Questions every new mum asks
beautyheaven recently partnered with Bio-Oil® to create a support group for soon-to-be mums looking for a safe and knowledgeable place to ask questions. The ‘Bio Oil® mums-to-be' group is a great destination for women wanting to learn about preparing for motherhood as well as chat about skincare concerns, body fears and how to best look after themselves on their exciting journey. Since the group began, a few of the members have seen the arrival of their little ones and more and more questions about motherhood are being raised. We collated some of the most common questions from new mums and asked the experts at Tresillian and Bio-Oil® to answer them.
Q. What are some suggestions for healthy snacks while breastfeeding? I’m always hungry but don’t want to gain a lot of weight from my snacking habits.
A. Having a healthy appetite during lactation is quite normal for many breastfeeding mothers. It’s your body’s way of ensuring you’re getting enough energy and nutrients to support the metabolic and nutritional requirements while lactating.
During pregnancy, the body usually lays down an extra 3–4 kilos of body fat as reserves to meet the maternal energy requirements for the first 6 months of lactation. While it’s true that breastfeeding mothers require some extra energy and nutrient intake, it shouldn’t be more than the equivalent of an additional sandwich, yoghurt and piece of fruit per day. Breastfeeding uses a lot of calories, so it’s a good way to control weight gain with little effort.
When you’re busy or exhausted, it’s easy just to reach for a carbohydrate-rich snack to boost energy, but these are often nutrient-poor and high in sugar and fat. We suggest mothers pack a lunch box for the day, similar to what you took to work before the baby was born but perhaps a little more generous. Be creative and include things like cut-up vegetables and hummus, fruit, cheese and crackers, natural Greek yoghurt, trail mix, low fat muesli bars or wholegrain rolls with tuna, egg or sliced meat. This way you’ll always have ready-made fresh, healthy lunches and snacks!
To make the most of your meals, try to eat mindfully and avoid gulping your food down Take the time to chew, taste and enjoy each mouthful. Develop a regular routine of shopping and planning your meals for the week. Also, peeling vegetables and preparing parts of the evening meal ahead of time can help you avoid making rushed or poor food choices when things get busy in the evening.
Q. What advice can you offer for managing those marathon feeds at crazy hours of the night? I will feed for hours, alternating sides (entrée and main on one, dessert on the other, then repeat). This baby seems to be a bottomless pit. I know that she’s stocking up for a long sleep but after starting at 7pm and going until midnight or 1am, I’m exhausted. What advice can you give so we can maintain some level of sanity? Also, it kind of hurts having to feed that long, even if attachment is good.
A. It sounds like you’ve been doing it tough! Exhaustion and sleep deprivation can certainly tax the strongest person’s sanity and you’re definitely doing the right thing by seeking more information and support so you and your baby can enjoy breastfeeds together.
Since you haven’t given details about your baby’s morning behaviour, weight or urine/stool output, we’ll generalise in answering your question. Child and family health nurses would not expect any one feed to take longer than 30 – 40 minutes. There could be a couple of things happening.
Firstly, the latch may not be as effective as it appears, especially if you’re experiencing some nipple pain. Left unaddressed, this could have an effect on your supply; for example, if your baby is not draining the breast well, this could result in under supply. This situation can usually be sorted out with a skilled feed assessment, appropriate support and the correction of any feeding problems.
Secondly, if your baby feeds for long periods, or snack feeds very frequently, he/she may be consuming a great deal of high volume/low fat breastmilk, which can go through the digestive tract too quickly. This undigested lactose can cause colic-like abdominal pain, explosive bubbly stools and very unsettled behaviour. This is known as ‘lactose overload’ and is only temporary. It is not the same as a true lactose intolerance. It can cause babies to want to breastfeed more often in search of comfort and reassurance. The cycle of unsettled behaviour then continues. I wonder if this is what is happening in your case?
If your baby is not experiencing any of the above, then he/she may actually have a normal cluster feeding pattern. This is common in the evenings as breastfed babies often feed every couple of hours to store low volume/ high fat reserves so their night time sleep spans 5–6 hours. The good news? This feeding pattern will pass!
If you’re still stuck, please visit www.tresillian.net/tresillian-services/live-advice.html or contact our experienced child and family health nurses at Tresillian’s Parent Help Line. The phone number is (02) 9787-0855 or 1800-637-357.
Q. I used Bio-Oil® during my second and third trimesters of pregnancy but unfortunately experienced a few stretch marks on my lower tummy. I have been applying Bio-Oil® to the area at least once and occasionally twice a day since I came home from the hospital. How long will it be before the colour starts to fade?
*The below response is from Bio-Oil®*
Bio-Oil® reduces the possibility of pregnancy stretch marks forming by increasing the skin’s elasticity. It should be applied twice daily from the start of the second trimester.
However, Bio-Oil® can also help to address the visible signs of existing stretchmarks. This can take time and everyone is different, but for best results, massage Bio-Oil into the skin in a circular motion twice daily for at least three months.
Q. My baby is four months old and I’m considering stopping breastfeeding.
I wanted to make it to six months but I don’t think I can hold out. I just want my body back. Is it okay to feel like this or should I just suck it up and keep going?
A. Research shows breastfeeding provides mothers and babies/young children with many short- and long-term benefits. This is best achieved by exclusively breastfeeding until your baby is about six months old. However, at around the four-month mark, things should get easier and both you and your baby can start to more fully enjoy the freedom and ongoing benefits of breastfeeding, especially as you reconnect with friends and family and the wider world in general. Breastmilk is tailor-made for your baby and appropriate to his or her age, nutritional, developmental and health and immunity needs.
Breastfeeding also helps you to use up fat reserves laid down in pregnancy, delay the return of menstruation and fertility, stabilise your blood sugar levels and prevent health issues such obesity as well as Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancers.
You mentioned your wish to continue breastfeeding your baby until he or she is six months of age. This is a great goal to strive towards. Don’t try to rush or put too much pressure on yourself; just take it a day at a time and try to enjoy the close interaction with your baby during breastfeeds. With an informed and positive approach, this brief but very special time in your lives can progress for as long as both you and your baby are happy to continue.
Your desire to have your body back is something that should be respected and anticipated, but there is no reason that a compromise can’t be reached right now! Have you considered occasional expressing after or between feeds or storing/freezing your breastmilk for the occasional supplementary feed? Both those tactics will give you some time out. Perhaps you would could use that time to relax, socialise or do some reinvigorating exercise.
As Tresillian child and family health nurses, we understand the first few months of breastfeeding can be a very challenging and demanding learning curve; especially if your baby is your first child or you have limited support.
It is certainly okay to express your feelings and needs – these are very valid and should be respected and addressed in a practical manner. While we encourage you to contact Tresillian Services or your local child and family health nurse or GP to discuss weaning off the breast, the decision is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that the most important thing is your relationship with your baby. Whatever decision you make needs to be the right one at this point in your life for both you and your baby.
Are there any questions you would love to ask a Tresillian Nurse? Can you relate to any of the ones asked above? Do you have any good advice for new mums?
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