Common Breastfeeding Questions And Problems - Article Six
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Common Breastfeeding Questions And Problems  -  Article Six

The following questions represent only a few of the situations a breastfeeding mother may encounter or wonder about. Therefore it will be necessary to present them in a number of articles continuing with this the final Article Six

Make Time for Toddler

We have a two-year-old and I'm nursing a new baby. Every time I sit down to nurse he wants to play. Any suggestions.

Consider your toddler's viewpoint. Baby is getting all the attention, the milk, and the cuddling that he used to have. Here's how to juggle the needs of two children at the same time. Feed your baby in a baby sling. This frees one or both hands to play with your toddler. Sit on the floor and throw a ball, stack blocks, or read a book with your toddler while baby is comfortably feeding the sling. Next, expand the feeding-station idea to include items for your toddler, a basket of reserved toys, favorite books, a tape player, and activities such as blocks. Sit down on the floor with your back against the couch and as you feed your baby, play with your toddler. Your toddler will view the feeding station as a special p[lace for him too. Regard the feeding station, toys, or activities as only for breastfeeding time so that your toddler learns that feeding time for baby is also a special playtime for him. Eventually your toddler will realize, "Mom does special things with me that she doesn't do at any other time." By sitting on the floor and feeding your baby, you avoid the scene of your toddler trying to climb up on your lap to be where the action is. Extending feeding time to include toddler activity also helps you relax. You don't have to wonder what mischief your toddler is getting into in the other room. Also include your toddler in the nap-nursing scene. While you nap nurse your baby, invite your toddler to snuggle up next to you -- for a family nap.

If Baby Bites

Our seven-month-old bites during feeding, and I find this annoying. What can I do?

Your natural inclination is to pull your baby away from the breast and scream, "No!" You can hardly blame the mother for a violent reaction, especially if it is a hard bite, but some babies are so bothered by a hard reaction to their biting that they actually stop breastfeeding for a few days -- called breastfeeding strike. Affectionate, nibbling, those annoying nips from a baby who is experimenting with her teeth, will lessen.

Instead of the yank-and-yell response, when you sense baby's teeth coming down to bite, draw her way in close to your breast, and she will automatically let go in order to open her mouth more and uncover her nose to breathe. Don't try to disengage yourself from clenched teeth. Your baby will lessen her bite as she realizes that she can't both bite and breathe. After several times of this counter-instinctive trick of pulling your baby in close to you when she bites, your baby will realize that biting triggers an uncomfortable position, and she will adjust. It's OK to say no, because baby needs to learn that some undesirable action occurs when she bites, but don't frighten her.

Keep a log of what triggers the biting and when she bites. Biting can be baby's way of telling you she's finished eating. If she chomps at the end of a feeding, interrupt the feeding before she has a chance to bite. Teething can also create the urge to chomp. Keep some teething toys in the freezer, such as a frozen banana or a cold washcloth, and let her chomp on these before or at the end of a feeding. These techniques plus saying, "Ouch, that hurts Mama!" will help teach your baby breastfeeding manners and preserve your breasts.

Breastfeeding As Birth Control

I have heard that breastfeeding can be a natural contraceptive. How reliable is this method of birth control?

Breastfeeding can be very effective as a natural method of birth control. Here's why. The milk-making hormone, prolactin, suppresses the release of the fertility hormones that cause eggs to develop and prepare the womb to nourish those eggs. When prolactin levels are high, women do not ovulate or menstruate. What keeps prolactin levels high? Frequent breastfeeding -- feeding according to baby's cues. Long stretches of time without nursing allow prolactin levels to fall and fertility hormones to take over. The key to using breastfeeding as a natural contraceptive is to keep prolactin levels high with frequent feeding, both day and night. Breastfeeding can provide reliable birth control, as long as you follow the rules.

Researchers have developed guidelines for mothers who wish to rely on breastfeeding for birth control. These rules are the basis of the lactational amenorrhea method of family planning, or LAM for short. According to LAM, a mother can rely on breastfeeding for protection from pregnancy if she can answer no the following three questions.

* Have your menses returned?

* Are you supplementing regularly, or allowing long periods without breastfeeding either during the day (more than three hours) or at nigh (more than six hours)?

* Is your baby more than six months old?

Studies have shown that mothers who follow the LAM guidelines have a less than 2 percent chance of becoming pregnant in the first six months after birth. This compares favorably with the protection from pregnancy offered by artificial methods of birth control. Many mothers enjoy longer periods of infertility and no menses, as long as their babies continue to nurse frequently and rely on the breast for most of their nourishment. Studies have shown that the following practices can prolong the period in which the female is unable to conceive:

* Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding without regard to daytime or nighttime scheduling.

* Sleep with your baby and allow unrestricted night feeding.

* Delay supplemental bottles or pacifiers. All of baby's sucking should be at the breast.

* Delay solid foods. When introduced they should add to baby's nutrition, not substitute for breastfeeding.

Mothers who follow these rules enjoy an average of 14.5 months of amenorrhea and infertility. Every mother and baby pair, however, is different, and periods will return sooner for some mothers and later for others. Some women may not ovulate during their first few cycles. Approximately 5 percent of women ovulate (and thus are fertile) before ever having a period; the longer you've gone without having a period, the more likely this is to happen.

There will be other articles on raising baby, what best to feed your baby and other related topics. So Keep an eye out for my articles.

Here at ring sling baby carriers we know your baby is precious and worth keeping close. Our ring sling baby carriers help you make the most of life while making the most of your baby's. Please visit our website ring sling baby carriers to see our broad selection of Hotslings adjustable pouch, Rockin Baby pouch, Rockin Baby ring sling and Lil Cub Hub convertible sling baby carriers and find the right print and style for you and your baby.

Sally Michener


Street Talk

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