Edie and Amy

Breastfeeding

GLANDULAR HYPOPLASIA AND BREASTFEEDING

“Maybe you just need to give it a little more effort”

“Have you tried drinking more water?”

“I heard fenugreek helps mothers like you”

Many mothers who have difficulties with milk production receive this sort of advice countless times from family and friends (well, most have good intentions).

While most women produce more than enough milk for their babies, a small percentage of mothers find breastfeeding to be quite challenging.

Why Can’t I Make Enough Milk For My Baby?

Some mothers feel that they can not make enough milk for their babies because they have small breasts.

However, this is not true.

The size of a woman’s breast does not influence how much milk she can produce in anyway. A more reasonable cause for insufficient milk production is insufficient glandular tissue (IGT).

Glandular tissue is the milk-making tissue in a woman’s breast.

Therefore, breast milk production will be low if the glandular tissue present is insufficient to produce enough milk. Women with insufficient glandular tissue struggle with producing enough milk for their babies, even after practicing good breastfeeding management.

A word of caution!

Insufficient glandular tissue is a diagnosis of exclusion. Other factors that can affect breastmilk supply must be investigated first by your health provider or lactation consultant and found to be absent. Some of these include:

  • Hormonal imbalances (eg. thyroid or due to retained placenta)
  • Previous breast surgery
  • Issues with the baby’s ability to suckle and drain the breast (latching, tongue tie, cleft lip)
  • Not putting baby to breast enough.

Physical Signs of Insufficient Glandular Tissue 

Signs In Mother

It is important to emphasize that the size of your breast has no bearing on your glandular tissue or ability to breastfeed.

Women with small and large breast can suffer from glandular hypoplasia

Women with small and large breast can suffer from insufficient glandular tissue. Some physicals signs that can indicate insufficient glandular tissue are;

  • Asymmetric Breasts; In this case, one breast being much larger than the other
  • Breasts that are tubular shaped (narrow at the base and long instead of round, quite like bananas)
  • Very large and bulbous areolae; The areola is the dark skin around your nipple. When this occurs. the areola may look as if they are a separate structure from the breasts.
  • Wide-spaced breasts (The gap between both breasts can be up to 4cm )
  • No breast changes during or after pregnancy. This is something that should be taken note of during your antenatal. We expected your areola to darken, breasts to become larger and so on.

The more of these signs a woman has, the greater her chances of having insufficient glandular tissue. 

Signs In Baby

In the setting of glandular hypoplasia, the baby will show signs they aren’t getting enough breast milk. Some of these include:

  • loosing more than 10% of birth weight,
  • failure to return to birth weight by 2 weeks,
  • having less than the required number of wet or poopy diapers for their age,
  • gaining less than 20g of weight daily between 2 weeks old to 3 months old.

What Can You Do? 

Some mothers who have difficulty breastfeeding can easily adapt to using other measures like formula feeding.

With glandular hypoplasia , the reality of being unable to breastfeed can be a very hard pill to swallow.

However, for a mother who anticipated breastfeeding as an important part of her mothering journey, the reality of being unable to breastfeed can be a very hard pill to swallow.

Fortunately, there are some things these mothers can do to preserve the breastfeeding experience.

1. Use A Breastfeeding Supplement Tool

One thing some mothers with insufficient glandular tissue can try is using an at-breast supplementing tool.

A mother using a supplemental nursing system (SNS)

This tool is made up of a small, thin tube with one end attached to the skin around the mother’s nipple. This is the end that goes into the baby’s mouth. The other end is connected to a container that contains the feeding supplement.

This supplement could be the mother’s own expressed milk, milk from a donor, or infant formula. The amount of supplement required will depend largely on the amount of milk the mother is able to produce on her own. With this method, it is possible for mother who has difficulty with milk production to still experience breastfeeding.

2. Prescribed Medications

Some mothers with insufficient glandular tissue may still be able to breastfeed and produce most of the milk their babies will need.

Certain approved medication can greatly increase their milk supply and reduce the need of supplements to just once or twice a day. Before considering this option, remember to consult your doctor.

3. Bottle Feed First, Breastfeed Later

This is also an effective method of maintaining a breastfeeding relationship with your baby.

Since your body can not produce enough milk, you can feed your child with infant formula first. Then once she is beginning to have her fill, you let her finish at your breast.

Nigerian food that help increase breastmilk supply

A Final Note

No matter how little milk you may be able to make, it is still very precious and valuable to your baby.

Thankfully, most mothers with insufficient glandular tissue find that their breast milk supply improves with subsequent babies. This is because each pregnancy and breastfeeding experience causes an increase in glandular tissue.

With support from a lactation specialist many mothers with insufficient glandular tissue can still enjoy fulfilling breastfeeding experiences.

We understand that being unable to produce enough milk to breastfeed your child may be difficult to accept.

However, all hope is not lost.

With support from a lactation specialist many mothers with insufficient glandular tissue can still enjoy fulfilling breastfeeding experiences.

REFERENCES

HOW CAN I TELL IF MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH?

“Is my baby getting enough milk? ” New mums all over the world are constantly asking this quetsion. Newborn feeding constantly leads to friction between new mothers and their mother and mothers-in-law in Nigeria.

Is my baby getting enough? is a constant source of arguments

The anxiety this causes tempts us to introduce water or formula in the first few days of life when our actual goal was to breastfeed exclusively.  

Anxiety and fearof starving the baby causes mums to introduce formula

These conflicts stem from:

  • Ignorance of individual and general signs of hunger and feeding patterns in newborns
  • Lack of knowledge of the normal progression of weight gain/ fluctuations
  • Not knowing the signs that a baby is being adequately nourished.
  • Poor infant feeding practices or alternatives when challenges arise

What are the general signs of hunger in newborns?

Babies are usually good communicators.

The trouble is we don’t often pay attention or know what to look out for. The following are common signs that your baby is hungry: 

  • Baby keeps opening the mouth
  • Sticking out the tongue
  • Making sucking movements 
  • Your little one is constantly bringing their hands up to their mouth
  • Moving their limbs as though crawling or cycling in the air
  • Turning their head towards the chest or breast of whoever is carrying them
  • Crying and being irritable. When they cry, it is a late sign of hunger. Some may get so worked up that they won’t want to latch onto your breast or teat of the bottle! Alternatively, they could latch onto your nipple in their haste and annoyance.

This, I assure you, will bring you exquisite pain while breastfeeding

Are Preemies Different?

When preemies are hungry they could lick their lips, become restless, stick out their tongue or flutter their eyes.

Conversely, when they have had enough they relax and their colour changes if they are light-skinned). Some of them may change the rhythm of their nursing and they may touch the breast.

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7 Signs your baby is hungry

A satisfied baby is relaxed with inactive limbs. The baby may turn away from your chest, lets go from breast or bottle feeding and fall asleep.

Baby’s tend to cluster feed at times when they are experiencing rapid growth. Cluster feeding is characterised by showing signs of hunger more frequently than usual.

This is often observed by mothers who schedule their baby feeding times at intervals (as opposed to feeding baby on demand). A baby who usually feeds every 3 hours may demand food every 2 hours for a span of 3 days. For breastfeeding mothers, it’s natures way of increasing your milk supply. Demanding more milk from you in response to your babies next stage of growth characterised by the need for larger quantities of milk. Growth spurts can be observed at 2 days old, 3 months old, and  6- 9 months old

How much milk does my baby need?

Your newborn’s stomach size is really small at first.

At the first to the third day of life, your baby’s tummy is the size of a cherry or 1 grape and can only hold a teaspoon of milk ie. 5-7 mls per meal. By day three to five, it is the size of a table tennis ball or walnut.

From six days old up to 3 weeks old baby’s stomach is the size of an egg and so on.  Knowing this should restrain you from overfeeding your baby which could cause undue discomfort and distract you from the real cause of why our child may be fussy.

All babies lose no more than 10% of their body weight within the first 5-7 days of life before returning to their birth weight by week 2. Baby’s weight should increase by 50% at 6-8 weeks old and double his/her birth weight at 4-5 months old.

This topic, weight gain, is another source of anxiety and potential conflict with loved ones as far as a first-time mum is concerned. Look out for these variations and verify during your first well-baby visit after childbirth. Make sure you use an appropriate infant weighing scale.

Any deviation from this may then prompt investigation of your baby’s nutrition or breastfeeding practices. The weight and length measurements for your baby should be entered in a chart which usually comes with your immunisation card. Each entry is benchmarked against the normal range for baby’s age within our environment which is also indicated on the chart. This forms a more objective view of if your baby is being adequately nourished.

Signs That Your Baby Is Being Adequately Fed

A well fed baby will :

  • Have 4 -6 wet diapers (urine) and 3-4 poopy diapers daily. Note that exclusively breastfed babies can go up to 3 days without passing stool at 3 months old. Also, formula-fed babies can get easily constipated if you fail to follow the instructions for proportions of water to formula while preparing their meal.
  • Gain weight in accordance with the normal range for his/her age and race as entered in the growth monitoring chart mentioned above

Is there a need for vitamin supplements in infants? Formula-fed babies do not need multivites. However, babies being exclusively breastfed are required to get vitamin D drops. There apparently isn’t enough vitamin D in breast milk and babies and mums don’t get as much sunlight as needed.

What Can I do When Challenges Arise

The bedrock of a breastfed newborn getting enough milk from its mother is ensuring your little one is draining the breast adequately. Next mother has to have an adequate supply.

Your infant will drain your breast if he/she latches on properly ie. your nipple and most of the areola complex are in baby’s mouth with the areola in contact with baby’s hard palate and tongue.

If your breast is constantly being drained by the end of each feeding session, the initial increase in milk production and supply which is governed by demand and supply feedback will be activated.

Nigerian food that help increase your supply

Some structural challenges such as tongue-tie in the baby or a mismatch between the size of your their mouth and your nipple-areola complex can hinder adequate feeding. It is important that these are found early and addressed by a trained health professional or lactaction specialist.

As mentioned above, it is important that the exact instructions for preparing a baby’s formula are followed. This prevents them from developing hard stools that are difficult to pass out (constipation). Constipation will come up from a concentrated mix of formula. On the other hand, a formula mix that’s too dilute will result in their not getting enough calories.

What if my baby doesn’t like feeding on a bottle?

This is a question that worries mothers who may need to return to work or leave their baby in the care of others for a few hours. If they refuse to breastfeed or accept a feeding bottle, the following alternatives are viable feeding options:

  • Cup and baby spoon 
  • A small syringe (without the needle)
  • Feeding cup 

Feeding a newborn as a first time mum can seem daunting. It is important to arm yourself with the right information to avoid common mistakes. Furthermore, information gives you the confidence to push back and advocate for yourself and your little one when the need arises. These are tips you should learn during an antenatal visit or birthing and breastfeeding class.

References

Wagner C. Counselling the Breastfeeding Mother. Emedicine. February 2015 Accessed September 9th 2019
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/979458-overview

How to increase your supply and build a stash of breast milk

Is It Possible To Breastfeed Exclusively With A 9-5 Job?

As mums, we’ve all heard of the amazing benefits of exclusively breastfeeding our babies. The list ranges from building baby’s immunity, protection from diarrheal diseases to breastfeeding being relatively easier on the pocket compared to breastmilk substitutes.

Going back to your 9-5 job after childbirth.


Breastfeeding is challenging. If exclusive breastfeeding is your goal, the thought of keeping up with it and going back to your 9-5 job can seem daunting. It’s my hope that a few of these tips can help you navigate this.


Building a stash of milk

Start preparing now or at most two months before you are due to return from maternity leave.

Pump a little each day.

I advise you to store your milk in labelled bags or bottles with ice packs in a large plastic container in your a freezer to protect it from power outages.

Find out how much milk your baby normally takes at each feeding. This, of course, will vary as your baby gets older.

For our demonstration, let’s say the baby drinks 50mls of milk with each feed. If you are going to be away for 8 hours every day and your baby eats every 2 hours that means your baby will feed 4 times while you are away. Add an extra 50mls (just in case there’s a spill). That means your baby will need 250mls of milk ((4x 50mls) +50mls).

Breast pump to help working moms breastfeed exclusively
You’ll need to figure out how much milk your exclusively breastfed baby takes per session

So, to build up a stash that will last 5 workdays you’ll need (5x250mls). That comes to a total of 1250mls of milk.

Storage bags working mums use to aid exclusive breastfeeding
It’s important to label your breastmilk storage bags to indicate the date and time you expressed the breastmilk

Ensure your bags or bottles are labelled with the date and time pumped as well as the amount of milk in each bag or bottle. Make sure they are then sealed properly for storage.

Make sure your breast milk storage bags are sealed properly when you are done
Make sure your breast milk storage bags are sealed properly when you are done


How long can I store breastmilk for with the weather in Nigeria ?

In our environment, breast milk can last up to:

  • 6 to 9 months in the chest freezer,
  • 6 days in a fridge and
  • 4 -6 hours out of the fridge at room temperature and
  • 24 hours in a cooler with an icepack.

So if you pump milk at work and store it in a cooler bag with an ice pack you are good till you get home.

Please note

Breast milk separates when stored with a layer of fat at the top. Once thawed gently swirl (don’t shake) the bag or bottle to mix.

What guidance do I give my baby’s carer about thawing breastmilk ?

Breastmilk is liquid gold.

It’s alive. It has infection-fighting cells, protective proteins as well as nutrients. Thawing it the wrong way can destroy all that good stuff. For milk from the freezer, bring it out the night before to thaw in the fridge. Alternatively, dip it in a bowl of tepid water. Please don’t microwave or put your milk in boiling or hot water. Breastmilk stored in bags thaws faster than milk in bottles.

It’s best to store your milk in serving sized portions that your baby will finish at a go. Any bit of milk left can be stored in the fridge but must be consumed within 24 hours.


Can breastmilk turn sour?

I’ve had mums worry about being engorged by the end of a workday or after a trip out of town but reluctant to breastfeed their babies.

They were told by relatives that their breast milk would have gone sour by then. I’ve also been told of some babies who reject stored milk or mums who noticed that the taste of their milk changed compared to when it was first expressed.

The taste of your breast milk depends on several factors:-

  • Your diet
  • The action of enzymes found in breastmilk
  • Where you store it
  • What you store beside it in the fridge or freezer.

Milk that is fed to your baby directly from your breast even after a break away from baby is still good and cannot have “gone off”. Secondly just because the milk that has been stored properly tastes funny at a given point in time does not mean it’s gone off. The only issue is that some babies may reject breast milk at a time because of a change in taste.

Let’s break it down

One of the enzymes (lipoprotein lipase) in breast milk breaks down triglycerides into several fatty acids when it’s stored.

The levels of this enzyme in breast milk are higher right after you have had a meal especially a high-fat one. These fatty acids can give your milk a soapy, musty, goaty or metallic taste.
Further break down (by oxidation) can give your milk a metallic taste.
Some babies don’t care about this, some do.

5 Things you can do about this change in the taste of your breastmilk

  1. Freeze your milk once it’s expressed instead of putting it in the fridge.
  2. Thaw your frozen milk gradually in the fridge instead of warm water.
  3. Some advocate scalding your milk at 82 degrees C before storage. This works but destroys protective antibodies in your milk.
  4. Adding antioxidants such as Vit E and C to your diet.
  5. Cutting down on polyunsaturated fats in your diet.

Exclusive breastfeeding is challenging. However, it can be an immensely fulfilling experience for mums who can pull through. There are situations where it is absolutely impossible to breastfeed or have a good supply. These challenges faced can potentially can put a mum’s mental health at risk. In such cases be rest assured that as long as your baby is being fed enough (breast milk or formula) all will be well. 

Your ability to breastfeed does not in any way reflect on your ability to be a good mother.

Why breatsfeed?
References

Nichola Singletary. 2019. “Funny Tasting Milk: Biochemistry and Clinical Applications of Human Milk Oxidation”. Lecture delivered at 2019 Gold Lactation Online Conference

HOW TO PREPARE AND STORE YOUR BABY’S FORMULA

Babies grow at a remarkable rate from the moment they are born. Mothers often worry about selecting the best formula to meet their babies needs. Once chosen, you may feel a bit nervous about how to prepare and store this formula safely.

Mothers often worry about selecting the best formula to meet their baby's needs.

A lot of nutrients are required to support this amazing growth spurt. The best way to provide your baby these nutrients is through breast milk. However, some situations where challenges to breastfeeding exist necessitate formula feeding. It’s also become increasingly popular in recent times.

In plain terms, this is the feeding of an infant or toddler with a prepared formula. This formula can be used to feed baby on its own or to supplement breast milk.

What Nutrients Are Present In Formula

Whether from breast milk or formula, some basic nutrients and vitamins that your growing child needs to stay healthy are;

  1. Calcium: For strong teeth and bones.
  2. Fat. Provides energy and protection against infections. Also helps with brain development and maintenance of healthy skin and hair.
  3. Folate. Helps in growth and development.
  4. Iron. This aids brain development and building of blood cells.
  5. Protein and Carbohydrates. Serves as a source of energy and fuel for your growing baby.
  6. Zinc. Encourages cell growth and repair.
  7. Vitamins: Vit. A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K are essential for healthy skin, hair, vision, blood cells, brain, immune system, bones, teeth, muscles, e.t.c.
baby formulas are fotified with nutrients some of the nutrients your baby needs

Although most infant formulas are gotten from cow’s milk, they are enriched with the necessary nutrients. Whether your situation makes the use of formula from the start necessary or to introduce it to your baby later on, you will likely have a lot of questions.

How do I choose the best formula for my baby?
How do I prepare and store my baby’s formula?
What formula is right for my baby’s age?
Is my baby is getting enough milk?

In this article is all the information you need to know about infant formula. Determining baby’s hunger and satiety cues etc are tackled in another post .

Always follow the instructions on the label when making formula

 Types of Infant Formula

The three main types of infant formula are;

1. Cow Milk Protein-Based

This is the most common type of infant formula available as most formulas are made from cow’s milk. These formulas have been fortified to contain the right amount of nutrients that would support your baby’s growth. In addition, they are formulated to make it easier for your baby to digest. However, some babies are allergic to the proteins in cow’s milk and thus need other types of formula.

2. Soy-Based

This are perfect for babies who are allergic to  cow’s milk formula. Occasionally , a baby may be intolerant of both cow’s milk and soy milk as well. In this case, another kind of formula is needed.

3. Protein Hydrolysate Formulas

Protein hydrolysate formulas are best suitable for babies who have a protein allergy and cannot digest either cow or soy milk. The proteins in this formula have been broken down into smaller components that such babies can tolerate.

Apart from these 3, there are special formula preparations for infants who are preterm or have special health conditions.

How are they sold?

There are 3 preparations of infant formula that you can choose from based on what suits you best. These include;

Powdered Formula

This is the most common and affordable. It comes in powder form that needs to be dissolved with water.

Concentrated Liquid Formula

As the name implies, this formula preparation also requires it to be mixed with water before feeding your baby.

Ready-to-Use Formula

Just like the name implies, this is ready-to-use to feed a baby. It does not need to be prepared with any water. It is the most convenient type of infant formula. However, it’s also very expensive. 

AGE SPECIFIC FORMULA

Based on age, infant formulas can be classified into 3 stages;

Stage 1 ( 0-6 Months)

This infant formula is creamy and attempts are made to make it similar to breast milk. In addition, contains starch in addition to lactose and would keep your baby full.

Stage 2 ( 6 Months Onward)

You may notice that this formula is creamier than stage 1 formula and contains more energy. You are to begin this formula when your baby is ready to start eating baby food. Depending on your preference, it can either be fed to your baby alone or used to supplement baby food. This formula will leave your growing baby more satisfied with his/her age.

Stage 3 ( 10 Months Onward)

This final formula is contains more starch, nutrients and energy to suit your growing baby’s needs.

How to Prepare Your Baby’s Formula

  • Remember to wash your hands well before preparing your baby’s food.
  • Clean and sanitize the area where you plan to make your baby’s food.
  • Wash and sterilize your baby’s bottles and other feeding utensils.
Always wash your hands before preparing formula
  • If you are using powdered formula:

1) Use water from a safe source to prepare your baby’s formula. It is advisable to use distilled or boiled water. Please, do not use sachet water.

2) Check the instructions on the formula container for the quantity of water to use. Most feeding bottles come calibrated and can be used to get an accurate measurement. Please use the exact amount stated because:

  • Too much water can make the preparation too dilute and unable to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Too little water can make the preparation too concentrated. This would cause your baby’s organs to work extra hard, leaving your baby dehydrated and or constipated.

Storage

Use the prepared formula quickly or store it immediately.

  • Unopened infant formula should be stored indoors in a cool and dry place. Do not put your baby’s formula in your vehicles, garage, or any other place outdoors for a long period of time.
  • Always make sure you check the expiry date on the container of the infant formula before you use it.
  • Use it within 2hours after you prepare it or 1hour after you start feeding your baby. Do not leave your prepared formula out at room temperature longer than this. It would get spoilt.

If you are mixed feeding, learn more about storing breastmilk and reasons for alterations in taste during storage in other posts.

How do I decide on what formula to use?

Finally,

  • If you do not plan on using your prepared formula within 2hours, store it in the fridge immediately and use within 24hours.
  • Use warm water to heat up your baby’s formula. You can place it for a few minutes under running warm water, or place it in a bowl of warm water. Never use a microwave to warm your baby’s formula.
  • Before you feed your baby, pour a few drops on the back of your hand to make sure it is not too hot.
  • Get rid of any remnant formula after feeding your baby and wash the feeding bottle immediately. The combination of the formula and your baby’s saliva can allow bacteria to grow, making it unhealthy for your baby’s consumption.
  • Make sure you clean and sterilize the feeding bottles before each feed.

Although no formula can truly replicate breast milk, modern formulas provide an close alternative where mother chooses or breastmilk from mum or a donor are unavailable.
Bottle feeding moments are amazing opportunities for you and your baby to get closer and to know each other more.

Also, bottle feeding allows your partner and other family members to help you with some of the feeding sessions so you can rest or return to work. If for any reason you baby doesn’t like bottles, you can learn about alternative was of feeding baby

REFERENCES
7 Signs your baby is hungry

How does breastfeeding help my baby develop?

Breastfeeding is the direct feeding of babies with milk produced from the mother’s breast. And while this may seem pretty commonplace and straightforward, the World Health Organisation says that only about 2 of every 3 children are exclusively breastfed.

How does breastfeeding aid your child’s development?

Breast milk has the nutrients your baby needs.

Breast milk contains the perfect combination of all nutrients that a growing baby can need for proper development. What is even more fascinating is that the composition of breast milk evolves with your baby’s age and needs. Immediately after birth, the mother produces a thick, yellow form of milk called colostrum. It has high protein content, has a lot of beneficial compounds, is low in sugar and helps the baby’s digestive tract develop. As time goes on, the breast then produces more and more milk to boost the baby’s development. Breast milk is also easier for a growing baby to digest than infant feed. This is why the relevant heath authorities recommend six months of pure breastfeeding for your baby and a year of continued breastfeeding as other meals are being introduced into your baby’s diet.  

Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s chances of illness

Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diarrhoea, Respiratory tract infections, Colds and infections, Gut infections, Intestinal tissue damage, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Allergic diseases, Celiac disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Diabetes, Childhood leukaemia. This protection means they more likely to have less hospital visits and admissions .

Mother Breastfeeding baby
Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits to the mother and the child.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity


Studies have shown that breastfeeding for the right period of time significantly reduces the chances of obesity in babies. This may be because breastfeeding aides the development of the right bacteria in the baby’s gut. Breastfed babies also have higher leptin, a hormone which regulates fat storage and appetite, than formula-fed babies. In addition to this, babies can regulate how much milk they consume, thus reducing the risk of overfeeding and obesity.

Breastfeeding boosts immunity


Breast milk contains a lot of antibodies which boosts the baby’s immunity. This particularly applies to colostrum, the first milk. Colostrum provides immunoglobulin A (IgA), as well as several other antibodies which protects the baby. The body forms these antibodies when the mother is exposed to an infection and are the body’s means of fighting the infection. During breastfeeding, these antibodies are passed to the child. Formula doesn’t provide antibody protection for babies and in fact, may put babies at risk if the water source is unhygienic and feeding bottles aren’t washed and sterilised with care.


Breastfeeding is linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. The physical touch also helps to increase the bonding between mother and child, thus making the baby feel safe and warm. Concurrently, breastfeeding also has some important benefits for mothers. It can help you lose pregnancy weight. It also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Learn about Nigerian foods that improve breastmilk supply If you have a 9 to 5 job click here for some tips on how to cope.

Breastfeeding guidance the during COVID – 19 pandemic by WHO
Learn how to increase your breast milk supply
References

Adda Bjarnadottir; 18/7/2020; https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-breastfeeding

18/7/2020; https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1

10 Nigerian Foods That Increase Breast Milk Supply

Nigerian Foods That Increase Breast Milk Supply

In Nigeria, traditional postpartum care has always been one of our age long customs; this celebrated activity is commonly called omugwo in Igbo, ojojo omo in Yoruba and wanka’n jegoin Hausa.

During this highly anticipated period, new mothers(especially first-timers) are usually encouraged to rest as they ease into their new roles as mothers. An important aspect of this role is child nourishment, new mothers are usually put through indigenous methods to improve milk production.

Believe it or not….

One method our African mothers rely largely on is regular suckling by the infant; the more a baby suckles at its mother’s breast, the more milk is produced. It would interest you to know that this is not just a superstition, it is a fact backed by science. Therefore, the best way to improve breast milk production is to keep on nursing your baby on demand. For mothers pumping exclusively a technique called power pumping is used. This is 3-4 intermittent pumping sessions for 10 minutes with breaks in between.

However, for some mothers, this is strategy is often insufficient as they often deal with pain while breastfeeding and struggle daily to produce enough milk for their babies.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production

If you’re like the typical mom who can’t bear the sound of their lovely baby’s cries of hunger, we’ve got you covered with this list of Nigerian foods that will help you increase the rate at which your breast produces milk.

List of Nigerian Foods That Boost Breast Milk Production

1. Fura de nunu ( Milk and Millet Gruel)

This is a common beverage originating from the Fulani people of West Africa. With Fura de nunu, you have a rich, delicious blend of fermented cow’s milk (nunu) and millet dough (fura).

In addition to refreshing you on a hot afternoon, Fura contains many essential nutrients which improve breast milk production.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production: Nunu
Hausa Millet porridge for breastfeeding mums

It would interest you to know that Nunu is an excellent source of protein, calcium, phosphorous and vitamins A, C, E and B complex. Fura is also known to contain essential amino acids, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and micronutrients. If taken regularly, this is a sure way to increase the production of very rich breast milk for your little one.

2. Kunu (A Northern Nigerian Gruel)

Another staple beverage that is quite popular in most parts of Nigeria, especially the north, is Kunu. Commonly made from millet, rice, sorghum, tiger nuts, guinea corn, maize, or a mixture of some or all of these, this locally made drink is just the right thing for you!

Furthermore, Kunu contains lactic acid, carbohydrates, proteins, and fat which are essential for normal body function. This drink would definitely leave you feeling nourished.

In addition, you get more breast milk to nourish your baby.

3. Pap

Popularly known as Akamu, Ogi, Eko or its fancier name, African Corn Porridge, this is a fermented pudding cereal made from millet, maize or sorghum. It is a ready-to-eat food packed with numerous essential nutrients like carbohydrate, B vitamins, folic acid, vitamins A and C, potassium, zinc and others.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - pap
Pap is highly nutritious and helps in boosting breast milk production

Considering its highly nutritious content, it is no wonder why so many of our mothers swear by this meal to help increase breast milk production. Please note that Pap is best taken with milk and sugar to give you a satisfying experience.

4. Moringa

This nutrient packed plant is a great source of vitamins and minerals, nursing mothers would get more out of these than most other vegetables. It is a multi-purpose herbal plant, that is, all parts of this plant can be used as it contains varying amounts of essential amino acids, anitoxidants, carotenoids and many other nutrients.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - moringa
Moringa leaves improve breast milk supply

Research has proven that infusing this plant into your meals is an effective means of improving your mother’s milk production. Moringa leaves can be added to soups, salads, or simply taken in juice form.

5. Carrots

Eating carrots is a great way to boost lactation as they contain vitamin A and potassium, both of which help to improve the quality and quantity of breast milk. 

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - carrots
Eating carrots are a great way to increase your supply as well as loose weight

As a plus, they’re a great way to lose that stubborn baby fat. They can be snacked on, juiced or eaten raw in the form of salads. Carrots are available everywhere and may just be the boost your mammary glands need.

6. Kaun (Pot-ash/ Keun / Akanwu)

Potash is a general name given to potassium containing compounds. Kaun, a lake- salt, is an ancient Nigerian food additive used in traditional cooking that has been known to add flavour and improve the taste of a dish. It’s a form of potash. Other sources are from palm kernel shells and dried, roasted unripe plantain peels.

Most women do not know that kaun is also helpful when nursing babies. Its high mineral content can serve a great stimulant for lactation. Potash should be taken in moderation in its cooked form. Excessive amounts (more than a teaspoon daily) can cause upset tummy. It can cause uterne contrations and thus must be avoided in pregnancy,

7.Watermelon

Sweet and juicy watermelons are another great addition to this list of lactogenic foods. This fruit is rich in fiber, fructose and a variety of minerals and vitamins. Additionally, its remarkably high water content would keep you hydrated, get your milk flowing and keep your baby full.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - watermelon

You can slice, dice or even blend this it in addition to other fruits to make a delicious smoothie. In addition, watermelons can be grilled.

8. Ofada Rice

Known globally as brown rice, locally grown Ofada /Abakaliki Rice is an effective addition to your diet as a nursing mother because it contains a variety nutrients like minerals, vitamin B and E. It also contains hormonal stimulants that help to improve lactation and increase breast milk production.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - ofada
Ofada (Brown Rice) is an effective addition to your meal to increase breast milk production

If you’re also planning to lose that persistent baby fat, you should definitely switch white rice for a well prepared bowl of ofada rice and sauce.

9.Garlic

Garlic is popular for improving the immune system but do you know that it can also help improve breast milk production? Commonly used as a seasoning or spice in traditional cooking, garlic has a rich supply of enzymes, vitamins and minerals that help improve milk production.

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - garlic
Garlic is a natural breast milk booster

But remember to go easy on this one, it’s notorious for causing body odours, especially when taken in large quantities. Therefore, its best to approach this with necessary caution.

Go easy on the garlic sisi

10.Water

Breast milk is essentially made up of water. Therefore, staying hydrated is crucial to breast milk production. And what better way to stay hydrated than to drink lots of water? 

Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production - water
Drink up to 2.5l of water daily to boost your milk supply especially after breastfeeding

A minimum of 8 glasses per day is the target! Remember, the goal is not only to increase the quantity of breast milk you produce, but also to improve its quality.

Yeah…we know we said 10 but there’s more……

  • Ewe bombo (awalagbo in Yoruba)
  • Uda and other herbs used to make pepper soup for pregnant women
  • Tiger nuts and dates
  • Ginger ( preferably freshly grated in warm water)
  • Cumin
  • Fenugreek (It’s called “hulba” grown in Northern Nigeria ladies!)

Finally, an overall healthy diet is key, not only to help nourish your newborn, but also to nourish you.



Learn more about foods that increase your breastmilk supply

Getting The Best Out of Your Breastfeeding Journey: The Bras You Need.

Getting The Best Out of Your Breastfeeding Journey: The Bras You Need.

A good nursing bra...

Pregnant mums will often tell you how tight the band of their regular bras get as pregnancy progresses and their chest expands.

Demo of the Biamo designs nursing bra and pumping bra accessory

It’s like being in bondage, to be honest. Add heartburn to the mix and these make you feel like going without a bra. If you will have to wear a nursing bra 24 hours a day for 6months just to make breastfeeding your infant seamless and hold nursing pads in place you are better off with a comfortable one. A nursing bra should be soft yet supportive making you forget you are wearing a bra at all.

How to get your correct bra measurements

  • First, wear your most supportive regular bra
  • Using the side calibrated in inches and ensuring it is parallel to the floor, take a tape measure and measure the diameter around the area just under the fold of your bust.
  • Whatever figure you get, round off to about the nearest even number. This is your band size. So, if you get 33” use 34”; if you get 29”, use size 32” and so on
  • While still wearing the bra, using the same tape measure, get the diameter of your chest at the fullest part of your bust.
  • Find the difference between this measurement and your band size ie. if you got a measurement of 36 and your band size is 34 , the difference (36-34) is 2. This is a B cup so your measurement would be 34B
Measure Your Band and Cup Size
To Get a Good Bra Fit

You’ll want to look for a bra with no underwires, a smooth silhouette, extra rows of hooks and eyes at the back to accommodate changes in your chest size during pregnancy and breast feeding.

A good pumping bra……..

If you intend to build a stash of milk for storage you don’t have to hold on to your breast pump against your chest throughout your pumping session. You are bound to get tired and shift your hands loosing some of that suction pressure. Get a pumping bra that’s soft, but firm and stretchy enough for you to hold your breast shields firmly in place.

With The Biamo Designs Pumping Bra Accessory You Don’t Have to Hold Your Pump in Place As You Express Breastmilk
This is what the reverse side of the Biamo pumping accessory looks like

Some bras have a figure of 8 opening instead of a slit. This means you can feed your baby through there and need not go through the ceremony of taking off your pumping bra if your little one wakes up and needs to be breastfed while you pump from the other breast.

Biamo designs nursing and pumping bras can be purchased from our online store.

If you are on a budget, you could convert an old sports bra to a pumping bra. Check out a demonstration we did on how to make one.

Learn more about how the right bra can help you during weaning ?

If you are on a budget , making a handsfree bra is easy

6 (Six) Things That Could Be Making Breastfeeding Painful For You

The beginning of a breastfeeding journey for a new mum can be uncomfortable and slightly painful. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Common causes of pain during breastfeeding are:⠀

1. Excessively sensitive nipples

Some mothers do have really sensitive nipples in the early stages if pregnancy. However, this tends to reduce over weeks say 3-4weeks, so do worry.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

2. Wrong latching technique

Baby is most likely chomping on your nipple. It will deform your nipple, cause injury, baby won’t be able to drain your breast/ get enough milk and your breastmilk supply may eventually suffer. If you feel pain, disengage from baby, and try to latch again . ⠀⠀⠀⠀

3. Nipple cracks and sores

These are caused by wrong latching. They can also get infected . If you develop cracks always wash your hands before touching your boobs, allow the area to air dry after each feed. Nipple creams provide alot of relief in between breastfeeding sessions . Soft and highly absorbent nursing pads eg.biamo designs, lansinoh and medela keep you dry and protect sore nipples from friction with your clothes/nursing bra. Please do not apply breast milk on OPEN SORES.

This can cause an infection. It’s important you keep draining by expressing your breastmilk from the affected breast to prevent a condition known as mastitis. Mastitis causes pain, swelling and redness on the breasts. Some mums have fever and chills. Hand expression; using the the right sized breast pump; or a nipple shield for direct breastfeeding will go a long way if you develop sores.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

4. Nipple thrush

This is caused by “germs” called fungi. Fungi love moist, warm, sugary environments. Breastfeeding mum’s nipples and baby’s mouth are the perfect breeding grounds for them. Thrush is common in new borns. A mum’s nipples may feel raw, itchy, and look pink . Taking a look in your baby’s mouth may show hard to remove white patches on the inside cheek and roof of the mouth. This will explain why your baby may have become cranky of late as it could cause a bit of discomfort. Baby may also have a diaper rash caused by the same germ. No amount of nipple cream can provide relief here. Changing your nursing pads regularly whenever they are soaked can go a long way. A doctor can prescribe safe antifungals for mummy and baby. Some people ignore this nipple thrush and it till it clears on its own .

5. Nerve pain or vasospasm

Have you ever felt a shooting pain from your breast to your arm pit or before or after nursing? It’s probably from a nerve or blood vessel. This can clear on its own but if it’s unbearable your doctor can write a prescription for pain relief and other safe medication you can take.

6. Medication

Labetalol, a drug used to treat pre eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) also causes painful spasm of the blood vessels around the nipple.

Soft but highly absorbent nursing pads and nipple cream are must haves for new mums who are breastfeeding

Pain during breastfeeding isn’t necessarily normal and mothers shouldn’t feel compelled to bear it. Listen to your body. There are solutions available

Talk to us today.

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