Tips for Happy Breastfeeding
by Melanie Waxman
1. When it comes to breastfeeding,
the most important thing you can do for yourself and your
baby is to REST.
Resting allows for your body to produce nourishing breast
milk. Often we feel a huge surge of energy after our baby
is born. However, this energy is created to help the contraction
of the uterus and to re-gain inner strength and vitality.
If you use up your energy by rushing around, you will have
little left for you or your baby. If you are tired, your baby
will be fussy and demanding. Rest as much as you can for the
first six weeks. I stayed in bed for two weeks after each
baby. I know this made a huge difference to how I felt on
all levels, emotionally, physically and mentally. I also had
plenty of milk and my babies were able to adjust to life on
earth in a calm, peaceful manner.
2. Stress and worry can
also cause your milk to dry up or become acidic.
If your milk is acidic, it can give your baby colic and make
him difficult. If you are stressed and tired, your milk becomes
thinner and less satisfying for your baby. Make sure you take
time to relax, sit or walk outside in nature. The freshness
of trees, grass and flowers actually help you to feel uplifted
and are a great stress relief. If you are worrying about your
baby, make sure to contact other mothers for support.
3. Many women suffer from
sore nipples when they first start breastfeeding.
Watch your diet and avoid eating salty, oily or hard, dry
baked foods such as chips, cookies or toast. The juice of
finely grated carrot is very helpful for soothing painful
nipples. Rub a little over the them before nursing. I only
experienced sore nipples with one child and it was extremely
painful. I found that using a small amount of almond oil after
the baby has nursed made a difference. Rubbing a little breast
milk around the nipples can also help relieve soreness.
Make an effort to toughen up your nipples before you have
the baby by rubbing them briskly with a dry, coarse towel
and then softening the area with a little almond oil. Another
good idea is to change the position in which you nurse at
every feeding. This puts the pressure of the baby's gums on
a different spot each time. Try to nurse more often, but for
shorter lengths of time. If you go longer between feedings,
the baby will be hungrier and nurse too hard and make your
breasts even sorer.
4. When nursing at night,
burp the baby well otherwise, he will wake up again quickly.
Keep him well wrapped so he won't notice the temperature change
when you put him back in his crib. Often the breasts leak
at the early stages of breastfeeding. Place a towel on your
side of the bed to prevent staining. I used to wear a bra
to bed during the early months because it felt more comfortable.
Some women like to drape a cotton cloth over their breasts
instead. Breastfeed babies are all different, some sleep through
the night at an early age and many continue to nurse through
the night for a few months. It will be easier for your baby
to get on a routine if you have a routine in your daily life.
5. Certain foods help to
make your milk rich and nourishing.
However, eating oily/greasy foods can make your milk too rich
and effect your baby's digestion causing him to spit up often
Mochi,, which is made from pounded, sweet brown rice, is very
good for producing nourishing milk. Mochi is purchased in
cake form and can be fried, steamed or added to soup. Mild
miso soup with tofu, onions, shiitake and lots of greens is
also beneficial. Creamy soups made from sweet vegetables such
as onions, carrots, squash or sweet potato are very nourishing
too. A wide variety of organic, natural foods are recommended
during breastfeeding. Use fresh vegetables, whole grains,
beans, sea vegetables, fish and fruit.
Although I don't advocate drinking alcohol while breastfeeding,
Guinness has been used traditionally to help bring in the
milk. Sometimes it can take a few days for the first milk
to come in and mothers often become very anxious which delays
the process further. Guinness is very high in nutrition especially
iron and a small glass can work wonders in relaxing the mother
and providing the necessary ingredients to get your milk flowing.
Drink one glassful everyday for three days. Some babies have
digestive systems that are not fully mature, and spicy and
gassy foods like onions, cabbage, broccoli or beans MIGHT
make them fussy. Try eating different foods, one at a time,
to see how your baby reacts to them. If something really makes
him fussy and uncomfortable, don't eat it for a couple of
weeks. As his digestive system matures, he can handle much
6. Many women suffer from
engorged breasts when their milk first comes in.
This can be very uncomfortable and is quickly relieved as
the baby nurses. Try to nurse every two hours to help relieve
the discomfort. A warm shower can help too. An old remedy
that works very well is lining your bra with cold cabbage
leaves. Remove the central stem and cut a hole for your nipples.
Replace the cabbage when it becomes warm. Sometimes women
experience plugged ducts or breast infections. In both cases
make sure you rest well and drink plenty of fluids. Nurse
on the infected side first. Apply a compress made from rinsed
and soaked 'Kombu' sea vegetable. Place a strip of kombu over
the infected breast for about one hour. Remove and place crushed,
cold. leafy greens such as kale on the breast for a few hours.
Repeat if necessary. Eating large pieces of daikon (white
radish) which have been steamed until soft are extremely helpful
in easing all breast problems. Eat them on a regular basis.
7. Breastfeeding is such
a special relationship with your baby and demonstrates a clear
message of love, warmth, safety and reassurance to your newborn.
However, it is important to take care of your body too.
It is also easy to experience tension in your upper back,
shoulders and neck. Make sure you take time to stretch even
if it is for a few minutes after nursing. Simple stretching
will help your posture and ease away stiffness or sore muscles.
Use pillows for support when nursing to prevent excessive
strain on your back. A daily walk will help to keep your body
in good shape and stress free. Regular massage after you have
a baby is also beneficial.
8. Wear pure cotton next
to your skin especially when nursing.
Cotton carries less of a static electrical charge than other
materials and when worn next to the skin, helps to neutralize
imbalances in the body. Synthetics on the other hand, increase
imbalances. So if you are feeling more tired or anxious, synthetics
will actually make you feel worse. Cotton clothing helps you
to feel re-freshed and creates a stronger resistance to illness.
By using cotton clothing, your breastmilk will be more nourishing
and less acidic. Your baby will also benefit from the use
of natural fibers in clothing, diapers, towels, underwear
and sheets. Often when women first start to breastfeed, they
experience leaking from the breasts as their milk lets down.
Choose natural cotton nursing pads to help prevent staining.
While nursing from one breast, press gently but firmly against
the other nipple to stop it leaking. This condition improves
as your milk supply aligns with the demands of your baby.
9. Many breast-fed babies
suffer from mild jaundice for a few days after birth.
Place the baby in a sunny spot in your house, such as a beneath
a window, for about five minutes on his front and then on
his back. Remove all his clothes. Make sure the room is warm.
Watch your diet and avoid excess salt, crackers, toast, cookies,
dairy and animal foods. A special tea made from dried daikon
radish and dried shiitake mushroom works wonders. Drink one
cup a day for about 3 days. If your baby has yellowing in
the eyes and appears lethargic, make sure to seek medical
10. In order for your baby
to establish a regular routine and begin to sleep through
the night, you need to establish a regular routine in your
Make sure to get up and go to bed at the same time each day
and to have your meals at the same time. This will make a
huge difference to your baby. If you separated from the baby
during the day, make sure to have an established routine when
you are together.
If your baby wakes up a lot at night, you could try nursing
more often when you are together and see if you can lessen
the number of night time feedings. Feeding patterns do change
as the baby grows older, teething, growth spurts, all kinds
of things can change when she wants to eat and how much, how
she is sleeping...a lot like our eating and sleeping patterns.
Again, look at the total picture of what is going on with
her and you. Mother and child are one. How you conduct your
day will have a direct effect on how your baby behaves.
Waxman began studying Oriental medicine in 1980 and
went on to specialize in macrobiotic cooking. She has lived
in Portugal, England and America and has trained cooks from
all over the world. Melanie is the mother of seven children.
She has cooked for international recording stars, fashion
designers, doctors, and business professionals and has helped
thousands of others to change their lifestyle and way of eating.
She has written a children's cook book; Mr. Hoppity's Color
Me Cook book for Kids, a series of self-published12 Cooklets
and has recently published Bless the Baby, a beautifully illustrated
book on the natural and traditional ways a mother can bond
with her newborn. Melanie is also a massage therapist and
Feng Shui consultant.