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Breast feeding – the breast and nipple

Hello again, this weeks breast feeding information is all about the breast and nipple.

There are a few things that are normal such as sore and tender nipples and some engorgement in the early days of breast feeding or when weaning. These should settle pretty quickly.

Things that might hinder your progress while breast feeding such as mastitis, and cracked or bleeding nipples are indications that something needs attention promptly. Assistance can rectify these conditions quickly in most cases.

Breast engorgement refers to overfull, tender hard breasts. It is common in the early days of breast feeding, during weaning, and pretty much anytime the supply of milk is more than baby’s demand. Breasts can be relieved by releasing pressure by one or a combination of feeding, expressing, cold compresses. Paracetamol / Nurofen can relieve the discomfort if required.

Engorgement can make it difficult for baby to attach and therefore cause nipple damage. Expressing to soften the nipple prior to feeding or if you notice baby is having difficulty attaching is effective to rectify this and prevent nipple damage.

Engorgement can lead to mastitis. Ouch!

This is painful and more importantly, quite debilitating.
It is very common for women to feel “fluey” just prior to “being hit by a truck”. Antibiotics resolve this quickly but if you are feeling “fluey”, assume it may be mastitis and get to the Dr quickly. I can assure you that you will know within a few hours if you need to take the antibiotics. The good news is that if you do, you will feel improvement within 24 hours.

It is important to continue breast feeding to help relieve engorgement and Mastitis.

Breast abscess is less common but can occur after mastitis.
Pain, redness and firmness in a specific area of the breast accompanied by fever and chills can be indicative. They require medical attention and are drained by incision or needle aspiration.

Tender nipples are not uncommon when starting breast feeding and as long as baby is attaching correctly, this should settle within a few days (refer to post on 4/4 regarding positioning).

Cracked and bleeding nipples are largely a result of incorrect
attachment and need to be addressed as soon as possible. Correcting attachment will reverse the damage and allow the nipples to heal very quickly. Cracked nipples can be a portal for infections which may lead to breast abscess so need to be avoided or rectified quickly.

These are some of the less exciting aspects of breastfeeding which some women never experience. If however, you are having difficulties you are not alone or a “failure”. Seeking professional help early will rectify most issues and help you enjoy your breast feeding journey.

Until next week.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Breast feeding – Is my baby getting enough?

Welcome back to the continuing instalments about breast feeding. Thank you for the many likes and shares. It is a subject close to our hearts.
I see some parents lose confidence because they cannot see or measure how much baby is drinking. Let’s look at some things that will reassure you that your baby is adequately fed.

There are several ways you can see that this is so by looking at baby and mum.
A combination of weight gain, good urine output and a content baby are good signs. 
These indicators are widely used and accepted when looking at baby’s wellbeing.

Weight gain. 
Accepted healthy gain is:
100-200g per week for the first 6 weeks;
500-1000g per month up to 6 months ( usually, Baby will have doubled birth weight at 6 months)and
500g per month for the next 6 months to 1 yr of age.

If baby is not reaching minimum weight gain, regularly, you may need advice from your Paediatrician, GP or Child Health Nurse.

Urine output.
With disposable nappies, a heavy nappy is a good indication of adequate output.

Content baby.
A baby who feeds well and sleeps well is definitely adequately fed.

Beware though, a baby who cries a lot might not be hungry or under fed. I will talk about this in a later edition of “What could possibly go wrong.”

Feeling that your breasts are full prior to a feed then well empty after a feed is a good sign.

Your breasts may feel a bit tender and hard when full and baby is due to feed. 
After feeding, the breast should be soft and empty. 
Offer the second breast only after the first breast has been adequately emptied.

Sometimes everything will go smoothly and you might wonder what all the fuss is about and some times, you might find it more confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes you will figure out why your baby is crying and sometimes you won’t. Try not to lose confidence in your feeding ability, especially if your other indicators are being met.

Try to look at the overall picture of how you and your baby are going. 
Take a deep breath, give yourself a pat on the back and keep up the good work. It is OK to ask for help.
I hope this helps you continue/prepare for your breast feeding journey.

Next week, it’s all about the breast. Nipple issues and mastitis.

Until next week.

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Breast feeding – Attachment and positioning

There is so much to be said about breast feeding so I am going to break it down onto weekly instalments until I have covered the things I think are critical to helping you breast feed successfully.

Attachment & Positioning.

The most important thing you should be aware of is that breast feeding does not hurt or damage the nipple as long as the baby is correctly attached.

When attaching baby, consider positioning. The old saying ” Chest to chest, chin to breast.” Is a good start. 
Look at the alignment of the spine and head of baby. They should form a pretty straight line. If you try swallowing anything with your head turned to the side, this will make more sense.
Get yourself comfortable then bring the baby to the breast. If you get sore or tired muscles from being a contortionist, you will become more aware of this.
Look for that classic wide K shaped mouth-just like the K on the special K box.

Listen and look at your baby’s cheek as it sucks. Good attachment will be seen at the top of the cheek bone and will almost look like the ears are about to wiggle. 
Slow rhythmic sucking and the sound of swallowing is a good thing.Clicking or slurping is usually not so good.

STOP IMMEDIATELY if you are hurting or damaging your nipples. 
During those first days in hospital, attend the breast feeding talk, get as much supervision and help that you can. It will be time well invested.

Next week, I will look at length and timing of feeds and answer the age old question…”how do I know my baby is getting enough?”

See you then. 

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Two option rule

Let me share with you a simple tip I give parents. 
I call it the two option rule and it is amazingly effective to help keep things simple and offer control and independence to toddlers.
Instead of asking what a toddler would like, give them 2 choices.
You can apply this scenario to almost any situation.
Here are some examples:
Instead of asking ” what would you like to drink?”
Ask ” would you like milk or water?” Or whatever the options are that are acceptable to you. 
“Would you like me to read you a story before bed or would you like to show me some pictures in the book?” 
When you ask “What would you like? ” the answer might not be a suitable option which may lead to conflict. 
Remember, they are toddlers and need some guidance and structure while exploring their independence. 

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Beat the heat

We have such a fortunate outdoor lifestyle in Australia, especially Queensland so Let’s look at a few things to keep us and our babies safe in the heat and sun.

We are reminded often to stay out of the heat of the day when UV rays are most harmful but protection is recommended when UV levels are above 3.

The old SLIP, SLOP, SLAP that we are all familiar with is still relevant and we know that children will follow our lead, so it is important we set a good example by wearing a hat and applying sunscreen for them to follow. Use an umbrella at the beach.
I suggest using care if applying sunscreen to babies, consider that their hands usually end up in their mouth which is not so bad but also their eyes. Make sure to test a small part of skin to ensure no reaction first.

Not everyone is blessed with air conditioning which is why the movies and shopping centers are so popular on hot days I suspect. This is not a bad way to avoid the heat in the middle of the day if the shops don’t provide temptation, and includes entertainment.

Keep well hydrated-if you need extra water and are thirsty, it is likely that your little one is too. Dress your child to the conditions-light clothing and if possible, long, loose sleeves. Babies can be swaddled in light weight wraps.

I have added a link to the skin cancer web site if you would like to see more details. Enjoy the summer.

National cancer control policy


I would like to share some tips to prevent baby getting too hot.
– Dress baby with similar weighted clothing to yours. During this hot spell, a singlet and nappy is plenty. 
– If you have air conditioning or are outdoors, a little more cover is appropriate. 
– Newborn babies can be swaddled in light weight wraps.
– Keep yourself, babies and toddlers well hydrated.
– If you are outdoors, be careful to add appropriate sun protection.
See below for more info:…/safety_in_the_sun.html

If you have any questions or there are any topics you would like to see in future posts please don’t hesitate to get in touch.