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Ten 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 more.

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 advice.

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 life.
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.


Melanie 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.

 

 
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