Breastfeeding difficulties and how to work around them
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby not to mention that it is very healthy for your tot. Breast milk contains antibodies which help your baby fight viruses and nasty infections also lowering the risk of allergies and lactose intolerance.
For some mommies who are quite enthusiastic about breastfeeding, it can be a difficult experience to get used to. Not to despair though because we’ve spoken to a first time mom who had difficulties but managed to conquer them to become a breastfeeding pro.
Shamiso Chaibva (35) is an IT consultant from Kensington in Johannesburg. She gave birth to her daughter, Ruvenego in April and has opted to breastfeed her daughter until she returns to work in September. She shares her breastfeeding difficulties and how she overcame them below.
“I had no milk in the first 2 to 3 days. This was quite stressful as it took a while for me to figure out I was not producing as the first milk can be clear. After I asked my lactation consultant to check, she confirmed it and I had to give my baby formula until my milk started producing.
“It was stressful as I still had to put her on the breast though nothing was secreting, to encourage breastmilk production.
The first few weeks were very painful for me each time my baby latched. The pain is indescribable, but a few seconds later it goes away. As each feed began, I dreaded the painful latching process. The pain goes away with time though and using a lanolin based nipple cream worked to alleviate the pain.
Not knowing if my daughter was full was a challenge for me especially after the few days of not producing milk. Initially I was worried I was not giving her enough, and so I bought Nun to top her up, also because she would cry I thought she might have been hungry and so I topped up. Then a week later I thought I was overfeeding her but when my milk was now flowing she was visibly growing but I feared I could have been overdoing it.
“Very little milk can be secreted during expressing especially in the beginning, after figuring out how the machine works. When very little milk is expressed it makes you wonder if you are doing it right, and if so does it mean baby is getting enough milk, and if not do you need to top up or not. For successful expressing I started drinking water as I express (works like a charm). Diet wise I would eat fenugreek seeds and jungle juice. Generally for both expressing and breastfeeding staying hydrated is key to having lots of milk. Almonds, peanuts and oat biscuits are some other food items that I have found to work for me.”
Shamiso’s top five tips for becoming a pro at breastfeeding
Attend antenatal classes to help you prepare on what to expect and how to deal with it, even though it may not address all the issues it gives you a good idea.
Being at peace knowing you are doing the best you can with what you have without comparing yourself with the next mummy. Some of the mommys I am with don’t have enough milk so they have to give their babies formula and that’s ok. Some have to change formulas because of different reactions and that’s ok, you are doing the best you can.
Seeking help from a lactation consultant
Being part of a support group or just a group of mummies with whom you can help each other.
Getting help be it hired or from family and friends. Also learning to accept help, instead of thinking only you can hold your baby.
Finding helpful resources such as: LLL (La Leche League) it is a nonprofit organization that organises advocacy, educational, and training related to breastfeeding. It is present in a number of countries including SA. It’s purpose is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.”
They have a Facebook as well as contacts on the page that can provide 24-hour help.
Everything you need to know about labour pain medication
Your due date is nearing and you’ve decided to have a natural birth. You have decided on a hospital, you are all prepared and all that’s left is for your contractions to start.
But as well prepared as you are, you may still be racking your brain over which type of pain medication to use. We bring you all the information related to the four types of pain medication available:
With this form of pain reliever, you remain awake and alert during the birth and can push your baby out. An epidural removes feeling from the lower part of your body, completely numbing it. The epidural is administered through a tube in the lower back and can also be used in the case of a caesarean. Short terms effects of an epidural on baby may include a change in heart rate, breathing problems, drowsiness, reduced muscle tone, and reduced breastfeeding. The American College of Obstrecians and Gynaecologists states that the mother may experience headaches, a fever and decrease in blood pressure.
This is administered directly into the spine through a single shot and pain relief and lasts for up to two hours. A spinal block can be used in both a vaginal and caesarean birth and also has the same side effects of an epidural.
Combined spinal and epidural
This is fast relief for women in labour and provides immediate relief from pain. It has similar side effects to the epidural.
Mom can inhale this gas before or as contractions start to reduce anxiety and restlessness. It is odourless and tasteless and safe for both mother and child. Side effects include feeling nauseous and dizzy.
Pudendal block (local anaesthesia)
This is injected into the areas around the vagina and rectum by a specialist when vaginal delivery begins. Pain relief is effective and this medicine helps when the doctor may need to cut through tissue to help the baby come out during a vaginal delivery. There are few cases of reported incidents of a baby being affected by pudendal block while high doses may leave moms with heart related issues which usually go away as the anaesthesia wears off.
Five foods that aren’t safe for your baby
Babies are naturally curious and as they develop in the first six months, it won’t be surprising as they begin reaching for your plate and try to taste your food. Yet as much as their development is fascinating and moms may be tempted to give them a taste of adult or finger foods, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highly recommends that babies only be fed breast milk or formula. Cow’s milk and soya are completely ruled out as these contain allergens and minerals that your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready to handle.
We’ve tabled a list of five foods that you should definitely keep away from your baby, especially in the first 12 months of their development as these may cause infections, build toxins and harm your child which could result in fatality.
Honey can contain clostridium botulinum, a bacteria which produces toxins and can lead to poisoning. Your infant’s digestive system is unable to guard against this bacteria as it is not fully developed and unlike an adult, which is able to process this bacterium without harm, this could lead to a fatal infection in your baby as it carries a 7.5% risk of death according to medicalnewstoday.com.
Juice may seem like a natural choice for your infant but it contains high volumes of sugar, preservatives and acid. Rather dilute juice with water and serve it to your child in minute amounts.
Egg whites are a rich source of protein however they can cause allergens in your baby. Your child’s immune system is still developing and introducing egg whites too early can lead to an allergic reaction leading to anaphylaxis, a restriction of the airways and can result in sending the body into shock.
Nuts and seeds
The seeds contained in most fruits and vegetables such as peaches, apples, grapes and plums could cause your little one to choke. Pumpkin seeds are also quite small and may get lodged in the airway of a baby, obstructing their breathing.
Marshmallows, chewing, gum and candy can lead to choking as your baby may struggle to swallow these foods.
Handy hint: Keep a journal of your baby’s development from birth until they are a year old to keep track of what foods they are being introduced to and their reaction to it. This will help you narrow down what foods your baby isn’t reacting well to and which solids to introduce from the six month mark. Always consult your paediatrician or a dietician to get medical advice related to allergies and digestive conditions. We recommend going online onto www.nutripaeds.co.za for more information.
The checklist: how to prevent diaper rash
By: Bernice Maune
It can be alarming to open up your baby’s diaper and see an itchy, red rash caused by wearing a diaper for too long. Yet, every baby is bound to experience a rash in their nappy wearing lifetime but the key is to prevent this from becoming a regular occurrence.
Rashes are caused by poo or urine getting pushed up against baby’s skin for a long while resulting in the skin becoming sensitive and breaking out in a rash to protect itself. While most rashes don’t require medical treatment and can be tended to at home, it is best to try and prevent the onset of rashes to limit what can be a painful and irritating experience for your baby.
Loosen the diaper
Don’t fasten the latches around your baby’s waist too tightly. Allow some air to move in-between the diaper and your baby’s bottom.
Expect to change the baby’s diaper up to eight to ten times a day. This is quite normal and will lessen the risk of keeping a diaper on for too long and the onset of a rash.
Wipe your baby girl from front to back to prevent the spread of faecal bacteria which can cause an infection to her skin from her bottom.
Cover all bases
Thoroughly wipe the your baby’s bum, not skipping any creases or folds in skin where bacteria could lurk.
Ideally, baby’s bum should be moisturised with a barrier cream or Vaseline to keep the bottom smooth and soft.
Five disposable nappy tips
Distract your baby by singing him a lullaby, making eye contact and making funny faces or tickling him. This will help to make the diaper change faster and simpler to do without baby getting too restless.
Diapers with a wetness indicator make it quicker for mom or dad to notice that a disposable nappy change is due. Be prepared to pay a little more though for brands with indicators.
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each nappy change. This minimises the spread of bacteria between you and baby and your surroundings.
Carry a spare towel or light blanket to spread over a table or in the bathroom when changing diapers in public areas.
Ask family and friends to bring you diapers if they want to bring gifts for baby. While your bundle of joy may outgrow clothes quickly, diapers are a welcome gift as babies can use up to ten diapers a day.
Watch a practical video on how to change a baby’s diaper below
How to register your baby's birth
There are two ways to register your baby’s birth, specifically before 30 days and within a year of giving birth.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, your child’s birth must be registered at a local branch of the department. If you are overseas then this can be done at a South African embassy or consulate.
There are no fees applicable to registering a birth. Children of parents who are married will assume their father’s surname or both parent’s surnames at their request while babies of unmarried parents can take either parent’s surname.
Registering within 30 days
You will need to obtain a BI-24 form and have a copy of your marriage certificate and the original identity document. These documents then need to be submitted to your local Department of Home Affairs branch where you will receive a birth certificate one to two days after registration.
Registering after 30 days to a year
Written reasons must accompany the BI-24 form explaining why the birth was not registered within 30 days. An original identity document and copy of marriage certificate for married parents must then be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs. The application will then be submitted to the head office of the Department of Home Affairs for the allocation of an identity number.
For more information, call the Department of Home Affairs on 0800 601 190.
What no-one tells you after giving birth
By: Bernice Maune
You are nearing the last few weeks of your pregnancy and you can’t wait to hold your baby in your arms. It’s been months of feeling him kick in your belly and as your due date comes closer, you have waited in anticipation of this precious moment. The birth itself will be even more special as your child makes his grand entrance. It will be the first time you meet him and you probably can’t wait for that day.
Family and friends have likely been advising you about the birth and if you are having a natural or Caesarean birth, you are aware of what the experience entails. Yet as much as one can prepare for the birth, there are some details that not many people even your obstetrician can fully brief and prepare for you. We’ve spoken to two first time mothers who shared their experiences of what happened after they welcomed their babies into the world.
Twenty-seven year old Mbali Gushu gave birth to her daughter, Phillipa in 2015. She had an emergency Caesarean birth as Phillippa was in distress and her heartrate was dropping. Mbali says after the birth, she was in intense pain and couldn’t stand up or walk.
“It felt like I got stabbed multiple times in my lower abdomen. It was so painful and even the painkillers were not strong enough to fully relieve me of the pain. I still had to try and move about and not just lay there even though that was what I wanted to do, stay in bed all day until the pain went away.
“The nurses told me to not stay put though and move around. You have to push through the pain, in a week that’s when you start feeling better.”
Amusingly Mbali says her hair was a mess and that she was not fully prepared to deal with it.
“I would advise new moms to get their hair done right before the birth. A simple style like braids or plaits will keep you looking neat and tidy because you will barely get a chance to look after your appearance after the birth.”
Mbali also adds that her first menstrual period after giving birth was unusual as her flow was heavier than normal and she bled for longer than usual.
Refilwe Moagi, gave birth to her son Logan three years ago. She says her birthing experience was nothing like what she had been told.
“My mother and family told me what to expect when having a natural birth but nothing fully prepares you,” says Refilwe.
While walking around the maternity ward to cope with the contractions and to speed up dilation, Refilwe says she suddenly felt her son’s head and rushed to her bed to begin pushing.
“It took minutes to give birth to my son and he practically flew out. While he was coming out I had a bowel movement which was completely unexpected because I had emptied my stomach earlier.
“What made this even more cringe worthy was that the father of my child was in the room and having him see me like that was really weird. I know now that nothing fully prepares you for birth and my doctor neglected to tell me that a bowel movement could happen at the same time as pushing.”
Here are five more unexpected things that happen after birth
You may be emotional and breakdown in tears now and again. The levels of hormones in your body are still high and being emotional is normal. If you feel down for longer than a month, you may want to consult your psychologist to ensure it is not the onset of postpartum depression.
There is a third stage of delivery where your body expels the placenta and all the remaining products of conception. Over the course of the next few days, you will experience bleeding as your uterus completely empties itself to get back to normal.
Bowel movements after a vaginal delivery may be uncomfortable and painful. Buying a mild laxative will help to ease the pain.
Breastfeeding may be painful as your nipples are sensitive and adjusting to having your little one pull and suck on them. Buy a nipple cream to massage onto your nipples in-between feeds.
You may experience brittle hair and hair loss due to hormones.
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