When it comes to breastfeeding, it’s commonly accepted that “breast is best” particularly during the first hours of a new-born baby’s life. This is because it is widely thought that when a child takes its first milk from their mother it kick-starts their immune system.
Whilst the benefits of a mother’s milk have been widely praised in recent years, The Portland Hospital recognises that breastfeeding is an individual choice that may not always come naturally.
To help with those somewhat tricky first feeds The Portland Hospital’s Lactation Consultants are at hand to support you and we have asked Gloria Guiteras Petitbo, Infant Feeding Midwife at The Portland Hospital, to share her knowledge of breastfeeding.
The benefits of breastfeeding
Breast milk is the ultimate “super food” can be greatly beneficial to your baby. Not only does breast milk contain the best quality of nutrients but it is also easier for the baby to digest and contains antibodies that can help with the prevention and treatment of infections and allergies.
Breastfeeding is also an economical and practical way of feeding your child and can help reduce a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding classes available at The Portland Hospital
For many first-time mums the idea of breastfeeding can be quite daunting. To help new mums make an informed decision about breastfeeding, The Portland Hospital offer one-to-one breastfeeding consultations every Wednesday 3pm-7pm that can help develop a mother’s confidence in feeding her baby.
Our breastfeeding sessions are open to all pregnant women regardless as to where they intend to deliver their baby and we teach expectant parents how to tell if their baby is getting enough milk and to watch for feeding cues.
These sessions also provide informative advice on the physiology of milk production and help mothers-to-be to develop a knowledge of positioning and attachment that can facilitate good breastfeeding once their baby arrives.
At The Portland Hospital we also recognise that breastfeeding twins can be an additional challenge and therefore every three months we offer an exclusive Saturday breastfeeding class for mothers expecting multiple births. Here you can learn how to develop an adequate supply of milk and how to develop a routine when tandem nursing.
The initial difficulties of breastfeeding
Whilst these classes will provide you with a wealth of information that will help ease your breastfeeding experience, most new mums will find the first few days of breastfeeding is a learning curve as they and their new-born work together to establish a routine.
Attachment problems are very common and, though breastfeeding may be tricky to start with, you can benefit from feeding your baby frequently during their first few days.
This will help to ensure that you provide enough milk for your baby’s growing needs.
Giving your baby expressed breast milk
Every mother has a different experience of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends feeding your baby on breast milk for their first six months prior to introducing solids to their diet but during this time you may wish for your baby to have expressed breast milk from a bottle.
If you are considering offering expressed breast milk for some of your baby’s feeds this should be managed carefully, as commencing early may interfere with your milk supply. The ideal time to introduce a bottle of expressed breast milk would be between three and six weeks.
Whether you decide to continue with breastfeeding or not, your baby will soon begin to show you feeding cues and you will be surprised by how quickly you establish a routine.
For more information on breastfeeding and The Portland Hospital’s breastfeeding classes, please contact our Maternity Services Advisor on 020 7390 6068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org