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Preparing To Breastfeed

Benefits of breastfeeding:

• Provides your baby with all nutrients needed for his or her first 6 months of life.

• Strengthens baby’s immune system, digestion, and neurological development.

• Lowers risk of maternal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease

• Encourages release of oxytocin in the mother which helps with relaxation/ stress reduction

• Increases postpartum weight loss

How Our Bodies Make Milk:

•Two hormones involved: Prolactin and oxytocin.

•Prolactin is needed for production and secretion of milk. Oxytocin stimulates milk ejection.

•Removing milk from the breasts often(baby suckling/ pumping) maintains milk production.

Nutrition Matters:

• Eat a balanced diet. Lactating women require ~ 500 additional calories/ day and an additional 25g/day of protein.

• Eat more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, chromium, copper + iodine

• Consider supplementing vitamin D, B12 and iron if your levels are low. Anemia can reduce milk production.

Stay Hydrated:

• Breastfeeding women require more water intake. Aim for 2L water/day.

• Limit and reduce coffee intake. Coffee is a diuretic.

• Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1-2 drinks per week.

Prepping for Breastfeeding:

• Use Skin to skin: It is the best step to encourage an infant to latch and begin feeding.

• Avoid bathing baby until after first feed

• Purchase a breast milk pump to have on hand

• Be open to different feeding positions. Reclined position can improve latch.

• Be on the lookout for baby’s lips flanged out, and mouth covering your areola to indicate a good latch.

Things to Avoid When Breastfeeding:

The following can inhibit milk let down and lower milk production:

• Alcohol

• Peppermint (tea, oils, candy, gum)

• Smoking

• Street drugs and cannabis

• Psuedo-ephedrine (decongestants)

• Losing too much weight (more than 2.2lbs/week) and very strenuous exercise

Not Everyone Is Able To Breastfeed, And That’s Okay:

• Surgeries or health conditions for mother and/or baby may make breastfeeding challenging. Speaking to a Lactation or Breastfeeding Consultant can help.

If you are unable to breastfeed, do not worry. There are many infant formulas + pasteurized donor milk that can offer your baby proper nutrition.

See Your Osteopath:

• Osteopathic treatment improves blood flow to/ from your breasts helping with milk flow

• Promotes lymphatic drainage to prevent clogged milk ducts + mastitis, stiff neck, shoulders and back.

• Improves hormonal balance and relaxation

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