Q&A: Breastfeeding

As part of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), Mater midwives and lactation consultants Jane Swan and Julie Germain hosted a live web chat through the Mater's Mothers' Group.

For just over one hour, Jane and Julie answered questions from Mater Mums and provided relevant advice about breastfeeding. For those who missed it, here are the questions and answers. 

To find out about when our next live web chat is taking place—and to take part—become a member of Mater’s Mothers’ Group.

If you have a suggestion for a topic for our next web chat, please let us know atwww.facebook.com/matermothers

Q. I express exclusively and have done so for 3 and a half months, due to a bite down reflex in baby’s neck and jaw. Since that was fixed, I’ve tried to reintroduce baby to the boob. She can latch and wants to nurse, but I have an overactive letdown that chokes her and causes major colic symptoms for hours in the evening. Reclining doesn’t ease the flow, and the strong flow lasts pretty much the whole feed, so expressing some pre-feed doesn’t really fix the flow. Will baby adapt to the fast flow with age, and will the colic subside? Is it even worth trying to reintroduce breastfeeding now, and how can it be done?
A. You may have a bit of over supply going on. Are you able to reduce the frequency and volume that you're expressing, that could help slow things down a little. Lying down on your side to feed could be helpful. Have you tried that?

Q. How long can I store fresh expressed breast milk in the fridge, I don't want to freeze it?
A. You can keep it for a maximum of three to five days, in the cabinet of the fridge, rather than the door. It will separate, but that's okay, just give it a shake. If you want to add to it during that time, make sure both containers are at the same temperature.

Q. What food should I avoid when breastfeeding?
A. There are no specific foods to avoid when you are breastfeeding. We always recommend eating healthily, but treats are OK as well. The main challenge for new mums tends to be getting the time to eat. Have lots of healthy snacks and finger foods that you can eat while sitting to feed your baby. It’s also a great idea to have some frozen meals prepared for those days when time is a challenge. We also have a great recipe for lactation cookies up on our website now ... check it out here.

Q. How can I treat what I think us a milk blister? I've read up but soaking and suckling don't clear it up and there is now red 'blushing' leading outwards from the nipple. My bub is 7wks and I've had mastitis twice & dread it happening again. Please help!
A. There could be a few things happening, but with your history of mastitis, we would suggest you see your doctor because it could be thrush (which can happen after a course of antibiotics), a blocked duct or it could be mastitis coming back. When you go to the doctor, make sure you take bub so they can check their mouth for thrush. If it is thrush, it can be easily treated for both of you.

Q. If a parent is lactose intolerant what is the likelyhood of the baby also being lactose intolerant and does breast milk have a high lactose content?
A. True lactose intolerance is very rare in babies as they are designed to have milk sugar (lactose) to grow. Is there a reason you are concerned your baby might be lactose intolerant?

Q. My husband is lactose intolerant and sometimes bub doesn't seem to be enjoying my breast milk. Do flavours of the food I eat transfer to my breast milk?
A. Flavours do transfer into the milk, but that's to get them used to different tastes. Perhaps try to keep track of when bub is particularly fussy and think about what you might have eaten. It could just be that bub may not be hungry at that time.

Q. My friend said I should express a bottle so my partner can be more involved in feeding our two-week-old baby. Is this something I should be doing?
A. Introducing a bottle in the early days can make establishing breastfeeding more complicated. It's great your partner is keen to be involved as a supportive partner is the most important influence in successful breastfeeding. There are many ways in which your partner can be involved and bond with your baby, without introducing a bottle. They can help with baby massage, nappy changing, bathing, burping and settling after a feed and even making you a cuppa! They could also take the baby for a walk so you can have a shower or catch up on some sleep!

Q. My baby is not always gaping like he used to- more so just a sucking motion, which makes latching hard and time consuming. Not sure what is going on with that... Could I be positioning or holding him wrong? The visiting midwife looked into these things and always said what I was doing was perfect.
A. Sometimes positioning can be affected as baby gets bigger. The shallow sucking action could be a sign that baby isn't draining as well, which could be making those feeds longer and more fiddly. Make sure baby's chin is positioned deeply at the breast, as this will encourage him to open his mouth wider.

Q. I always am worried about taking Panadol or other prescribed medicine before I breastfeed, is there a timeframe for waiting after taking any medication. My pharmacist knows I am breast feeding and always gives me the safer variety but I still worry. Any advice?
A. Panadol is okay when breastfeeding. It's great your pharmacist is aware you're breastfeeding, as they are best placed to give you the right advice about specific medications and their effect on your breast milk and baby. Generally speaking, it's best to take your medication right after a feed if possible so it allows the most time for your body to process the medication and have a minimal amount in your milk before the next feed.

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