Child healthWomen and health



The world breast feeding week officially starts today. It is August first, a time to celebrate, encourage and teach all mothers (and fathers)how, why and when to breast feed their babies!

It is popular belief that breastfeeding is a skill that is inherent in all women. Attaching a baby on the breast is however not an ability with which a mother is born. Breast feeding is a skill that must be learned by observation and experience. Learning to breastfeed is as hard as learning to drive and as anxiety provoking. Mothers must therefore be apprenticed ante-natally, and even after their babies are born.

New mothers should start breastfeeding their babies as soon as they are born. A midwife should be present to help guide the mother through. Note that, she will find it tough at first. The first feeds will be problematic. But re-assure them that it doesn’t mean that they can’t do it, and most importantly, their babies will not starve. Therefore, there is no reason to be fast in giving those formula feeds.

How to breast feed

Successful breast feeding starts with the belief that you can do it. Don’t be uncertain or anxious.

-Mother and child should breastfeed in a relaxed environment.

-The mother should be helped into a comfortable position- lying by her side or seated in a comfortable chair.

-The infant should be cradled next to the breast with their head propped up by the mother’s hand.

-The infant should be placed with the their stomach flat against the mother’s upper abdomen (stomach to stomach).

-When the mouth is open the nipple and lower part of the areola is pushed well back into the infant’s mouth against the palate. This way, the hard palate compresses and massages the milk sinuses that lie beneath the areola

Your baby is well attached to the breast if;

  • The mouth is wide open
  • Baby’s chin touches the breast
  • Baby’s lower lip is curled outward
  • Usually the lower portion of the areola is not visible( areola is the black of the breast that normally surrounds the nipple)
  • Their nose is not buried into the breast as this might interfere with nasal breathing

Once the baby is properly attached to the breast, then you should;

Continue feeding until the baby releases the breast

Then hold the baby vertically and gently (note to fathers) tap their back two to three times to drive out swallowed air (burping the baby).

Place the baby in bed either lying on their side or prone (lying on their back).

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Doreen Saringi

Hey there, welcome. I am Dr. Oyunge. Books are my second love and writing is my third. Once I take off my white coat, I pick my pen.

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