The milk of the mother is the best food for the baby. To make for a good start, it’s useful to prepare yourself during pregnancy for breastfeeding.
You can ask questions about breastfeeding during consulting hours and we also give workshops on how to breastfeed. We recommend you visit these. The better prepared, the better it will go when the baby is there, there is already so much to worry about in childbed. There’s also a lot of information accessible on the internet, such as videos that show how to feed. Also visit borstvoeding.nl or borstvoedingscentrum.nl. The maternity help will visit you every day to help you breastfeed. Sometimes we call in help from a lactation expert, who is a specialist in helping a mother to breastfeed.
Advances of breastfeeding
- The milk holds antibodies that protect your baby from illnesses and infections. The first milk (colostrums) is the first step of building the immune system;
- Children who have been breastfed are ill less often;
- The chance of being taken into the hospital in the first year of the baby is decreased five times;
- The milk plays a significant part in the process of building the brain and nerve tissue;
- Breastfeeding improves development of the jaw;
- Breastfed children suffer less from diarrhea and inflammation of the ear;
- Your own milk has been perfectly adapted to the needs of the baby, it contains all necessary nutrients that the child needs in the first 6 months of his or her life. The composition of the milk changes if the needs of the baby do;
- The milk is always accessible, is sterile, on the right temperature, easy digestible, cannot decay and doesn’t cause any refuses;
- Women that have breastfed, have a decreased chance for breast cancer or cancer in the ovaries.
Starting to breastfeed
Most babies have very strong sucking reflexes within the first hour after birth and are very clear. Wait until you find the baby is searching and smacking his/her lips, then place him/her to your breast. If you can breastfeed the baby soon after birth, breastfeeding will commence sooner. Furthermore the child learns, especially within this hour how he/she can drink well from the breast. During the rest of the week of childbed, the baby will profit from this knowledge, because it can be very sleepy sometimes.
Try to breastfeed at least every 2 or 3 hours during the first 24 hours, preferably with both breasts. This will help breastfeeding start off most rapidly. Breastfeed at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, don’t try to feed on schedule, but feed as soon as your baby awakes, or asks for it.
Bottle feeding is a good alternative in case you cannot or do not want to breastfeed. Should there be any allergies in your family, we advise hypo-allergen milk. The proteins in this milk (cow milk proteins) have endured a special treatment, they have been split up into shorter protein chains. If these smaller proteins pass the intestinal walls, they won’t soon be recognized as strangers. This reduces the chances on an allergic reaction.
Try to alternate your arms whilst feeding, in order to avoid a so-called preference for an arm or position. Let only 1 or 2 persons give bottle feeding, too much variation can be too fidgety to the child. Make regular skin contact, by placing the baby’s skin to yours. Investigation shows that skin contact makes the baby happier, regulates and stabilizes the body temperature, the heart rate and breathing frequency are more normal and the blood sugar amount of the baby is higher.
If you have to give additional feeding (bottle feeding or breastfeeding) we advise a bottle with a broad teat, in order to imitate natural circumstances (which means breastfeeding) as strictly as possible.
For more information on breastfeeding, the use of a breast pump, breastfeeding and work, we refer to: