Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk’ Category

Q.A client of mine has developed a fever due to clogged milk glands (she gave birth 2 weeks ago). She is finding breast-feeding very painful and is concerned about infections.

A.Is it breast that is sore, not nipple area?  If it is the breast, perhaps a red, hot area it sounds like the beginning of mastitis.  It is very important that the woman ensure that her breast is not restricted by clothing or a tight bra, or by squashing her breast as she feeds.

The most important thing is to KEEP feeding.  If necessary perhaps start a couple of feeds on that breast to try to drain the excess milk (but be mindful that the other breast doesn’t become blocked too).  She may develop a fever and flu like symptoms – this can all be managed by just resting and breastfeeding (if caught early).  I suggest she take to bed, be naked with her baby and just rest and feed.  Paracetamol can be taken, as can homeopathy (refer to homoeopath).

Other suggestions are to go into the bath, placing hot flannels on the sore area and to gently massage the breast towards the nipple area to encourage the milk to flow out.  When out of the bath cold compresses can help to relieve the pain.  Some women use quark or cream cheese in a muslin on their breasts.  Also try not to touch the breast (apart from if expressing/feeding) as this encourages the breasts to make more milk.

If the infection really takes hold I suggest she consult a homoeopath/doctor and antibiotics are usually prescribed (if this happens she can still breastfeed).  I had this myself, got the flu symptoms, but managed to stave off full blown mastitis – so it can be done.

If it is the nipple area it is probably more about the position of the baby – she will need to look at this again, or get help – getting the baby to have a big wide open mouth prior to attaching.  For further information I suggest you look at www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk www.nct.org.uk www.laleche.org.uk or www.abm.me.uk

Just in time for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week (next week) www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk/en/fe/page.asp?n1=5&n2=13 the Department of Health has announced that baby growth charts – against which all babies physical growth is measured and compared – are to be redrawn.

The figures used until now have been based mainly on formula-fed babies. This has meant that some breastfeeding mothers have been incorrectly advised that their babies are gaining insufficient weight.  The new tables, drawn up by the World Health Organisation (WHO), are based entirely on the rate of growth of breastfed babies, which tend to put on weight more slowly than those given formula milk in their first year.

It is generally accepted that babies fed on formula put on weight more quickly than those on breastmilk, which can make breastfed babies look like they are not thriving.  Consequently, there might have been pressure to wean early on to solid foods or formula milk.  In fact it is a WHO recommendation that babies receive only breastmilk for the first six months of their life, www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/, it is then recommended that breastmilk be supplemented with solid food, but that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months.

Breastfed babies are leaner during the time when a lifetime supply of fat cells are laid down, which helps explain why breastfed babies may tend to be leaner throughout their lifetimes, thus helping to prevent obesity.  This said, many breastfed babies appear quite “chubby” – this is normal and healthy.

Fewer than one in two mothers still breastfeed at six weeks and this falls to 25% at six months. Fewer than 1% of mothers follow official advice to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of an infant’s life.

On the 27th April, Harriet Harmen, Government Minister for Women and Equality published The Equality Bill www.equalities.gov.uk/media/press_releases/equality_bill.aspx which is expected to come into force from Autumn 2010.   The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) the leading parent’s charity and pressure group have welcomed the proposed Bill www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com/press-office/press-releases/view/52 under which mothers will get the legal right to breastfeed a baby up to the age of six months in any public place (something that is already enshrined in Scottish law).  Under current laws, women who breastfeed in places such as restaurants or busses can be charged under public order or indecency legislation.

The benefits of breastfeeding are well documented (see www.midwifevalerie.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/breastfeeding/) and ministers are changing the law in response to concerns that Britain has the lowest breastfeeding rate in Europe.  National Breastfeeding Awareness Week 10th – 16th May 2009 www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk/en/fe/page.asp?n1=5&n2=13 aims to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding in an attempt to improve our breastfeeding rate and this Bill will surely support breastfeeding women.

As part of National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, I shall be in-store at the Baby Department, Boots the chemist plc, Central Milton Keynes on Saturday 16th May between 10am and 4 pm.  I will be available to answer any questions you may have on pregnancy, birth and early parenting including breastfeeding.  Please do come along and say hello!  More details can be found at www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk


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