Back aches from breastfeeding? Find out the best ways to breastfeed your baby and the truth behind its common misconceptions from our expert, a senior midwife at Singapore General Hospital.
How you can help your newborn baby latch on correctly
Getting into a proper and comfortable position, especially in the early weeks, is important in allowing your newborn baby to feed efficiently. Mdm Ho Ai Lian, Senior Midwife at
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group, offers some tips:
- Use pillows to support your back and arms, and on your lap, so they help you sit and breastfeed more comfortably.
- Position your baby close to you with its hips flexed, so it doesn’t have to turn its head to reach your breast. Its mouth and nose should be facing your nipple.
- Support your breast so it is not pressing on your baby's chin.
- Leaning over your baby can cause backaches, neck and shoulder strain or sore nipples.
Common misconceptions about breastfeeding
Not enough milk
A mum may feel guilty if she thinks she is not producing enough milk. Stress can affect milk production. A full-term baby’s stomach is very small, so it won’t actually need a lot of milk. Mums should relax and bond with their babies, and their milk will flow naturally. They should also drink lots of fluids before and after breastfeeding.
Milk must flow the moment the baby is born
Not true. Milk starts to be produced in greater quantities a few days after giving birth.
Mums must avoid certain foods if she breastfeeds
Not strictly true. Generally, a breastfeeding mother should maintain a balanced diet rich in iron, protein and calcium. But her energy needs will be greater, about 400 to 500 calories a day more than normal.
Common obstacles to breastfeeding
No place to express milk
A mum may not have a private place to express milk in her office. If a nursing room is not available, she may lock herself in a meeting room. She can use a scarf to cover herself and express milk in a hygienic environment.
Finding time to breastfeed
A working mum can breastfeed her baby when she is at home. She should aim to provide at least one feed of expressed breast milk each day. She should express milk at four- to six-hour intervals and store the milk in sterile bottles, with the date and time clearly labelled. The milk should be put in a fridge and taken home in a cooler box.
Mums can use a nipple shield while breast-feeding to avoid this problem. If her nipples turn swollen, a mum should see a lactation consultant.