While breastfeeding is a rewarding journey, it is filled with uncertainty and challenges. There will be times when mothers prefer not to breastfeed, either because they are heading back to work or experiencing discomfort. Often, many are looking for direction, expert advice and the right tools to help them realize their breastfeeding goals.
We have Dr. Wong Boh Boi, renowned lactation expert, in collaboration with Philips Avent to answer our burning questions when it comes to breastfeeding. She has helped over half a million parents in Singapore and loves to share her insights, tips and tricks on the following topics for moms-to-be and new moms:
- Breastfeeding 101: How to get started on the breastfeeding journey
- Myths Vs Facts: Addressing concerns about breastfeeding
- Pumping & Working: Real-life challenges of working moms
- Tips to maintain/ boost milk supply
- The role of the partner: How dads can be more involved in the breastfeeding journey
- The benefits of using an electric breast pump
Q. Can you share some tips for successful breastfeeding?
A major factor to successful breastfeeding is how well baby is latching on. It is good practice to start latching your baby as soon as possible after delivery. Babies should have skin-to-skin contact with mums immediately after birth, preferably within five minutes, for an hour or so. After 30 minutes, you might notice your baby showing readiness to feed and can latch on from there. You will be surprised that a lot of babies can self-latch that early. The first latch is always the most important.
A major factor to successful breastfeeding that can be guaranteed early on is how well baby is deeply latching on as well as how well mum is holding and positioning baby. There are a few signs to tell if a baby is latching well during breastfeeding. A good latch is pain-free. It should feel like a tugging from the vacuum suction of baby’s latch. Another good sign that your baby has latched onto enough breast tissue is the fullness of their cheeks. You will not be able to see the base of your nipple, only the outer edge of your areola.
Once a mother’s milk has kicked in, the rhythm should be 1-2 sucks and then the sound of swallowing. This is for the most effective latching. Lastly, when your baby is correctly attached to the breast, the nipple should be round, or as it was before the feed. A sharpened or pinched nipple (similar to a lipstick) is a sign that your little one has not taken enough breast into their mouth.
Q. What are some essential items that mums should include as part of their personal breastfeeding kits?
When it comes to expressing away from home, ensure that you pack well so you can go about your day with confidence. Here’s a list of essential items:
• Breast pump – opt for an battery-powered pump if you need to express frequently
• Bottles or airtight containers for collecting milk
• Labels for writing the date and contents
• Breast pads
• Cooler bag with ice pack for taking milk home
• Nursing shawl or cover for discreet pumping
Additionally, you will also need a space to safely store your milk. Also, the best place to express is a room where you will not be disturbed and feel relaxed.
You will need to store the milk safely after expressing. Here are some basic guidelines so no breast milk goes to waste:
• Store milk in an airtight container
• Label clearly with the date and the contents of the bottle
• Refrigerate immediately if possible or
• Store in a cool bag with an ice pack if you will be out for more than 4 hours
Q. What is the difference between electric and handheld pumps? Which would you recommend for a successful breastfeeding journey?
Both breast pumps, handheld manual or electric, can lead to a successful journey. Handheld pumps are good for when a mother is tight on space and does not want to have to worry about electronically operated equipment.
That being said, the current electric breast pumps are very efficient, quiet and useful when a mother needs to express relatively hassle-free, especially if she is returning to the workforce and is continuing to breastfeed.
Q. What can partners do to support mums on their breastfeeding journey?
Breastfeeding is more successful when family members are involved. Research has shown that partners are the biggest influencers of breastfeeding success.1 Partners can support by comforting, feeding and checking up on baby, especially at night. Partners can also give massages, offer hot drinks
and offer to run errands. Some simple offloading of tasks and planning for visits can help to impact a mother’s mood which also improves breastfeeding experience. They can also learn about crucial breastfeeding items like the breast pump and be involved in cleaning and readying these items for the next feeding. It is important for a partner to be tactful and a cheerleader to mother.
At the same time, family and friends have an important role to play by providing much needed emotional support. Along with family members, friends can provide tremendous support by simply listening. New mums may not always be looking for advice because what they really need is someone who can listen to what it is like to be a mother.
Q. I’ve heard that breastfeeding is not easy. What would you advice if I feel tired and stressed out and want to stop? And where can I get help?
The breastfeeding journey is never easy, especially for new mothers. I would recommend finding ways to keep oneself calm such as practicing mindfulness or meditation, as being stressed directly effects milk production.
Ensuring that you have a good quality electric breast pump is also important as it can help to draw milk more effectively by acting like a baby suckling directly on a mother’s breast.
Mums should also consult a lactation expert if they require advice or support as they go through their breastfeeding journey. It is important to try to solve any issues early and at the start of the journey with a certified IBCLC. One can also consider joining breastfeeding support groups to chat with other breastfeeding mums.
Looking for an electric breast pump? New Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump is a great solution
Pic. Courtesy: Philips Avent
Philips Avent has recently launched a new Electric Breast Pump inspired by baby’s natural feeding process. The new Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump encourages mothers to embrace the challenges of breastfeeding by delivering fast, gentle and hassle-free expression.
With over 10 years of research and insights, including the commissioning of three independent clinical studies using advanced ultrasound imaging. Philips has identified that babies use a special, wave-like tongue motion to help release milk quickly when breastfeeding. This is replicated in the design
of the Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump, which uses a combination of suction and nipple stimulation to mimic a suckling motion, initiating twice as fast milk let down within the first five minutes and providing mothers with a comfortable and quicker milk flow within as little as 47 seconds.
Understanding that women’s nipples come in all shapes and sizes, the Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump features a soft, one-size-fits-all silicone cushion which gently collapses and adapts to a mother’s changing nipple size and shape during the nursing journey. This innovative technology makes the Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump compatible with 99.98% of nipple sizes up to 30mm. It removes the need to change cushion sizes during the breastfeeding journey and features multiple settings for stimulation and
expression, for improved comfort and a personalized experience.
The Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump has been specifically designed for a quiet and discreet experience, so mothers can feel confident expressing anywhere. Featuring a quiet motor, compact and lightweight design and a rechargeable battery, the Philips Avent Electric Breast Pump is easily portable to let mothers express on the go, while the intuitive memory function and automatic transition from stimulation to expression enables hassle free use. For more information, visit Philips website.
This article is brought to you by Philips Avent.
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