In support of World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), a new study reveals the most frequently Googled questions around breastfeeding, along with insight from various medical experts on these commonly searched for queries.
How to breastfeed
Nicola, a clinic nurse at MYA explains: “Although fundamentally the most natural of processes, it can take a while to feel both competent and confident in breastfeeding your new-born, but it’s a skill you and your baby can learn together.”
Here are some useful tips from Nicola;
- Before each feed make sure you adopt a comfortable position, whether in bed or in a chair, sitting up or lying down on your side. Use pillows or cushions for extra support (a V-shaped pillow is great) – this will ensure your shoulder and arms are relaxed. Avoid interruptions.
- Are you holding your baby close to you? Your baby’s body and head should be in a straight line, facing you ‘tummy to mummy’.
- Supporting your baby’s neck, shoulders and back will make them feel secure and this will allow them to tilt their head back and swallow easily.
- Always bring your baby’s head to your breast, rather than you leaning forward and ‘posting’ the breast into your baby’s mouth, as this can lead to poor attachment
- Your baby needs to ‘get hold’ of a large amount of the breast tissue, i.e. the brown area around the nipple known as the areola – this is where the milk reservoirs are. It is really important that the baby doesn’t suck on the nipple as this is only the ‘doorway’ and will lead to sore nipples and no milk for baby!
- Place your baby’s nose level with your nipple, as this will encourage them to open their mouth wide and to attach to the breast well.
- Avoid holding the back of your baby’s head, so they tip their head back. This will encourage them to come to your breast chin first. This should then enable them to take a big mouthful of breast and the nipple will go past the hard roof of their mouth and end up at the back of their mouth against the soft palate.
- You should observe for both top and bottom lip curled out, as this is a sign of good attachment. The sucking mechanism of the baby’s mouth will release the milk from the reservoirs allowing them to swallow.
- If your baby stops sucking, tickle the underside of their feet or blow gently on their face to remind them to suck.
Can you breastfeed with implants?
A surgeon at MYA Cosmetic Surgery explains:
“Yes, it is possible to breastfeed with implants – the majority of women who have had the procedure are able to breastfeed successfully with no issues at all.
“However it is possible for some women to experience difficulty, which can be down to a variety of reasons, such as; if you have very large implants breastfeeding may be impaired, if the woman suffers from mastitis, or if the patient experienced a complication relating to their implants (e.g. capsular contracture).”
How long to breastfeed for?
Nicola, a clinic nurse at MYA explains: “According to the NHS, it’s recommended that you breastfeed your baby exclusively for 4- 6 months if you are able to. Research has shown that breast milk contains all the essential nourishment for baby to thrive without having to introduce formula or solids until around this time.
“However, it doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding when you get to six months as continuing has great benefits to you and your baby.
Benefits for baby include:
- It builds up antibodies in your baby’s blood to fight against infections and certain illnesses such as asthma.
- It is gentler on your baby’s stomach and reduces the risk of gastroenteritis.
- It helps prevent glue ear and dental caries.
Benefits for Mum include:
- It reduces the risk of osteoporosis and breast & ovarian cancer
- Helps Mums regain their pre-pregnancy figures quicker
- It is a cheaper and more convenient option. It’s also environmentally friendly.
- There are many other benefits outside of nutrition too; for example, it helps to reassure your bond and comfort your growing baby, even when they are a toddler, and gives you a chance to sit down and relax
- The benefits of breastfeeding are more than just about nutrition, it helps to reassure the bond with your baby, and is a great way to comfort your growing baby, even when they are a toddler. It also gives you a chance to sit down and relax
“If you are comfortable with breastfeeding, there is no need to stop until you or your baby are ready to. There is no fixed endpoint. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends continued breastfeeding, along with other nutritional sources, for two years or more – however it truly is a personal decision between you and your baby.
“Mums shouldn’t, however, be made to feel guilty or seen as a failure if they decide to give their baby formula.”
Can you breastfeed with nipple piercings?
Nicola, a clinic nurse at MYA explains: “I would strongly advise removing any form of piercings in the nipple before breastfeeding. It would be uncomfortable for the baby, as they would experience metal in the mouth when sucking. There is also a chance of the piercings blocking the nipple ducts.”
John Ryan, Chairman at MYA Cosmetic Surgery adds:
“Our research shows that a large number of people are regularly turning to the internet for advice around breastfeeding. There is a lot of information out there, and we imagine it can be a very confusing experience for those looking for genuine advice and research. Therefore, we enlisted the help of our expert surgeons to shed some light on some of these common internet searches.
“We’d always advise seeking medical advice from a professional if you have any questions or queries, as safety is the number one priority.”