PHAC booklet: Ten Valuable Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Wes Hicks

Photo Credit: Unsplash User Wes Hicks

Ten Valuable Tips for Successful Breastfeeding provides a concise summary of current, practical information for new parents and mother’s-to-be. The ten points include:

1. Breastfeed Right After Birth: This section talks about the value of skin-to-skin to welcome the baby into the world, stimulate production of breast milk, keep the baby warm and stress-reduced, and begin the process of bonding and attachment. The section also gives a clear, straightforward outline of How to Feed Your Baby and how to ask for help as needed.

2. Getting Started: This section explains the value of colostrum and the need for frequent, small feedings, with a chart of how the baby’s stomach grows and expands over the first 10 days of life. It discusses the value of expressing milk to help start the baby feeding, to relieve breast fullness, and to help prevent drying and cracking of the nipples. It talks about how demand feeding can help to establish milk supply, how to alternate breasts, learning to read baby’s cues, and signs that the baby is getting enough breast milk.

3. Milk Production: This section gives a quick summary of how supply develops, and how milk production increases to meet demand during the baby’s growth spurts in the first few months.

4. The Complete Food: This section looks at the role of breast milk as the “only food or drink your baby needs for the first 6 months of life*” and how the breast milk changes to keep up with the baby’s needs and have the right amount of nutrients for different stages. *It notes the need for vitamin D supplements from birth and the need to begin to add foods which are a source of iron beginning at six months. It comments: “Breast milk is convenient, always the right temperature, economical and better for the environment!”

5. Looking After Mom: This section points out the need for rest: “In the early days, try to rest when your baby sleeps.” It gives hints on how to reduce nipple tenderness and breast engorgement.

6. Working and Breastfeeding: This section talks about how breast feeding can be maintained once it has been well established, by expressing milk for the caregiver to feed the baby once the mother returns to employment, and accommodations to potentially discuss with an employer.

7. Breastfeeding and Pregnancy: This section discusses that, whilst exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months may delay the return of menstruation, ovulation can still occur, and recommends discussing other birth control methods with one’s partner during this time.

8. Thoughtful Reminders: This includes notes about the importance of sleep, asking for help with housework and meal preparation, limiting visitors to what you can comfortably handle, eating healthy food and drinking water, milk or juice every time the baby nurses and whenever one feels thirsty. It also reinforces the importance of decreasing the baby’s exposure to cigarette and second-hand smoke, and checking with a health professional about any medications or other substances the mother is using, given that “alcohol and other drugs can pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby.”

9. Talk to Others: This section discusses the value of contact with other breastfeeding mothers, with family, friends, and other parents, and the range of community support services that are there to support parents of infants.

10. Enjoy Your Baby: The final section reinforces the importance of physical touch in establishing relationship and stimulating the baby’s mental and emotional development. It encourages mothers to build the community supports they need to be comfortable with breast feeding their baby.

Nelli Agbulos