First of all, congratulations on the safe arrival of your newborn baby! Becoming a new mother is one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences a woman can go through. However, it can also be a time of great uncertainty and overwhelm. New mothers are often bombarded with questions and advice from all sides, and it can be difficult to know where to turn for reliable information.
In this article, we will address some of the most common questions that new mothers may ask. We will cover a wide range of topics, including breastfeeding, baby care, postpartum recovery, and mental health. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to feel confident and supported as you navigate this new and exciting chapter in your life.
Can You Take Ibuprofen When Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can safely take ibuprofen when breastfeeding. It is one of the most commonly recommended painkillers for breastfeeding women by the NHS. Only traces of the medicine will find its way into your breastmilk, so you can be reassured that you won't be causing any harm to your baby.
How often should I breastfeed?
In your baby’s first few days, you should be breastfeeding every 2 hours. This is because your newborn’s stomach is tiny, and so they will only be able to drink a small amount of breastmilk before they are full.
After the initial few days, to two weeks, the times between feedings will start to get longer. You will notice this as your baby will begin feeding for longer, meaning they can take in more milk and feel fuller for longer.
Once a regular breastfeeding pattern is established, on average, breastfed babies will feed every 2-4 hours. Some babies, however, will want to feed more often, and some will be able to go longer. Ah, the beauty of your own little individual! There really is no rule book, and you should do what feels natural to you and for your baby.
How will I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
In general, a baby who is getting enough milk will seem calm and relaxed during a feed. If they are struggling to get enough milk from your breast, they will seem agitated, maybe cry and fuss around the nipple. A baby who is getting enough milk will usually pull off the breast once they are full and will have a moist, milky mouth.
What if my baby is not latching on properly?
There are many reasons why a baby may not latch onto your breast properly. And it can be slightly heartbreaking, but don’t worry! In these instances, try to remain calm. It may be hard to do this if your baby is hungry and fussing, but it will do you both the world of good if you remain calm and follow these instructions.
If your baby is not latching on correctly, try to shape your areola to fit their mouth, tickle their cheek to kick-start their rooting reflex, whilst having your nipple close by their mouth, guide your areola and nipple to the top of their mouth and once they’ve latched, slightly push down.
Your baby may have a tongue-tie. In this case, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider. They will be able to recommend some techniques to help your baby latch. They will also check the severity of the tongue-tie and may recommend a simple surgical procedure to have the tongue-tie clipped.
What is tongue-tie?
Tongue-tie is a hereditary condition in which a baby's skin that joins the bottom of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is very tight. This part of the skin is called ‘lingual frenulum’, and the term tongue-tie is used to describe it when this part of the skin is very short, and tight.
This condition makes it harder for the baby to latch their tongue around your areola and nipple for breastfeeding and is also a main cause of nipple soreness. Tongue-tie doesn’t always have to be treated surgically, as it depends on the severity of the tongue-tie. You may wish to speak to a lactation consultant who can help guide you with the right breastfeeding techniques, or you may wish to begin expressing your breastmilk.
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What if my nipples are sore or cracked?
This is quite common in the early days of breastfeeding, as your nipples will be getting used to being fed on by your newborn. There are many treatments to help combat sore and cracked nipples, including home remedies and medication.
Many women choose to use a breastfeeding nipple cream, which acts as a barrier between your skin and the baby’s mouth. It helps to soothe and heal your nipples, and you can use this whilst your baby is breastfeeding so that feeds aren’t interrupted.
Some women choose to buy nipple shields. Here at Pippeta, we have nip cups which are silver nipple covers for breastfeeding mamma’s. Thanks to the natural healing, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties of silver, they prevent sore cracked nipples and, if already present, aid healing. These small but effective cups will soon become your breastfeeding best friend!
How do I deal with engorgement?
Breast engorgement may happen from time to time, and we have written an entire article dedicated to helping you deal with breast engorgement.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue that can sometimes lead to an infection. It is diagnosed by having hot, red, sore, swollen breasts. It is very common in breastfeeding mothers, and it happens due to an oversupply in breast milk, which causes the milk ducts to narrow and become blocked.
How do I handle mastitis?
Mastitis may require the help of a healthcare professional. Your GP will prescribe you with antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Only a small amount of the antibiotic may go into your breastmilk and there is no risk to your baby.
What foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?
We would encourage a healthy, balanced diet when breastfeeding to ensure you remain healthy and can produce enough breast milk for your hungry and rapidly growing little human. However, there are some foods which the NHS recommends avoiding when breastfeeding:
- Caffeine - as it is a stimulant, it will go into your breastmilk and make your baby restless.
- Alcohol - the NHS states that it's safer not to drink any alcohol while breastfeeding, but an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your baby – 1 or 2 units of alcohol, once or twice a week, should be fine.
- Shark, swordfish and marlin - It's good to include 2 portions of fish per week, but when you are breastfeeding limit swordfish, marlin or shark to 1 portion a week (because of the high levels of mercury in them), and do not eat more than 2 portions of oily fish a week (like fresh tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and pilchards).
What is cluster feeding?
Cluster feeding is when your baby wants a lot of shorter feeds over a shorter period of time. It is very common and will happen at some point in your breastfeeding journey. It usually happens around the beginning of breastfeeding when your newborn stomach is still tiny and can only hold a small amount of breast milk.
How do I know when it's time to wean my baby?
The NHS recommends that weaning your baby begins no earlier than six months of age. This is to allow your baby’s digestive system to have developed enough to handle solid food. Once your baby is at least six months old, there are other signs that your baby will show that it is time for weaning:
- they are able to sit up
- they are able to hold their neck steady, unaided
- they are able to coordinate their hands to their mouth
Read our blog all about ‘What is Weaning?’
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