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«Breastfeeding Matters An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Best Start Resource Centre would like to ...»

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An important guide to

breastfeeding for women

and their families


The Best Start Resource Centre would like to thank the Public Health Units of Ontario

who supported the creation and development of this provincial resource and generously

shared their resources and expertise.

The Best Start Resource Centre would also like to thank the many pregnant and

breastfeeding women who reviewed and participated in the design of this resource.

The information in this booklet is current at the time of production but information can change over time. Every effort will be made to ensure the information remains current.

This resource has been reviewed and approved by the Baby-Friendly Initiative Ontario and meets the Baby-Friendly Initiative standards.

Funded by the Government of Ontario.

Table of Contents SECTION 1

The Importance of Breastfeeding Important Things to Know

• Why Breastfeed? • Waking a Sleepy Baby

• Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers • Calming a Fussy Baby

• The Baby-Friendly Initiative • Burping Your Baby

• Making an Informed Decision • Growth Spurts

• Risks of Formula Feeding • Sore Nipples

• Family Support • Using a Pacifier

• Mother-to-Mother Support • Engorgement

• Storing Your Breastmilk S E C T I O N 2....................... 11 Getting Started S E C T I O N 5....................... 31

• Helping Your Baby Get a Good Start Frequently Asked Questions

• Skin-to-Skin S E C T I O N 6....................... 40

• Baby-Led Latching Getting Help

• Cue-Based Feeding

• When to get help?

• Hand Expressing Colostrum or Breastmilk

• Where to get help?

S E C T I O N 3..

..................... 17 Learning to Breastfeed

• Breastfeeding Positions

• Helping Your Baby to Latch

• How to Tell if Your Baby is Latched Well

• Signs Breastfeeding is Going Well

• Breast Compressions

• Is my Baby Getting Enough Milk?

• Your Baby’s Stomach Size

–  –  –

The Importance of Breastfeeding Breastmilk is the natural food for newborns. It contains everything your baby needs. No question, no debate, no doubt. The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian

Paediatric Society and the College of Family Physicians of Canada agree:

• Babies need only breastmilk for the first 6 months.

• At about 6 months babies need to eat solid foods and continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond. Start solid foods that are nutritious, especially foods that are high in iron.

Why Breastfeed?Today, most mothers in Ontario decide to breastfeed their babies.

Breastfeeding matters because...

• Everyone benefits from breastfeeding: you, your baby, your family and your community.

• Breastmilk is convenient, always the right temperature and available anytime.

• Breastfeeding is free.

• Breastfeeding promotes bonding between you and your baby.

• Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly.

• Breastfeeding reduces health care costs for your family and society.

Breastfeeding matters to your baby, because breastfeeding...

• Protects your baby from many infections and illnesses.

• Builds healthy eating habits.

• Promotes proper jaw development.

• Promotes healthy brain development.

Breastfeeding matters to you, because breastfeeding...

• Controls postpartum bleeding.

• Helps you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy more quickly.

• Slows down the return of your period.

Breastfeeding Matters 3 Rights of Breastfeeding Mothers You have the right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. This right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you feel your breastfeeding rights are not being respected, report what happened to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Groups such as La Leche League Canada or INFACT Canada may provide additional support. For more information about these groups, go to the Getting Help section on page 40 of this booklet.

A woman who is breastfeeding and returning to work has a right under the Ontario Human Rights Commission to be accommodated in the workplace so that she can continue to breastfeed her baby. Visit www.ohrc.on.ca to view the policy on Discrimination Because of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding or go to: www.beststart.org/resources/wrkplc_health/index.html.

–  –  –

4 SECTION 1 – The Importance of Breastfeeding The Baby-Friendly Initiative You may have heard the term, Baby-Friendly. The BabyFriendly Initiative is an international program designed

to support all mothers and babies by:

• Supporting mothers to make an informed decision about feeding their baby.

• Protecting them from the marketing pressures of formula companies.

• Promoting practices that give mothers and babies a healthy start.

There are hospitals, health units and community health centres that have received this designation or are working towards it. They apply high standards on how they support mothers and families. These standards

will help you to:

• Make an informed decision on how to feed your baby.

• Be prepared with accurate information about infant feeding.

• Feel supported as you learn to feed and take care of your baby.

I found my support in a team of local health nurses, my mother, some close friends, and my husband. But my greatest support was knowing that I was giving my little baby everything he needed to grow healthy and strong, and to have a protected immune system.

I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Making an Informed Decision From the minute you became pregnant and even before, you have been making decisions that affect your baby. Throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s life you will be making many more decisions. They will not always be easy. To help make the best decisions for you and your baby you need good quality information. This booklet will provide you with information about feeding your baby.

Most of the information regarding infant formula comes directly from formula companies. They are trying to encourage you to feed your baby formula. When women decide to formula feed, they will have to buy formula and feeding equipment until their baby is at least one year old. Many families are surprised at the cost over the long-term.

Formula companies often give mothers samples of formula “just in case” they might need it. This free formula may come at a time when you are feeling tired, still getting to know your baby and not yet confident about breastfeeding.

–  –  –

There are times when a baby needs extra milk.

If this happens to your baby, it is best to give your own expressed breastmilk. For more information on expressing breastmilk, go to page 14 of this booklet. Babies, especially premature and very sick babies, can sometimes receive donor milk from a human milk bank.

There are times when it is necessary to give

formula. Some reasons for giving formula are:

• The baby has a medical condition and needs to be fed formula or a special formula.

• The mother has a medical condition and is unable to breastfeed her baby.

• The mother and baby are separated from one another and the mother is unable to get enough breastmilk to her baby.

If you think you need to give your baby formula, get help right away. Your health care provider, hospital nurse, community or public health nurse can help you or link you to other experts or groups in your community.

–  –  –

6 SECTION 1 – The Importance of Breastfeeding Risks of Formula Feeding

If you are thinking about giving your baby formula consider the following:

Formula fed infants are more at risk for:

• Infections such as ear, chest and bladder infections.

• Upsets of the stomach and gut, causing diarrhea or later bowel problems.

• Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

• Obesity and chronic diseases later in life.

• Some childhood cancers.

For mothers, NOT breastfeeding increases their risk of:

• Postpartum bleeding.

• Cancer of the breast or ovaries.

Family Support All new mothers benefit from the support of their families and communities. They can show

their support by:

• Taking care of you, so you can take care of your baby.

• Making sure you get help, when you need it.

Family and friends can make breastfeeding a success Breastfeeding is natural and babies are born to breastfeed. During the early days after birth, some babies and mothers need time to learn and get it right. What other people say or believe may affect your breastfeeding experience. Your family and friends can help you give your baby the best start in life.

Here are some things you can do:

• Tell your family and friends that you plan to breastfeed and ask them to support you.

• Encourage them to become familiar with this booklet, so they know how they can support you and what help is available in your community.

• Allow them to take care of you, so you can take care of your baby.

–  –  –

Family and friends can help in the following ways:

1. Become informed. Get as much information about breastfeeding as you can before the baby is born. Talk to friends, relatives, other breastfeeding families and health professionals to learn what makes the breastfeeding experience successful. Read this booklet to help you know more about breastfeeding.

2. Know where support is available. Become familiar with the resources in your community and help the mother access them.

3. Offer encouragement. A new mother may worry that she does not have enough milk for her baby. Most women have more than enough breastmilk. Tell her that breastfeeding is the best way to feed her baby. Tell her that you believe in her. Tell her that you are there to help.

4. Do not disturb. Limit visitors, telephone calls and other interruptions during the early weeks after the baby is born so that the mother and baby can get to know one another and learn how to breastfeed successfully.

5. Encourage rest. A new mother needs lots of energy to focus on the baby. Help with everyday needs such as meal preparation, dishes and laundry, keeping the home tidy and caring for other children.

6. Help the mother care for the baby. Babies cry for many reasons – not just for hunger.

Learn different ways of comforting the baby such as skin-to-skin holding, walking, singing or dancing. Bathing and changing are other ways to learn about the baby as a person. By comforting, bathing or changing the baby you can give the mother more time to breastfeed and take care of herself as well.

7. Have realistic expectations. A new baby changes life forever. It is normal to have mixed feelings about these changes. Giving up breastfeeding will not end these feelings.

Breastfeeding will help both the mother and baby.

8. Get help. If the mother feels that things are not going well with breastfeeding, encourage her to ask for help.

9. Remember that each mother is different. Ask her what she feels would help her.

8 SECTION 1 – The Importance of Breastfeeding Mother-to-Mother Support Mothers also benefit from the support of other mothers who are breastfeeding. You may have friends or relatives who are breastfeeding their babies or who have recently breastfed. You can

also meet other pregnant or breastfeeding mothers through:

• Prenatal classes.

• Parenting groups.

• Breastfeeding support networks.

• La Leche League Canada groups.

For more information about breastfeeding support, go to page 40 of this booklet.

–  –  –

Getting Started Helping Your Baby Get a Good Start

You can help your baby learn to breastfeed by using these key skills right from the start:

• Holding your baby skin-to-skin.

• Baby-led latching.

• Following your baby’s cues.

• Learning how to hand express colostrum.

Skin-to-Skin Skin-to-skin is a way of holding your baby that both babies and parents find enjoyable. The baby wears only a diaper and is held in an upright position on the mother’s bare chest.

A light blanket can be draped across the baby’s back. When babies are held skin-to-skin, they can hear their mother’s heartbeat and breathing, and smell and feel her skin. This is familiar and comforting to babies.

It took me 6 weeks to get my baby boy to breastfeed. I had to pump and feed him breastmilk while we both learned to breastfeed. It was nice to have the support. Something so natural, it’s not always easy, but you can learn, if you have the right resources, support and lots of patience.

–  –  –

Hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible after giving birth. Hold your baby skin-to-skin for an hour or more, as long as you wish.

As your baby grows, continue holding your baby skin-to-skin often and for long periods.

Premature babies benefit from this, too.

Sometimes this is called Kangaroo Mother Care.

Your partner, or another person you are close to, can also provide skin-to-skin care to comfort and nurture your baby from time to time.

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