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HealthPhone™: Food for Life: Breastfeeding

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Medical Aid Films - Films for Life - Food for Life: Breastfeeding

Around the world women are giving their babies the best start in life. They're breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is one of the best experiences in life, when it goes well.

I am so happy to think that I am giving my baby the best start in life.

What everybody is doing is natural. It’s easy once you know how, and it feels good.

I love breastfeeding because it makes me feel very close to my baby.

I see him grow. And I think to myself: my wife is making him grow. It’s amazing.

How does that feel?

This is Clarissa Georgestone. She is an international breast feeding lactation consultant.

She enjoys helping women to breast feed their babies.

I have been a midwife for the past twenty-five years, and I became a lactation consultant in 2007. So it’s like I've been breastfeeding for a long time.

There are lots of reasons why women breast-feed. Let’s find out why breast milk gives babies the best start in life.

Is the milk coming down?

One – breast milk contains all the goodness that the baby needs for the first six months. It’s got water. It’s got fat. It’s got sugar. It’s got salt. It’s got everything in the right proportion.

Two – breast milk’s safe and it actually protects your child from common illnesses, such as diarrhoea and chest infections.

We always say to mothers that, "every time you feed your baby it’s like giving them an immunisation, because all of the immunity from the mother comes through to the baby. So it’s got everything".

Three – If a breast-fed infant does get ill, they recover more quickly because it contains antibodies, special substances passed on from the mother, that protect your baby from infection.

Now we know why breastfeeding is good for the baby. But there are lots of reasons why it’s good for the mother too. Here are just three of them.

One – it’s easy, it’s safe, it’s quick. We always say breast milk is on tap. The baby gets it whenever and wherever it wants it.

Two – breastfeeding is also good for the mother because it minimises the risk of some cancers, brittle bone disease and also bleeding, especially after delivery.

Three – breastfeeding can be really good with bonding.

You can see: you are feeding the baby and the baby is looking at you. Even that smile was reassuring just now.

He’s making eye contact with me now.

Eye contact with you throughout the feed. And you know, it is reassuring for him knowing, "my mum is here". And it’s a good feeling for you as well.

Breast feeding not only benefits mothers and babies: it’s actually good for everyone.

Breastfeeding benefits the whole family because it’s free.

Breast-fed babies are better able to contribute to family life as they grow up smarter and stronger

Let’s look at why breast milk is so much better than artificial milk, otherwise known as infant formula.

One – you cannot match breast milk and artificial milk. Breast milk does protect a baby from diseases. Artificial milk doesn’t.

Two – bottles, teats and the water for the milk all need to be boiled for a long time to clear harmful germs. If they aren't your baby could get diarrhoea, which can cause death.

Three – to make infant formula last longer some parents use less powder or use dried ordinary milk powder as it’s cheaper. Both options are dangerous because babies don’t grow properly and can die.

Four – buying infant formula is expensive. The utensils and the fuel are another cost. Imagine how your family could spend that money instead.

Of course there are exceptional cases where the child needs to be fed with formula: when the mother is seriously sick, on certain medications or the child is an orphan. Always ask for medical advice to help to reduce the risks in these rare cases.

When your baby has just been born, you will produce a yellowish milk. This is called colostrum and it's rich in nutrients. It’s important that your baby receives this for the first few days. Let’s explain why.

It is very important that you feed your baby with this colostrum, ideally within the first hour of birth, or as early as possible.

I breast-fed my son within the first hour of him being born because I knew it was the best thing for him, and the best thing to get milk flow going.

When I first had him I was so tired I really didn’t feel like breastfeeding. But the midwife said how good the colostrum was for him. So I did, and I'm really glad that I did now.

In certain cultures the colostrum is thrown away and babies are given herbal teas for the first few days. This is not recommended.

Some cultures and mothers are concerned about colostrum. Some people advise giving teas, but don’t! Because it damages the baby’s gut and makes them prone to infection.

So how do you know if your baby is feeding effectively?

Look at this image. Which baby do you think is feeding well?

This baby is feeding successfully, while the other baby is not.

Let’s find out why, as we hear some tips on the best way to breast-feed.

Finding the right position can really help your baby suck on the breast and swallow effectively. You will be comfortable, and your baby too.

Step One: your baby’s body needs to be in a straight line.

Step Two: make sure your baby is not reaching out for their feed.

Bring your baby close to you with their nose level with your nipple.

Think nose to nipple.

Step Three: wait for your baby to open their mouth really wide.

Step Four: your baby should take a large mouthful of the breast, and the chin should be touching your breast with the nipple deep inside their mouth.

When latched on, your baby’s mouth will cover your nipple and most of the dark area around your nipple will be covered too.

Now what you do is you bring the baby around, nose to nipple here, and baby lying across there. You can just support the baby’s neck here, so they can be able to move their heads here. And what you do is you just push down like that, and do like a nipple sandwich. Once the nipple touches their noses and they open their mouth, once they have a big gape, then you can bring the baby nipple to nose, bring the baby towards you supporting there. Once the baby’s really latched on properly, you should not be feeling any pain. Some people feel that initial discomfort when the baby latches on.

That’s good. You're really doing well and you can see that actually your baby is really relaxed you know, and it’s nice to see you relax as well you know, shoulders down you know you're doing really well. Mother happy – baby happy.

It’s really important to make sure you find the right position. A lot of mums can experience pain and discomfort initially, and it’s really important to persevere.

My nipples bled when I began to breast-feed but then I got help, and everything’s sorted.

The first two to three weeks are difficult, but I persevered and now it’s really rewarding. And I'm really enjoying it, and so is Sophie.

It was quite hard in the beginning and now she’s amazing, yeah. Can't imagine doing anything else.

You may find that friends and family give you different advice on whether to feed from one breast or both breasts at every feed. It can be confusing. So what’s best to do?

After a few minutes of feeding, your breast milk becomes richer in fat and this is what really helps your baby grow. So it’s important not to switch breasts before your baby has finished getting milk from the first breast.

Shall we try on your other booby?

When your baby has finished one breast, offer them the second breast. They might not want it but let your baby decide.

– There you go. You don’t want it, no?” – Not interested

And start each session of feeding on different breasts to keep both breasts producing lots of milk.

One of the most common reasons that mothers give up breast feeding is they worry that they're not producing enough milk. What should you do if you're worried about your milk supply?

It’s quite natural for people to think that they don’t have enough milk. I mean that’s one of the reasons why people give up. But to reassure you I'd like to tell you that most mothers can breast-feed successfully, and the babies will have enough milk. You’ve got enough milk to feed twins.

Sometimes I do worry whether or not I'm producing enough milk, but my midwife has assured me that, you know, I am producing more than enough milk. And if I'm ever worried or concerned, just to continually breast-feed because the more you feed the more milk you will actually produce.

If you’re still worried that your baby isn't getting enough milk try to get help from family, friends or a health professional.

Most mothers, especially new mothers, will worry at some point about how often their baby needs to be fed.

There’s no hard and fast rule on how often you feed your baby. Feed your baby when the baby wants to be fed, and then for the first few months of life the baby’s...the best place for the baby is on the breast.

In the beginning sometimes it’s difficult to know how often to feed the baby, but with time they kind of develop a pattern so, you know, you know whether or not they're hungry, or if they need a cuddle. And yeah, it just gets easier as you know your baby.

It feels like I'm feeding him all the time at the moment, but I know as he gets older he won't need feeding as much.

If your baby is poorly or they're growing, they need to feed a bit more, so don’t worry about it if you think they're feeding frequently, that’s fine.

There may be times when you find it difficult to breast-feed, like when you're sick. But do try to continue breastfeeding, otherwise your milk flow may stop, and you might find it difficult to breast-feed again when you're better.

If you fall ill it’s really advisable for you to get help. You can have your friends, relatives or anybody to help you with the chores, whilst you concentrate on feeding your baby and getting better.

There may be times when your friends and family suggest that you give your baby something other than breast milk. This is not advisable. Let’s find out why.

It’s understandable that in hot weather you feel that you need to give the baby extra water, but you don’t need to give extra water. All you need to do is feed, feed, feed.

At four months my baby seemed so hungry, I was tempted to give some baby food, but I just breast-fed him and he continued to be fine because I knew breastfeeding was better.

I was tempted to give my baby formula milk because he seemed hungry, but now I know my body will make the right amount of milk for my baby.

Remember, give vitamin drops and medicine only if you’ve been advised to do so by your health professional.

There you go darling.

Crying in the night does not mean that your baby needs porridge or extra food. Just get to know your baby. If they're windy, you wind them. If they want to be fed, you feed them, breast milk.

Now remember: no water, no herbal teas, porridge, sugar or other milk for the first six months. Solely breastfeeding. So now you know how to breast-feed, and why it’s so good for you and your baby. It’s no wonder that women around the world are breastfeeding. Don’t be left behind. Be one of them.

I will tell women who are expecting a baby to breast-feed if they can, because it’s the most wonderful thing you can do for your child.

I’m so happy to think that I'm giving my baby the best start in life.

I am very happy! So happy, you know. I see him grow and think to myself: my wife is making him grow!

I can't imagine why women wouldn’t breast feed if they can, because it’s good for you and it’s good for the baby.

I'm so happy to think that I'm giving my baby the best start in life.

It feels really good, because it’s just kind of me and Sophie kind of bonding, so... It’s kind of us spending quality time together and, you know, just me knowing that she’s getting all the nutrients and stuff that she needs, so I do enjoy it actually.

With thanks to Southwark Breastfeeding Support Cafes, Medical Experts - Clarissa Georgestone, Dr Marko Kerac, Marie McGrath Kirsten and Michael Lathauwer, Gordon Brothers Europe

Presenter - Tammi Walker, Camera (South Africa) Tim Wega, Camera (Mozambique) Sarah Wallace, Editor - Amanda Baxter

Series Producer - Emma Piquemal, MAF Executive - Anne Prost, Producer/Director - Ceri Whitby

Medical Aid Films - Films for Life

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 34 seconds
Year: 2011
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Medical Aid Films
Views: 937
Posted by: nand on Mar 29, 2012

This animation is aimed at women in the community, front-line health care providers, midwives and nurses.

This film educates on the importance of exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months. It details nutritional and health benefits breastfeeding provides to both mother and baby.

© Medical Aid Films - 2011

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