3. The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding
Breast-feeding an infant is a supply and demand function. The more (and longer) a baby nurses, the more milk is produced. This causes the milk supply to keep up with the growing and developmental needs of an infant.
As explained in the definition of let-down reflex, there is front milk and hind milk. The front milk gets sucked out by the baby which causes a hormone to be released into the mother’s body and lets the hind milk down. The hind milk is richer than the front milk and there is more of it. Sometimes when the hind milk lets down it drips out and may spray outward from mothers’ breasts. Oftentimes the mere sound of the baby crying, the sight of him, or the thought of him, can cause this let-down reflex.
Sometimes the milk gushes out too fast for the baby to swallow and he may choke a little on it. He usually turns, his head to one side to catch a breath of air. He then gets squirted in the face. Keep a spare diaper or other cloth handy to absorb this extra milk. You may need to burp the baby after swallowing too much milk to prevent upsetting his stomach.
Nursing for just a few minutes on each breast will fail to let down the hind milk in most cases. The baby needs this richer, higher-quality milk in order to ensure his nutritional requirements. Make sure you nurse for at least five to ten minutes on each breast to obtain hind milk.
After a few weeks a new mother will get used to the feeling of the let-down reflex. She will recognize the tingling sensation in her breasts and the full feeling.
More milk will let down when a woman relaxes. If she is tense and upset, only the front milk will come out and baby will be dissatisfied. It is best to wait until calm to nurse.
Colostrum has long been thought of as useless—as a waste product—and yet it comes into a woman’s breasts before birth and remains there for a few days following birth. Surely nature made no mistake in putting it there. Colostrum contains half the carbohydrates and fats of regular milk and a newborn has difficulty digesting these. Colostrum is specially adapted to meet the immediate needs of the newborn.
Many women have trouble with their breasts engorging with this fluid (colostrum) after birth. Her breasts may become swollen and sore. To alleviate this get the baby to nurse to express the colostrum. Once the nursing cycle is established this problem will disappear.
Another thing to consider with breast-feeding, especially if for the first time, is prenatal nipple care. Prior to birth “toughen up” the nipples so they won’t get tender or sore from baby’s sucking. Do not use soap on them as this causes them to dry and crack. To open milk ducts hand express colostrum by cupping breast in hand with one finger above nipple and the other below and then squeeze. Also exposing the breasts to air and sunlight will toughen them.
3.1 Mother’s Diet
“It is not possible to produce quantitatively and qualitatively adequate milk on a diet of white bread, embalmed meat, pasteurized milk, pies, cakes, mashed potatoes, etc. Eating large quantities of these rich foods is useless. These only impair digestion and destroy the mother’s appetite. The one class of foods that greatly increases milk production in animals, and there are reasons for believing they will do so in women, are green foods. An abundance of these should be eaten.”
— Dr. Herbert M. Shelton, Hygienic Care of Children
A mother who eats of fruits and vegetables in their raw natural state will have no trouble producing adequate quantities of rich, healthy milk for her infant. The dairy products, herbal teas, excess drinking of water, etc., that are frequently recommended to increase production of milk in women are not only unnecessary but can be harmful.
Drinking excesses of cow’s milk on the part of the mother rather than providing much calcium actually drains the calcium resources of the body. Excesses of fluid consumption cause extra strain on the kidneys to excrete them. Also herbs are irritants and not recommended.
Green vegetables have a high-calcium content and therefore should be consumed abundantly. Fruits are a rich source of a multitude of vitamins and minerals to produce the finest milk in mother.
A diet high in protein can result in excess protein in the milk and could be detrimental to the baby. Nervousness or lack of exercise can also result in too much protein in milk.
The same advice as in the last lesson on prenatal care also holds true while breast-feeding. Eat only when hungry, never overeat (to fullness or beyond), eat only when relaxed and in a positive state of mind, properly combine foods so they will digest most efficiently, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and sleep, breathe fresh air, and get lots of sunshine.
The difference that diet makes to the breast milk is incredible. Breast milk does not remain the same no matter what you eat. It changes quite rapidly according to what you eat or otherwise ingest.
Remember, breast-feeding is easy if you eat well, live an easy, relaxed life without stress, and your family and friends have a good, supportive attitude toward breastfeeding.
3.2 Don’ts While Breast-Feeding
- Do not keep long work hours, get too little sleep, get in frequent arguments, or surround yourself by critical family and friends. This affects the quality and quantity of breast milk.
- Eating lots of contrived sweets (things sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, honey, etc.) and soft drinks. will reduce baby’s appetite and cause diarrhea.
- Hot and spicy foods result in diaper rash and indigestion in the baby.
- Drugs, alcohol, and medicines pass through into breast milk and are harmful to baby—and you.
- Brussel sprouts and cabbage have been known to create indigestion in babies when consumed by mother.
- Smoking affects the taste and quality of the breast milk.
- Eating chocolate severely cuts down on calcium level in breast milk.
- A too-tight bra (or any bra for that matter) can cause a plugged milk duct. Symptoms of this are redness near nipple, and a core lump in breast caused by inadequate emptying of milk ducts. If this happens, let baby nurse a lot on that breast to express milk Also soak the dried secretions on outside of nipple with warm water. Keep breast empty and rest as much as possible.
- Do not fast while lactating. A fast quickly reduces the quantity of milk and impairs its quality The milk becomes poorer in water, protein, sugar, and mineral salts. The fat content, however, remain the same.
- Grief, worry, anger, fear, excitement, etc., greatly diminish the secretion of milk or alter the composition of it.
- It has been shown that sexual intercourse while lactating often induces premature menstruation, ruins the quality of milk, and induces termination of the nursing period. During orgasm, the quantity of phosphorus is reduced and this could retard brain development in the baby. Loss of lecithin is also caused by sexual indulgence. Lecithin produces brain growth. After sexual intercourse putrefying seminal fluids may be absorbed through the vaginal wall into the lymphatic system of the mother thus ruining the milk.
- 1. History Of Infant Feeding
- 2. Importance Of Breast Feeding
- 3. The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding
- 4. Methods Of Breast-Feeding
- 5. Feeding Solid Foods
- 6. Feeding Under Abnormal Conditions
- 7. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Simplicity of Infant Feeding By William L. Esser
- Article #2: Indigestion in Babies By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: The Long Nursing Period By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton