Breastfeeding Your Newborn Baby (Part 1)

By BMSG Editorial Team

This is a mini-series that we have started to offer mums and their families a guide on how to initiate breastfeeding right from birth. Look out for a new part every month!

Are you pregnant and worried about the approaching  journey ahead? Are you still unsure if breastfeeding is the right choice for you and your baby? Welcome to BMSG’s Breastfeeding Your Newborn Baby blog series. Here, we will cover common topics that expecting parents have about kick-starting breastfeeding. In Part 1, we will talk about the following:

  1. Benefits of breastfeeding
  2. Colostrum, The Liquid Gold
  3. How to get started – Skin to Skin
  4. Effects of Poor Attachment

 

Benefits of Breastfeeding

So you have heard all the rave about breastfeeding. But how magical is breastmilk really?

Breastmilk offers many benefits for your baby AND you:

Your Baby

You

  • Breastfeeding reduces the risks of SIDS
  • Instant protection from infections
  • Increases intelligence (CNS)
  • Prevents heart diseases, obesity and cancers later on in life
  • Keeps airways open by reducing allergens – reduced asthma like syndromes
  • Helps organise the sleep/wake cycles
  • Improved suck/swallow/breathe coordinations

Breastmilk is protection for the baby. When a baby suckles, the germs  present on baby’s saliva triggers the production of antibodies in the mother’s milk which she receives right away to protect her.

 

Colostrum: The Liquid Gold

The mother’s first milk is called Colostrum. Often referred to as liquid gold, colostrum is technically your baby’s first vaccination. It is present is very small amounts and sometimes cannot be seen, but the first suckles of a baby on the mother’s breasts is crucial in helping baby get this very important compound.

The mature white milk that we are more familiar with kicks in only between day 3 to 7.

Credits: Australian Breastfeeding Association

Some mums also express out their colostrum into a syringe and feed to their babies if they are separated. Because it is present in such small amounts, hand expressing it works alot better than using a breast pump as it tends to stick to the sides of the bottles or pump parts.

 

Getting Started: Skin-to-Skin

Did you know breastfeeding starts right from the moment your baby is born?

Having your baby skin to skin with you has been proven to help baby regulate their body temperature better and makes them calmer. It is also amazing to know that skin-to-skin helps to stimulate the mother’s milk supply.

When you have had an unmedicated birth and baby is well, and placed on the mother’s abdomen,  many babies will attempt the breastcrawl. It is believed that the nipples and areolas of a mother who has just given birth emit a scent that baby recognises and is attracted to.

While it is not necessary for baby to do the breastcrawl and you can simply offer your breasts, the breastcrawl is a sight to behold and teaches us how babies are simply built to recognise their form of sustenance right from birth.

 

Getting the Right Latch

So your baby is at your breast. Now what?

We know that a newborn’s strongest sucking reflex is found within an hour of birth. This is why most hospitals avoid separating mother and child within the first hour of birth. We recommend that you take advantage of the strong reflex to teach your baby to latch. Note that breastfeeding is a learned skill and needs constant practice, both by you AND your baby.

Frequent  feedings and following baby’s cues are strong indicators of breastfeeding success.

 

Picture Credit: Australian Breastfeeding Association

 

Here are some pointers for a good latch:

  1. Get into a comfortable position with some pillows behind your head and up your back.
  2. Choose a position that you like (more on this in our next series!). Most mothers will choose the laid back position.  Let baby lie on your chest in close proximity to your breasts. Babies usually awaken at the scent of your breasts.
  3. Tickle the sides of baby’s mouth with the nipples and wait for baby’s mouth to open up wide before baby gets a good mouthful of breast tissue. You can tell this by making sure that most or a substantial amount of areola is within baby’s mouth.
  4. If baby’s latch is not optimal, unlatch (insert a finger into baby’s mouth and break the suction) and try again. Some mums also tug down on baby’s chin so that more of the breast can be taken in.
  5. When your are comfortable,  continue to breastfeed and wait for baby to unlatch on her own.

 

Signs of a Good Latch

How do you know that you are doing it right? Below is a checklist of what you can observe from your baby after she has latched.

  • Chin touching breast
  • Mouth wide open
  • Lower lip curled back
  • Cheeks full and rounded
  • More areola visible above top lip
  • Rhythmic suck/swallow with pauses
  • Feeding is pain-free

 

Effects of Poor Attachment

So what happens if you continue with a poor latch?

Mother

Baby

  • Pain while feeding (baby’s hard palate rubs
    on mother’s nipples and this causes pain)
  • Engorgement
  • Mastitis
  • Poor milk supply
  • Loss of confidence – fear of pain
  • Feeding very frequently
  • Poor weight gain
  • Frustration
  • Jaundiced
  • Dehydration


Thus, it is crucial to get a good latch right from the start to ensure that your breastfeeding journey is comfortable for you and your baby.

In Part 2, we will talk about how much is enough for your baby especially during the crucial first month. We will also talk more about other positions that you can use to breastfeed your baby.

Have some burning questions? Contact us via our counselling platforms (9am – 9pm daily) below:

 

May 2018 Newsletter: BMSG 28th Annual General Meeting

By BMSG Editorial Team

It was a cosy affair on 12 May as members of the public, BMSG members and the EXCO gathered together at SCWO for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). As usual, our AGM is a yearly affair where the BMSG team gets to meet our stakeholders, including mothers we have served, people who are invested in the breastfeeding scene as well as family and friends.

BMSG President, Elaine Chow (standing), presenting our Annual Report.

There was an air of excitement in the room as the BMSG team donned our newly-designed t-shirts, which was lovingly produced by our staff and counsellor-in-training JoBeth Williams. As we gathered to hear from our current President, Elaine Chow, while munching on snacks, it was heartwarming to also see the little ones join us. From babies in arms, to sleeping toddlers and chatty preschoolers, it was hard to miss the fact that without these little humans, BMSG would never have come into existence.

We were also heartened to discover that among our attendees was Anna Chin, who was once a Vice-President of BMSG in the 1970s. Anna, who is 75 now, was one of BMSG’s presidents in the 1970s. What was particularly heartwarming to know was when JoBeth, who is a mother of two, shared with us how Anna had been key to helping JoBeth’s mother made the decision to breastfeed her when she was a baby! How life has come full circle is one of the most beautiful things to learn about.

 

JoBeth (left) with our president, Elaine (centre), and Anna (right) who helped JoBeth’s mother made the decision to breastfed her when she was a baby.

As per our usual AGM routine, Elaine presented the Annual Report (AR) which was divided into 4 main sections:

  1. Outreach
  2. Activities & Events
  3. Collaborations and
  4. Media report (mentions of BMSG in the media)

Over the course of 2017 and the first half of 2018, BMSG has delved into several initiatives that were meant to extend our reach to mothers, improve the quality of our services as well as to provide more platforms for mothers to meet.

 

Counselling

Notably, our counselling platforms have increased; while we used to only serve mothers via our hotlines, we have seen a growing demand on our Facebook (FB) group which urged us to streamline our counselling efforts online. We rostered more counsellors to respond to queries on Facebook, ensuring that they were available to comment and help mothers through every Facebook enquiry. Our FB group now consists of over 11,700 members and the numbers are growing everyday. We also saw a demand for fathers and other family members apart from mums wanting to join our FB group to seek knowledge and support, which then led us to open up another FB group called “Breastfeeding Families” to cater to this need. Additionally, we also offer WhatsApp counselling which has seen a huge following since its inception possibly due to the increased privacy that mothers crave especially since breastfeeding can be a rather personal issue.

 

Workshops

With the increase in demand, especially with our Breastfeeding 101 workshop following our huge price change at the beginning of 2018 ($35 per couple and free for Community Health Assist Scheme – CHAS – cardholders), we have also started to offer monthly BF101 workshops. Our workshops have been selling out like hotcakes and we are looking into firming up our resources, especially since we are training a new batch of counsellors, which is our yearly investment to constantly improve our quality of services.

 

Activities

Our activities in 2017 and in early 2018 have been focused on reaching out to mums. We have also been offering our Mum 2 Mum (M2M) meetups since 2017, alternating between weekdays and weekends. We have found repeat attendees and some participants also come along with their family members in order to educate or to involve them in understanding the needs of a breastfeeding family. Our M2Ms are also high in demand but we try to keep the numbers small to keep the meetups cosy. We hope to continue this effort in 2018 with more vigour and variety – we have just recently collaborated with the National University Hospital (NUH) to conduct monthly meetups, and we also hope to target pregnant mothers as well. We are also collaborating with babywearing educators from Babywearing Singapore to provide breastfeeding knowledge in their workshops for parents held at the local libraries over the month. Definitely exciting times ahead!

Our EXCO members and staff (Nabila & JoBeth, in maroon & grey baby carriers respectively) donning our newly designed t-shirts!

Breastfeeding Advocacy

Our presence in the media is also important. As an organisation that prides itself on equipping members with breastfeeding support and upgrading of breastfeeding knowledge, providing information to the public is key in helping to normalise breastfeeding. This is where we are more than a service provider but also the platform for us to advocate for breastfeeding and provide accurate information as well as topple myths and misperceptions towards breastfeeding. Our President and Vice-President (Khatim Hamidon) have been quoted in the media a few times this year on matters related to breastfeeding.

We are also proud to announce that we have been successfully inducted into the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) under its Asian chapter. Our President had had the honour of attending its General Assembly earlier this year and we are now part of a global network of organisations and individuals who are fighting hard and working towards policies around the world that will impact the way young babies and children are fed.

As we look back at 2017, we can’t help but be excited at what’s to come. We have a long road ahead of us and many expectations to fulfill from the mothers we serve. We are excited at how much we have grown but we also know it comes with a lot of hard work, team effort and commitment. We hope that the coming year will see more concerted effort and celebration success big or small.

For a full copy of our AR, click here.

For a full copy of our Financial Report, click here.