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National Breastfeeding Awareness Week: Your Breastfeeding Questions Answered

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with midwife Theresa Mounsey? Don’t worry, you can read all of the advice she shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your fertility, pregnancy and parenting questions from a top expert.  

This week, midwife Theresa Mounsey was on hand to answer your questions.

Theresa is a community midwife who has been practicing in the NHS for eight years. Alongside a Bsc Hons in Midwifery Studies, Theresa’s interest in holistic therapies led her to learn the discipline of ‘Homeopathy and Hypnobirthing’, which she integrates into her practice.

Here’s what happened…

I want to stop breastfeeding my 14-month-old baby now, but he gets really stressed and upset when I try to give him a bottle instead. How can I make the change without upsetting him?

Theresa: Looking at it from your little one's point of view – he loves your breasts. They provide comfort, safety and support. I can understand that you now want to give up but to do it for 14 months is fantastic.

A lot of women find a ‘weaning off’ method rather than a bluntly stopping stopping is a better way to go. During the days is easier when he's not tired and then leaving the bedtime feed to be the last feed to let go.

Introduce special cups, I saw a teddy style bottle holder at the Baby Show this weekend, which is like giving them a soft toy to cuddle whilst feeding – it is supposed to help the transition from breast to bottle.

Good luck, try not to make this a battle otherwise it will stress you and taint your memories of breastfeeding. Babies will eventually wean themselves off, but I know that it’s hard when you're ready and they're not.

My baby keeps getting nappy rash and the doctor isn’t being great at suggesting things to help. What do you recommend?

Theresa: The first thing to look at is what is causing it. What are you using to clean your baby's bottom? Please do not use any baby wipes, even those deemed suitable for sensitive skin or those for newborns as they still have chemicals in, which will irritate your baby's sensitive skin.

Once this nappy rash has healed, do not use anything on your baby's bottom, as this creates a barrier. And the modern nappies that suck away the wetness off a baby can't do this properly if there is a sticky film of cream in the way.

Consider the nappies you’re using – these too have chemicals which some babies are sensitive to

Also consider the nappies you’re using – these too have chemicals which some babies are sensitive to. Have you changed brand recently? It might be worth looking at trying a change?

Going back to toiletries, be careful of the products you use in the baby's bath because many of these contain irritating chemicals. If you’re breastfeeding, look at your diet – orange juice in particular is very acidic and I've known women to drink a lot of this with their iron tablets. It goes through to your baby in your breast milk, and then he will have more acidic urine, which causes the sore bottom.

In the meantime, to deal with the current sore bum I know Metanium is used in the Neonatal units with great success! I also know Weleda do a lovely range of natural baby products such as nappy rash creams that you could try.

Is it advised to breastfeed two children at once and will the newborn still get newborn milk or will it get toddler milk from me?

Theresa: You can absolutely breastfeed both your toddler and baby at the same time and it can be a nice bonding experience for you all. I would say that due to your hormones however, your milk will adjust to what your newborn requires, so you may find that your toddler notices the difference.

I'm wondering if you have any tips for getting my baby to take some expressed milk from a bottle? I also have a three year old and we left it too late with her, we tried daily for a while but she never entertained the idea! My boy is now six weeks old, so we’re planning to start trying soon. Is there anything I can do to increase success? Also, how do I know how much to express?

Theresa: The trick is to try this when everyone concerned is calm. You need to be completely out of the way, otherwise your baby will smell you and know you are there. I wouldn't leave it any longer, if left beyond six weeks then your baby has got very used to the breast and it can be more difficult.

I would suggest that once you have finished feeding your baby at the breast, then express from the other side until you feel it is emptying (as though baby had been there) then you should have enough!

I've been breastfeeding my son, who is now nine weeks old, and I've had mastitis three times already! Is there anything I can do to prevent it happening again?

Theresa: I'm sorry to hear that you've had mastitis three times! You are such a superstar for carrying on breastfeeding. Are you getting engorged? How often are you feeding? Have anyone checked the way baby is latching onto the breast? Are you wearing a bra with wires in?

Your baby should be feeding on average every four hours on demand. If your breasts are not being emptied, due to incorrect latching on maybe, you can then get engorged, if this milk isn't called upon, this can then lead to mastitis.

There should be breastfeeding support groups run locally for you to attend

So I would get your positioning checked – there should be breastfeeding support groups run locally for you to attend.

We also have launched a breastfeeding survival kit that you can try, called Bosom Buddies that helps soothe engorged breasts with the use of aromatherapy compresses.

In your opinion does combination feeding usually work? I'm enjoying breastfeeding but want to try bottle a bit, too. But I’m scared she won't come back to me.

Theresa: Introducing your expressed breast milk in a bottle to your baby works really well for many people. I always advise new mums to wait until the baby is about two to three weeks old when they are confident breastfeeding, but not leave it any longer than six weeks as you could find they won't take the bottle because they will be too used to your breast.

If you are talking about giving formula in a bottle as well as breastfeeding, then you will find this will affect your milk supply, because breastfeeding is a supply and demand process – the more your milk is demanded, the more your body will produce.

If you miss out feeds because you are supplementing with formula, your body will end up producing less milk and then it can become a downward spiral, where less supply means you introduce more formula.

What topics would you like covered in our Wednesday Lunch Clubs? Let us know in the comments box below.

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