Breastfeeding Keys to Success

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 03:26pm
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When they make the decision to breastfeed, many women think it will be easy to do. What could be more natural? But as many women who have breastfed can tell you, it’s not always easy – especially at first.

But while breastfeeding can take extra practice and patience, it is one of the best things you can do to care for your baby. So while you may feel that while you are sore, tired and adjusting to your new baby one more thing is just too much, look for guidance from the Breastfeeding Supports in your area. There are also lots of great books and articles that can help you.

Our experts have some suggestions to help make your breastfeeding experience a success:

Position and latch are the keys to successful breastfeeding, but what do they mean?

Cross-Cradle Hold

Football Hold

Side-Lying Position

Traditional Cradle Hold



Once you are familiar with the four breastfeeding positions, next comes latch. A good latch means that your baby will feed well and you should not feel any pain when feeding. If your baby isn’t opening her mouth, hold your breast and tickle her upper lip with your nipple- your nipple should point towards her nose. Once your baby opens up wide with her tongue down, bring her onto your breast. Her chin should press into your breast first and then her mouth should cover a portion usually about 2-4 cm of the areola-the dark coloured part of your breast. If the latch is good, you will note:

  • her lips will be curled out
  • her chin will be pressed into your breast
  • she is sucking and swallowing
  • there is no smacking or clicking sound when she sucks
  • there is no milk showing around her lips
  • a slight tugging sensation as she begins to suck-you should not feel pain.

Remember—if you lean forward to put your breast into her mouth, your back will become tired and sore. 

When you are first learning to breastfeed or if your baby is struggling to breastfeed baby-led latching can be helpful.  Hold your baby skin-to-skin (with just his diaper) on your upper chest so that his face rests between your breasts. Support the back of your baby’s upper shoulders; he will begin to bob his head searching for the nipple. Once he finds your nipple he will open his mouth, push his chin into your breast and take a mouthful of areola and the nipple will then follow into his mouth. 


How frequently and for how long should your baby breastfeed?

Your baby needs to feed at least 8 to12 times per day, or at least every 2 to 3 hours in the first 6 to 8 weeks after birth, with only one gap of 5 hours in each day. One reason is that your baby’s stomach is very small—the size of a cooked chickpea at 2 days of age and the size of a walnut at 3 to 4 weeks of age. Another reason is that breast milk is very easily digested. Mom, feeding your baby often gives your body the signals it requires to make the breast milk your baby needs. Feeding also gives your baby the fluids and food he needs to be healthy and to grow. It’s the idea of supply and demand.

Don’t be surprised if your baby needs to breastfeed more than 12 times a day, especially in the first weeks. This can be a normal part of early breastfeeding and can help your body produce breast milk. During growth spurts, you’ll notice that your baby will feed more frequently for several days. Growth spurts may occur when baby is about 2-3 weeks, about 6 weeks, 3 months and later-remember each baby is different some baby’s may have growth spurts before or after these times.  

Your baby will give you cues that he is hungry: you’ll hear or see him stir, notice him smacking his lips or see him bringing his hand to his mouth. This is the best time to begin the feeding. If you wait until he is crying to feed him, it may be a frustrating exercise for both of you. Another thing to remember is that some babies are sleepy in the first few days and make need your help to stay awake to eat.  Unwrapping your baby if he is swaddled, talking to him, and holding him skin-to-skin will help.  Your doctor may have you wake your baby every 2-3 hours if your baby does not wake himself. 


What tips would you give to breastfeeding moms? What was the best advice you received? Share your story with other parents by leaving a comment below.


More information on breastfeeding »

Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!


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Emergency Contraception

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 01:08pm
Filed under:

It can take awhile for you and your partner to reconnect physically after the birth of your baby. When you do, it can be a wonderful and passionate experience, but often couples who are just getting past a pregnancy may forget to use any method of birth control when the moment finally arrives. If you’re not ready to have another baby so soon, what can you do?

“Don’t panic,” advises Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “There are emergency post-sex contraception options available if you’ve had unprotected sex.”

The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), or morning-after pill, contains hormones that, if taken before ovulation has occurred, will prevent a fertilized egg from developing. They also may affect the lining of the uterus and prevent a fertilized egg from attaching. There are two types of pills available: the single dose pill and the 2-dose pill.

Another option is to have an IUD (Intrauterine Device) inserted into the uterus. The IUD prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the lining of the uterus.

If you decide to use emergency contraception you will have 48-72 hours after unprotected sex to use an ECP, depending on the type of pill used. The sooner they are started the more effective they are.

An IUD needs to be inserted within 7 days of unprotected sex.

In Canada ECPs don’t require a prescription from a doctor. Emergency IUD’s require an appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner in order for them to be inserted. In other countries, moms may need to see a health care provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, in order to get a prescription.

In Ontario, ECPs are available from your pharmacy, from a family planning or sexual health clinic, or from your physician. IUDs are available from your doctor and from family planning and sexual health clinics.

As with any medication, you may experience some side effects from ECPs, including nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, dizziness, abdominal pain and headaches. It may also affect the timing of your next menstrual period—it may come a few days earlier or later.

The emergency IUD comes with its own set of side effects. They include:

  • IUD can be expelled.
  • May cause heavier menstrual periods and cramping.
  • Low risk of perforation of the uterine wall. Perforation is a rare event and may happen at the time of insertion. There is less risk if the health care provider is experienced in inserting IUDs.
  • Over time the IUD can become imbedded into the lining of the uterus. This can be painful and may require surgery to remove it.
  • Women who develop a sexually transmitted disease while they are using an IUD may be at greater risk of having problems getting pregnant in the future.

Emergency IUDs are not recommended if a woman has experienced any of the following:

  • Current or recent repeated pelvic infections
  • A recent abnormal PAP test
  • Severe infections of the cervix
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Genital cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Paralysis
  • Allergies to Copper
  • Anemia or history of severe menstrual cramping
  • Wilson’s disease

For more information on emergency contraception options, contact your health care provider or your local health unit.

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How Do Babies Learn Language?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:47am
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A baby’s brain is "wired" to seek out and learn language. Amazingly, they are born with the capacity not just to learn language, but to learn all languages. As researcher Patricia Kuhl from the University of Washington puts it, infants are "citizens of the world." They are able to perceive the different sounds and patterns of speech of all languages in the world. For example, at birth, Japanese babies can hear the distinction between "r" and "l,” although only the "r" sound exists in Japanese. They can still hear the distinction at 6 months of age, but cannot by 12 months.

Even in the womb, a baby turns towards the melody of their mother’s voice. The brain is setting up the circuitry needed to understand and reproduce language. Babies learn to talk by hearing language and by being spoken to. Between 6 and 12 months, babies begin to fine-tune their ability to perceive the speech sounds of their native language as opposed to non-native language.

Used with Permission
Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Early Brain Development
Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Irving B Harris Training Center for Infant and Toddler Development 2001

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by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 03:29pm
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Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.

There is so much information out there about breastfeeding and as a result, parents are overwhlemed when they look for the information they need about breastfeeding their baby. Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.


Rest assured - you are not alone and we are here to help.


Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!


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