A GP guide to top breastfeeding tips

The benefits of breastfeeding are undisputed, but how much do you know about how it works? This first article in a two-part series reviews the basics, while the second will address common problems.

Need to know:

  • There are no specific numbers or times in breastfeeding. For example, there is no set expectation about number of feeds in 24 hours, number of breasts offered per feed, time at the breast and time between feeds. This will vary among each mother and baby, as well as each day. In essence, there is no single ‘normal’ breastfeeding pattern.
  • The infant determines milk volume production and pattern of breastfeeding. It is important the mother responds to her baby’s cues.
  • Foremilk and hindmilk are not useful terms. The emptier the breast, the higher the fat content, and this changes throughout the day.
  • The ‘stripping model’ of breastmilk removal has been disproven. Milk is extracted through the baby creating an intraoral vacuum and then increasing this vacuum by dropping its tongue and jaw as a unit. Milk flows when the jaw/tongue are down, not up.
  • Most breastfeeding problems can be improved with close attention

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