With this being my first baby I'm not really sure what to expect when it comes to feeding. I am hoping to breast feed and also express milk so that both Spencer and I can bottle feed my milk when need be. This kit from Medela* will hopefully make both aspects a little easier.
I have already had a little milk leakage so I am hoping that this means my milk will be in ready for babies arrival.
I have no problem at all with people who chose to breastfeed in public, it is completely natural and if people are comfortable doing it then I have nothing but respect for them. I, however, am too scared to breastfeed in public. In an ideal world our baby will happily switch from breast to bottle and back to breast again. This way I can express after each feed and store this milk in readiness for outings or simply if I need a break/Spencer wants to spend some time with baby we have my milk ready. At parent craft class we were told that baby never completely drains the breast so it is a good idea to express after each feed so that the body knows to produce more milk.
With this in mind when I was given the chance to ask Sioned, Medela's Lactation Consultant, three breastfeeding related questions one that I asked was: If I express how long will my milk keep and is it suitable for freezing?
- At room temperature it is advisable to use immediately but on a cool day you can store for 4 hours.
- In the refrigerator – place your expressed milk at the back of the unit as the temperature is more constant - this will keep for 3-5 days on average. Check and smell the milk and if it smells off it may be that the live enzymes have started to break it down
- In the freezer you can store it for 6 months but you need to defrost and use it up within 24 hours.
You hear so many stories about how breast is best and there is always so much pressure on new mum's to breastfeed, I wanted to know if breastfeeding really is best for both mum and baby :
Yes, it truly is. Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition it also has immunological and neurological properties that support health and development.
Human babies are born neurologically immature as the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 2 years and there is no way a 2 year old human head would pass through the female pelvis.
The relationship a baby has with its mother builds upon trust, intimacy, love and affection and breastfeeding is so much more than food. The hormone oxytocin - the ‘love hormone ‘ is high in labour and in the first few days for all mums but it is also released by mum and baby when breastfeeding.
From a nutritional point of view the human baby digestive system is ready to feed from its own mother
- There is very little waste, very easy to digest
- It is full of nutrition that is ever-changing to your baby’s needs
- Has the right amount of fats, vitamins and minerals, protein and carbohydrates that your baby needs
- The essential fatty acids in breastmilk support brain and eye development and help with setting up the brain nerves and neurone network and eye development lastly the immunological benefits.
- Breastmilk is alive and ever-changing! Mum’s antibodies are transferred across the blood milk barrier and if mum is exposed to the winter cold etc. she will make her own antibodies and her baby also gets some to boost, support and protect their own immune system to fight infection and viruses.
On a risk side there is also current evidence that breastfeeding provides a protective factor against SIDS as babies who are breastfed are less likely to be unwell, co-room for longer with their parents. From an anatomical and physiological view the upper airway is protected for longer in babies who are breastfed compared to those who are formula bottle fed.
There are also health benefits for mums too –
The longer you breastfeed for, and amount of babies you breastfeed the greater the protection against
- Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis , improved mental well-being,
- You also burn off the pregnancy stores, reduced time off work if you are breastfeeding as your babies are healthier and not poorly in nursery.
- And you can feed any time anywhere without all the paraphernalia associated with formula feeding.
The last question that I asked was diet related, if I breastfeed will I have to maintain a similar diet to as I do when I am pregnant, i.e. avoid alcohol, soft cheese, etc :
It is advisable to continue with the same recommendations, minimise the caffeine intake,
watch your alcohol intake, an occasional glass of wine is okay, avoid unpasteurised dairy, make sure you cook raw meats completely. You also need to take vitamin D supplements and Vitamin B12 if you follow a vegetarian diet.
Thank you Medela and Sioned, if I wasn't sure about breastfeeding before you really have sold it to me and given me some very useful information.