baby during kangaroo care.

Looking after yourself

Recovery from pregnancy and birth is not easy, but the added stress from your baby being in the NICU can really make it difficult. It’s important to remember to look after yourself. The more smoothly you recover, the more strength and energy you must be involved in your baby’s care. This is the best time to say yes to as many offers of help as you can. It’ll make things easier for you and keep you going at a difficult time.

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Top 8 questions breastfeeding mummies have

top 8 questions breastfeeding mothers have

Here are the 8 most common questions for new mothers we get — these are some of the answers from our in-house lactation consultant, Joanna

If you’re a new mummy, this won’t be a comprehensive guide, but will hopefully give you some guidance into this brand-new world! And of course, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact your healthcare provider!

Is it normal to only have a small amount of colostrum, the first milk that comes out of the breast?

Yes! Most mums start with just a few drops of colostrum that helps fight infection, which is very important for newborns. This milk can be bright yellow, as it is rich in beta carotene. Mums will produce a few drops of this, to a few teaspoons in the first few days. Over the next few days, as breastfeeding and pumping increase, this milk will turn into transitional milk and change colour.

By week 2, the milk will turn cloudy white as the body introduces water. Breastmilk is 87% water, so your baby gets enough water to stay hydrated.

You may continue seeing elements of colostrum for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding, but this will go away as the breast milk evolves to produce the carbohydrates and other nutrients the baby needs.

Will I have enough milk for my baby?

A common worry for mothers, and a justified one. Most mothers do have enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their baby for however long they wish. In Singapore, mothers are recommended to breastfeed for at least six months if you are able to. However, in many parts of the world, mothers may breastfeed for as long as 3-5 years.

Starting breastfeeding immediately after delivery leads to success and the increased production of breast milk. In the first week, the volume of breast milk will increase to satisfy the baby’s hunger.

However, if you are concerned about your supply there are many other methods you can try to increase your milk supply.

Is breastfeeding painful?

Breastfeeding should not be painful, but there might be some discomfort while both you and your infant are getting used to it. When there is a proper latch, the baby’s tongue and gums will massage the milk ducts on the areola which will lead to proper breastfeeding and milk production. On the other hand, if your baby has an improper latch, on the nipple, for example, it will cause low milk production and pain.

If breastfeeding is painful for you, be sure to check with a lactation consultant or your doctor.

If I use a breast pump, how long can I store my breast milk?

Generally:

  • fridge: 5 days
  • standard freezer: 3-6 months
  • deep freezer: 6-12 months

When thawed, it is good for 24 hours. Most mums store the breast milk in storage bags, which are typically provided with the breast pump and have a place to write the time and date you pumped it.

How long should I breastfeed?

You should breastfeed as long as they feel comfortable with it. The recommendation is to breastfeed for at least 6 months, and if possible to continue until the baby is 2 years old.

You can introduce appropriate forms of solids to infants any time after 4 completed months, and before 6 months. This helps to introduce infants to new tastes, textures and the development of feeding skills. Milk should be the main source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life.

By 1 to 2 years of age, toddlers should be getting more and more of their calories from food rather than milk.

What do I need for breastfeeding?

You may wish to get some of the following items:

Nursing bra: the cups come with clips so you can breastfeed your baby without having to remove your bra. For a better fit, get the bra in your last trimester.

Breast pads: these are placed inside your bra to absorb leakage from your breasts, especially when they are full, or if you are expressing only from one side.

Nursing wear: these are designed with cleverly hidden openings to make it easier for you to breastfeed in public

Breast pump: they are available in single and double pumps which can be either hand-operated or electric. This is a good investment as you can express and freeze your excess milk and reheat it later. This is a necessity for mums returning to work.

Breast milk containers or bags: lets you store and freeze your milk

How does breastfeeding work while I’m at work?

You don’t have to stop breastfeeding just because you are returning to work! Your baby can be fully breastfed even while you’re at the office.

  • Two weeks before your maternity leave ends, start expressing and storing your milk
  • Feed your baby just before you go to work, and as soon as you return home.
  • While at work, express and store your breast milk in the fridge (usually at lunch break and just before leaving)

Is it normal to not get my period while breastfeeding?

Having a baby causes many hormonal changes in your body, so it’s common to not have a menstrual cycle while breastfeeding. Over time, your body will return to a normal cycle. Everyone’s body is different, so there’s no set period of time which you’ll get your period again. However, a lot of mums get their period again around the same time they start introducing solids to their babies and sleeping more.

 

 

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Why is my baby not gaining weight?

Why is my baby not gaining weight?

Why is my baby not gaining weight? And should I be worried?

If you exclusively breastfeed your baby, usually your baby will gain weight consistently if they latch well and feed often. However, if you’re breastfeeding and your baby is not gaining weight or is gaining weight slowly, they might not be getting enough milk.

Newborn babies should take in about 44-60ml of breast milk every 3 hours. Premature babies need more milk than term babies. Generally, your newborn can lose up to 10% of their body weight during the first 5 days of life. By the time they are 10 days to 2 weeks old, they should regain the weight they lost. After that, they should be gaining about 30g per day.

It is important to understand that every baby is different, and some babies just grow more slowly than others. If you are bringing your baby for regular checkups to the pediatrician and they don’t see an issue, then your baby’s weight is likely not a cause of concern. However, if this is a concern for you, always make sure to check with your pediatrician so they can advise your or provide you with ease of mind.

There are some reasons for a slow weight gain. If your baby is not getting enough milk to gain weight consistently, your pediatrician or a certified lactation consultant can help you find the problem and fix it.

Reasons for poor weight gain

Generally, there are 3 reasons as to why your baby is not gaining weight: not taking in enough calories, not absorbing calories or burning too many calories. This could be a result of intestinal issues, which means that they are unable to absorb calories well. Some kids also use a lot of calories due to certain health issues or being born prematurely.

Poor latch

A good latch allows your child to take in breast milk from your breast without getting tired or frustrated. If there is poor latch, or latching on to just your nipple, they won’t be feed very well or easily.

Infrequent breastfeeding

Breastfeed your newborn at least every 2-4 hours throughout the day and night for the first six to eight weeks. If they want to breastfeed more often, put them back to the breast.

Short nursing sessions

Newborns should breastfeed about 8-10 minutes on each side. As they grow older, they won’t need to breastfeed as long to get the breast milk out. However, during the first few weeks, try to keep your baby awake and actively sucking for as long as you can.

Pain or discomfort

If your baby is not comfortable because of a birth injury or an infection in their mouth, they may not breastfeed well, which causes poor weight gain.

Low or delayed milk supply

Some mothers have their milk come in quite late. Other mothers may experience low milk supply, which causes the child to have less milk when they breastfeed.

Learning curve

Some babies take a little longer than others to learn how to coordinate sucking, breathing and swallowing.

Sleepy baby

Newborns can be sleepy and not want to finish the whole nursing session, meaning that they don’t take in enough calories.

Risk factors

Some babies are more likely to face difficulties while breastfeeding. When a child is at risk for breastfeeding difficulties, the chances of growing and gaining weight at a slower pace are higher. Here are some of the risk factors that may affect your baby’s weight gain.

Being born premature or near term

Babies that are born before 37 weeks may not have the strength or energy to breastfeed for a long enough time to get all the breastmilk they need. They are also more likely to be sleepy and experience medical issues.

Oral challenges

It may be difficult for babies to latch on if their mother has hard, engorged breasts/ large nipples. However, infants with small mouths or physical issues like a tongue-tie or a cleft lip can have latching troubles regardless.

Jaundice

Babies with this medical condition makes them very sleepy and not interested in breastfeeding.

Reflux

Infants with reflux spit up or vomit after feedings. This causes them to lose milk from feeding and the acid from the reflux can irritate their throat and esophagus, which makes it painful to breastfeed.

Illness

Infants with an illness or an infection may not breastfeed well. They may not gain weight, or they might even lose weight.

Neurological issues

Neurological issues can impede their ability to latch and nurse properly.

Failure to thrive

Sometimes, if a child shows continued growth deficiency, they may become undernourished, which may be then diagnosed as failure to thrive. This could lead to developmental issues if left untreated. Children with this medical issue need continued medical supervision to address it. If you think your child may have this issue, do seek medical attention asap.

What to do

If you are concerned about your baby’s poor weight gain, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Your pediatrician might suggest:

Checking your baby’s latch: make sure that your baby is latching on correctly. You can try asking your doctor, a lactation consultant, or a local breastfeeding group for help.

Breastfeeding often: Breastfed babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours and whenever they show signs of hunger. Unlike formula-fed babies, who need to be fed every 3-4 hours instead, breast milk is more easily digested and hence need to eat more often.

Keep your baby awake: Try to keep your baby awake and actively breastfeeding for about 20 minutes per feeding. To keep them awake, you can try tickling their feet, changing your feeding position, changing their diaper or burping them.

Address supply issues: If the problem is your low supply of milk, try to take steps to increase it. You can try breastfeeding more often, pumping between feedings, or try our lactation bakes and nursing tea.

Consider supplementing: if your pediatrician thinks it’s necessary, you may have to supplement your baby with additional feedings of either pumped breast milk or infant formula.

However, if all else fails, and your doctor advises it, you may decide to stop exclusively breastfeeding. You can exclusively pump, switch to formula, or do a combination of the two. Infant formula is a safe and healthy alternative and can ensure that your baby gains weight well. If you need to change your breastfeeding plan, try not to feel too down and remember that you’re doing what you need to do for yourself and your child.

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Am I a low supply mummy?

low milk supply

Am I a low supply mummy?

Am i a low supply mummy? I don’t think I’m producing much milk. Should I worry? This is the most common questions that many new mummies worry about. Most mummies are worried that their body isn’t making enough milk and thus, this is one of the most common reason given for giving up breastfeeding. However, the good news is that nearly all women are capable of making plenty of milk for their baby.

But first, let us show you some myth to determine if your milk supply is enough.

Ways to determine if you are a low supply mummy

  • baby taking full bottle after nursing session 
  • did not of leaking milk/ not having letdown feeling
  • feeling full / empty with your breast
  • the frequency / length of feedings
  • how much milk you pumped

These are NOT reliable indicator of to which if you have enough milk.

So, what are the correct signs? Our general thump of rule is as long as baby is pooping, peeing , sleeping well, not fussy and gaining weight means baby is getting enough. There are plenty of definitive signs that’ll let you know whether your baby is getting enough milk and if you are producing enough to meet baby’s demand.

Ways to determine if baby is getting enough milk

  • Your baby’s pooping. If you’re changing at least five diapers daily filled with large, seedy, mustard coloured poops, your baby’s getting enough milk. From around two to three months old, the rate would drop to one poop a day, or even one every other day, your baby is getting enough milk too.
  • Your baby’s peeing and its light in yellow color. If your baby has 6-8 very wet cloth diapers or 5-6 wet disposable diapers and 2-5 bowel movements per day (after the baby is three days old). To feel what a wet diaper is like, pour three tablespoons of water into a clean diaper.
  • Your baby’s content after feedings. Just like how you feel after a full meal, content and ready to nap. If your baby’s crying and fussing a lot after a full nursing, it could mean he’s still hungry (and/or that you’ve got a poor milk supply). Keep in mind, however, that he could be fussing for reasons unrelated to hunger etc colic. In general, if your baby’s active, alert, and healthy overall, your fine.
  • Your baby’s gaining weight. There’s no surer sign of good milk supply than a baby who’s putting on the weight. A weight gain of 120g to 200g on average per week indicates he’s getting enough milk.

What causes low supply?

increase milk supply singaporeIn a breastfeeding relationship, mom’s body responds to baby’s demand. The supply and demand equilibrium between the mummy and baby can break down sometimes, causing a supply issue.  The situation can be compounded by:

  1. Supplementing. Nursing is a supply & demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses, and the amount that she nurses lets your body know how much milk is required. Every bottle (of formula, juice or water) that your baby gets means that your body gets the signal to produce that much less milk.
  2. Bottle preference. A bottle requires a different type of sucking than nursing, and it is easier for your baby to extract milk from a bottle. As a result, giving a bottle can either cause your baby to have problems sucking properly at the breast, or can result in baby preferring the constant faster flow of the bottle.
  3. Pacifiers. Pacifiers can affect baby’s latch. They can also significantly reduce the amount of time your baby spends at the breast, which may cause your milk supply to drop.
  4. Nipple shields can be a useful tool in some cases, but hey can also reduce the stimulation to your nipple or interfere with milk transfer, which can interfere with the supply-demand cycle.
  5. Returning to work. Being separated from their baby for long periods of time, as well as the stress associated with re-entering the work force can make it difficult for moms to maintain their supply. The article Returning to Work has information about how to deal with these challenges.
  6. Scheduled feedings interfere with the supply & demand cycle of milk production and can lead to a reduced supply, sometimes several months later rather than immediately. Nurse your baby whenever she is hungry.
  7. Sleepy baby. For the first few weeks, some babies are very sleepy and only ask to nurse infrequently and for short periods. Until baby wakes up and begins to breastfeed well, nurse baby at least every two hours during the day and at least every 4 hours at night to establish your milk supply.
  8. Cutting short the length of nursings. Stopping a feeding before your baby ends the feeding herself can interfere with the supply-demand cycle. Also, your milk increases in fat content later into a feeding, which helps baby gain weight and last longer between feedings.
  9. Offering only one breast per feeding. This is fine if your milk supply is well-established and your baby is gaining weight well. If you’re trying to increase your milk supply, let baby finish the first side, then offer the second side.
  10. Health or anatomical problems with baby (including, jaundice, tongue-tie, etc.) can prevent baby from removing milk adequately from the breast, thus decreasing milk supply.
  11. Mom’s health (uncontrolled anemia or hypothyroidism, retained placenta, postpartum hemorrhage…), previous breast surgery/injury, hormonal problems (e.g.PCOS), anatomical problems, medications she is taking (hormonal birth control,sudafed…), or smoking also have the potential to affect milk supply.

Identifying and targeting your problem areas can help you bring your supply back up to baby’s demand.

Boosting Your Milk Supply

Here’s the golden rule you got to remember: Baby drinks more, you produce more. 

  1. Getting into the right position. A good latch will ensure that all your milk gets from your breast to your baby effciently and pain-free. Your pain and baby’s lack of swallows indicate a problem and the first suspect is latch or position. A lactation consultant can help you check and see if your latching correctly. Check out how to latch here.
  2. Go hands-onEncourage milk letdown and flow by applying warmth to your breasts, shoulders and upper back before nursing. Breast massage and compressions also help.
  3. Demand Feeding Many mummies find success with demand feeding. You can either nurse-in with your baby to bed with you; nurse and cuddle all day long! Have your partner bring you food, drinks, snacks and allow you to relax so you can bond with your baby. Latch at the slightest signal of baby wanting to nurse regardless how long and how frequent it might takes The extra nursing and the the skin-to-skin contact tells your body to make more milk.
  4. Use good pump. Use a high quality pump after each feeding (or as often as possible). This helps “empty your breasts” completely, sending the signal out for more milk production. (Do note that you cannot “empty your breast’ as your breast is constantly producing milk, pump as much as you can is good enough.)
  5. H2O Yeah! Stay hydrated.Keep a bottle of water near the area you breastfeed and drink while your baby does. A warm cup of  lactation tea will help you relax, and produce even more milk, which makes for more pleasant and effective nursing sessions. 
  6. Power pumping . The powe pumping sessions work like a charm as it mimics cluster feeding thus encourages your body to make more milk.
  7. Pumping between feedings as often as you can can help to build up your supply even more
  8. Rest Rest Rest and more rest, while this is not easy, have your partner take care of your baby for a few hours and have a good sleep works wonders. If you your exhausted, how do you produce milk?
  9. Do NOT be stress. STRESS IS NO1 MILK KILLER

Galactagogues

Despite your best efforts, sometimes your supply still needs a boost.

  1. Food.Here is a list of galactagogues that we have compiled that might give you an idea what to get your hands on.
  2. Medications.Your doctor might also prescribe certain medications to help with lactation. Metaclopamide, domperidone, and the antipsychotics, sulpiride and chlorpromazine work by blocking dopamine receptors. This would results in higher prolactin levels and can increase milk supply.
  3.  Singapore Lactation Bakes’ BAKES. We recommend our very own lactation bakes series. They come in cookies, muffins and even pancake mix. Our bakes contains some key ingredients that can help BOOST your breast milk supply. The key ingredients to our bakes are Rolled Oats, Brewer’s Yeast, and Flax Seed and yes there are options to add other herbs that were known to boost milk supplies that you can consider adding to. Read more informations about our lactation bakes here.

When Supplementing is Necessary

You’ve tried everything but your supply still doesn’t meet your baby’s demand, it might be necessary to supplement.

Here’s the golden rule is: offer breast first! Always empty your breasts before offering more nutrition. Even the tiniest amount of breast milk has a huge variety of health benefits and not forgetting nursing more encourages your brain to produce more ( remember the latch more produce more rule?)

The most important thing to understand is this: You are not a failure. A healthy breastfeeding relationship is more than just nutrition nor the milk! You do not need to be full breastfeeding to be a full time mom. It’s about the beautiful bond between your precious little one and you. Supplementing is just another way to enjoy time with your baby.

Sources:

  1. Poor milk supply  http://www.whattoexpect.com/poor-milk-supply-breastfeeding.aspx
  2. Increasing Low Milk Supply http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

  3. Increasing your milk supply Increasing Your Milk Supply by Anne Smith, IBCLC

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Heightened Phase 2: 5 Gifts ideas for new mums that they’ll actually use

heightened phase 2

5 Gifts ideas for new mums that they’ll actually use during Heightened Phase 2 of covid in Singapore. Of course, all mothers want the same thing: rest. But since we can’t wrap that up and give it to her as a present, we’ll have to settle for the next best thing.

We’ve compiled a list of gift ideas that new mothers will love; whether it is skincare to do an at-home spa, or yummy treats to feast on, or adorable clothes for her and the baby, we’ve got it all here on this list! No matter if it’s her first baby, or baby no. 3, she is sure to appreciate and love all these gifts. Especially with covid-19 around and a second wave in Singapore, she may not feel safe shopping around for herself, so you can be sure that she will appreciate new things.

  1. Ksisters skincare line

ksisters skin care new mum

We’d all love to head to the spa and get some facials done, especially in this stressful period. Unfortunately, the government just announced the closure of all facilities that require your mask to be off, so we have to settle for the next best thing. Ksisters is your one-stop shop for everything feminine related – skincare, makeup, clothes for mama and baby, jewelry, even other lifestyle goods! She can easily do an at-home spa day with their amazing skincare products. With their wide range of goods, we’re sure that mum will appreciate anything on this website.

https://www.ksisters.sg/

https://www.ksisters.sg/collections/k-beauty-restock

2. Singapore Lactation Bakes complete New Mom Gift Hamper

new mum gift set

It’s a common worry for any mummy wishing to breastfeed their child to worry about their milk supply. But not to fret, SLB’s gift hamper comes with everything a new mum needs! Lactation cookies and their other lactation bakes all help to increase your milk supply through the use of superfoods, and the gift set also comes with a nursing cover, soft toys and even a teething toy! If you know that mum is worrying about her milk supply, be sure to get these for her to ease her worry. She’ll also get to enjoy the yummy cookies, brownies… drool

https://www.slb.sg/

https://www.slb.sg/product/complete-new-mom-gift-hamper/

3. Oeteo newborn gift set

new mum gift set

Oeteo, a local supplier of baby clothes, has some of the cutest baby clothes we’ve ever seen. With covid rampaging around, it’s best for mum to stay at home to keep herself safe. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to shop for baby clothes, so you can help her out by doing the shopping for her! Oeteo’s newborn gift set is perfect for mum since it comes with all the clothes, blankets, mittens that she’ll ever need!

https://www.oeteo.co/

https://www.oeteo.co/product-category/welcomegiftsets/

4. Hegen PCTO™ Double Electric Breast Pump


Hegen milk bottle new mum

This gift set is curated perfectly for newborn babies, making it easy and efficient for mum to breastfeed! Hegen’s innovative, all-in-one express, store and feed system allows mums to use the same container for everything by simply switching out the attachment, so there’s no wastage. All the attachments mum will ever need are included in this gift set, so it’s perfect for her! Their patent pending one-handed closing system is perfect for mums who only have one free hand from holding the baby!

https://www.hegen.com/
https://www.hegen.com/shop/starter-kit/hegen-pcto-double-electric-breast-pump

5. Jump Eat Cry’s Nursing line

jump eat cry new mum

If mum is a fashionista, look no further than Jump Eat Cry! They have a nursing and maternity line, easily accommodating both nursing needs and a growing belly. Many people associate nursing clothes with un-fashionable articles of clothing, but these are trendy while still being functional! If you know the baby’s gender, you can even buy a matching set for mum and baby, so they can wear matching clothes and look adorable together. And make sure to purchase their gift packaging so it looks extra special!

https://www.jumpeatcry.com/

https://www.jumpeatcry.com/collections/nursing-wear

 

All these gifts are great for mums, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that you stay by mum’s side and give her reassurance and encouragement! Make sure she knows that you’re there for her. Motherhood is amazing and incredible, but also frustrating and tiring. She will most definitely appreciate your support if you do!