What are the main advantages of breastfeeding?

What are the main advantages of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, being the natural sequel to nutrition in the womb, makes the transition into the world a little easier on baby, enabling a natural link to continue between mother and child. Breastfeeding fosters this link, giving the infant time to adjust to all the other inevitable changes. Breast milk is designed for baby’s particular needs and contains all the nutrients required for healthy growth and development with enough protein, a more digestible sugar and fat, and less salt than that of formula feeds. The suitability of human milk means babies, generally, are more content, therefore less likely to suffer from indigestion, colic, constipation or become overweight. Breast milk is available without preparation, is the correct temperature, always sterile and its antibodies, provides temporary immunity to conditions to which the mother herself is immune. It protects baby against coughs, colds, ear infections and against gastro–enteritis – a major risk to formula-fed babies. The incidence of skin conditions, i.e. allergies – eczema, asthma, hay fever is reduced. It helps the womb return to pre-pregnant proportions. Other important factors are: A prolonged infertility period. Lowers the incidence of breast cancer. Helps reduces the risk of cot death. The advantages are greater in the early...
What is Entonox?

What is Entonox?

This is a mixture of oxygen and another gas called nitrous oxide, which is now considered to be one of the safest and most versatile methods of pain relief in labour. It is also used in several other specialist procedures, e.g. in medical, surgical, dental, casualty units and so on. Pain relief is obtained through inhalation from a small apparatus made up of a lightweight face mask, a valve and tubing connected to a particular supply. The mask fits snugly to the face while the valve is dual purpose, permitting freedom to breathe in and out without removing the face mask. A demonstration is usually given in antenatal classes. In labour the Entonox is given at the midwives discretion. Direct supervision is not necessary and once advised by the midwife the mother can help herself. To ensure that the maximum effect is achieved it’s best to start inhaling the Entonox at the very first sign of the contraction. Breathe very deeply in and out – keeping the mask firmly in place until the contraction subsides. Then, breathe normally while awaiting the next...
My two-week-old baby cries a lot – what can I do?

My two-week-old baby cries a lot – what can I do?

Some babies cry for no apparent reason, possibly because of vague discomfort, feeling generally dissatisfied, bored or lonely. Devoting time to baby is the only way to make her/him feel safe and secure. For now mother is the best source of comfort and any idea of spoiling should be forgotten. The most obvious needs are, hunger, thirst, colic, or a wet nappy. Check baby’s position to see if s/he is uncomfortably hot or cold. A breastfed baby can be hungry or thirsty often, particularly in the early weeks, so extra nursing or just sucking for comfort can help. A bottle-fed baby may cry for similar reasons, or because of colic. Cool boiled water can be given frequently with extra cuddles as an added bonus. Placing baby in a “ baby bouncer”, or carrying baby close in a carrier/sling often helps. Swaddling i.e. wrapping baby securely in a blanket, and rocking or wheeling while singing or playing music are also comforting. Crying during feeds can be due to delayed milk supply – because mum is tense or over full breasts, or sucking on a blocked or unsuitable teat. A snuffly baby may have difficulty with breathing and sucking at the same time or a thrush infection can cause pain. If you’ve checked everything and this unusual crying continues do seek help from your public health nurse or GP. The trouble may be a sore throat, ear infection or thrush – the doctor will give baby a thorough...
What should I eat during pregnancy?

What should I eat during pregnancy?

The mother’s diet must make provisions for her own health, growth and development of her baby and storage of nutrients for breast milk. A wide variety of foods are essential: Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals Starch – like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, and cereals provide heat and energy Lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans and lentils are important nutrients Dairy products – milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium – vital for good teeth and bones Green leafy vegetables, red meat, dried fruits and nuts contain iron Citrus fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, blackcurrants and potatoes contain vitamin C Margarine or oily fish e.g. sardines and salmon have vitamin D – essential for absorption of calcium Extra folic acid helps prevent spina bifida and other serious problems. Green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and breads contain this vitamin – also available in tablet form.   Precautions Ensure eggs are well cooked – prevents risk of salmonella Avoid soft cheeses Drink pasteurised milk Don’t eat liver, liver pate or sausage as these are high in vitamin A, which could harm your baby. Tea, coffee and cola should be in moderation as too much caffeine can affect your baby’s birth...
When is the best time to get pregnant?

When is the best time to get pregnant?

A woman is most likely to conceive just after the time she ovulates (releases egg from ovary). Most women ovulate about 12-16 days before the next period is due, whatever the length of their cycle. An egg lives for about 12-24 hours after release. If conception is to take place the egg must be fertilised within this time. During one act of sexual intercourse, there can be 300 million sperm released. Many die off, but some begin to swim up through the cervix, into the womb and so into the fallopian tube. Sperm can live in the woman’s body for several days but it only takes one to join with the egg and fertilise it. Following fertilisation the egg moves slowly down the fallopian tube and implants itself in the specially prepared lining of the womb. When planning to conceive it’s best to make love a day or so before ovulation, giving the sperm time to reach the fallopian tube where it awaits the...