Balancing work or career with breastfeeding can be a tough feat.
Apart form having to contribute to the family financially due to the tough economic situations, moms also work for personal fulfillment and career development.
With most employers, working moms have a 3 months maternity leave before they return to work, meaning new moms have to leave their babies at home or in a creche – making exclusive breast feeding difficult to achieve as mother and baby are seperated for prolonged periods during the day.
However, the advantages of breastfeeding cannot be underestimated.
The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for infants for the first 6months of life and continous breastfeeding with complementary feeds for up to 2years in order to achieve optimal growth.
Though it may be hard to keep up, here are 5 reasons to motivate you to continue to breastfeed your baby;
- It protects your baby
Breastfeeding has been found to offer protection against illnesses such as respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea. Breastmilk contains essential antibodies and proteins which help to fight infections.
It contains just the right amount of nutrients at the right taste and temperature, and provides the nutrients baby needs to grow optimally.
- Saves Cost & time
Breast feeding is less expensive and more convenient than formula.
The cost of buying expensive formula, bottles, teats, sterilizing units is eliminated. This helps in managing the family resources.
Also, chances of having diarrhoea disease which is common with bottle feeding is reduced, with less incidence of hospital visit or admission.
It is convenient , saves time and can be done anywhere, at anytime without having to worry about clean water, sterilizing bottles or handwashing.
- Helps Child spacing
Even though it is not a 100% guarantee and mothers have been found to fall pregnant while breastfeeding, proper exclusive breastfeeding prevents menstruation (lactational amenorrhoea) in the first 6 months and hence promotes child spacing by a natural means of contraception.
- Weight Reduction
Breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight by burning the fat stored during pregnancy and enhances return to pre-pregnancy weight.
It also reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
5. Personal satisfaction, mother-baby bonding and fulfillment of motherhood.
No guilty conscience or feeling of inadequacy about not been able to breastfeed and mothers can feel fulfilled and enjoy more personal time with their infant, thereby promoting mother and child love.
Now, some moms especially first time moms, want to breastfeed but struggle with other issues such as poor milk flow, sore nipples, tiredness and external pressure to formula feed. Here are few tips to help you get through that;
- Get comfortable. Find a comfortable position or sit where you can rest your back and shoulders and avoid slouching down to breastfeed your baby.
- Wear appropriate nursing mother clothes and bra to ensure ease and comfort when breastfeeding on demand.
- Latch on. Ensure you bring your baby to your breast, then use your nipple to stroke your baby’s cheek to ensure your baby opens her mouth to access the nipple. Your baby’s mouth should cover 2/3rds of your nipple.
- Mind conditioning. Try to relax and think of loving, positive thoughts to stimulate milk flow.
- Avoid rushing through a feed. Ensure baby is well satisfied before stopping the feed, allow your baby to suckle to satisfaction on one breast before switching to the other. Interrupting feed to switch beast may discourage baby from continuing.
- When discontinuing breastfeeding, put a clean finger in your baby’s mouth so she opens her mouth to release your nipple. Avoid pulling out the nipple as this can cause soreness.
- Express. If you have to be away from your baby, express breastmilk at the time your baby was meant to feed. Avoid Breast engorgement as this causes a decrease in milk supply.
- Be firm and determined. Let everyone around you know you want to breastfeed exclusively and you need all the support you can get.
Hope you find these tips helpful.
Have a great week.