Your breastfeeding questions answered

You may be feeling a little bit apprehensive about breastfeeding and bottle feeding, so we’ve answered some of your most common questions.


Q. I really want to keep breastfeeding. Is there any way to make it more flexible?
Q. I’ve got small breasts, can I still breastfeed?
Q. How long can breast milk be safely stored in the refrigerator and in the freezer?
Q. What is the best bottle feeding technique?
Q. Is it really necessary to sterilise my baby’s bottles and feeding equipment?
Q. Can I put my bottles in the dishwasher?
Q. How can I prevent sore nipples?
Q. How can I prevent my breasts becoming too full of milk (engorged)?
Q. How can I prevent sore breasts?
Q. What happens if I get thrush?
Q. What should I do about contraception?


Q. I really want to keep breastfeeding. Is there any way to make it more flexible?

A. It’s fantastic that you want to continue to breastfeed and there are ways to help combine breastfeeding with your other activities. Many women find that once they master the skill of breastfeeding, they find it easy, convenient and a wonderful bonding experience for both them and their child.

Expressing
Expressing is a convenient way of ensuring that your baby still receives all of the benefits of your breast milk when you can’t breastfeed. It can also help mothers to continue to breastfeed for longer. It’s best to wait a few weeks after the birth to allow breastfeeding to become established before you start expressing, unless your Healthcare Professional recommends otherwise.

Using a pump
Expressing is really easy, especially with a pump. Philips AVENT has two types of pump: manual and electronic. Both allow you to express your milk directly into a feeding bottle for storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Expressing is also a great way of getting someone else involved in feeding your baby.

Give it time
It’s important that your baby’s feeding technique at your breast is good, and that your milk supply is given time to fully replenish after each feeding. You can gradually start introducing bottle feeding so there are no sudden upsets if you are planning to go back to work or want to go out and can't be there to feed.

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Q. I’ve got small breasts, can I still breastfeed?

A. All shapes and sizes of breasts make milk, and almost all women can breastfeed, sometimes it just takes a while to get used to it and get it right. Ask your midwife, health visitor or healthcare professional for help if you need it. Even if you had problems feeding your first baby, try again. You are likely to find it much easier the second, third or even fourth time around.

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Q. How long can breast milk be safely stored in the refrigerator and in the freezer?

A. Breast milk can be expressed in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours and in the freezer for 3 months. If storing in the refrigerator, place it towards the back and not in the door so it stays at a constant temperature. In the freezer, the Philips AVENT VIA System of breast milk storage containers keep your milk in top condition, and you can feed your baby directly from them too by attaching a nipple.

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Q. What is the best bottle feeding technique?

A. Make time for your baby’s bottle, get comfortable and establish close contact with your baby during and after the feed.
  • Encourage your baby to open their mouth wide by touching the nipple of the bottle to their lips.
  • As they open their mouth, gently introduce the nipple making sure their tongue is down.
  • Your baby’s lips should be around the wide part of the nipple at the bottom.
  • Tilt the bottle so that the nipple is always full of milk. This will prevent your baby swallowing air as they feed.
  • Your baby will naturally release the bottle when they need a break or fall asleep.
  • Allow your baby to decide when they have had enough. Do not encourage them to finish the whole bottle as they may prefer to take less milk at some feedings.
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Q. Is it really necessary to sterilise my baby’s bottles and feeding equipment?

A. It’s really important to be as clean and tidy as possible around newborns and babies up to a year old as their immune system isn’t properly developed to fight off bacteria. Poor cleaning of breast and bottle feeding equipment can lead to tummy upsets and an unhappy baby. You should continue to sterilise all of your baby’s milk feeding equipment until they are a year old. First you must wash all feeding equipment, including breast pumps and soothers, using a mild detergent either by hand or in your dishwasher to get rid of the milk residue and dirt you can see. Then you should sterilise the washed items to ensure that certain bacteria that you can't see are killed.

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Q. Can I put my bottles in the dishwasher?

A. Bottles and breast pumps can be washed in the dishwasher. However, for your baby’s first year bottles and breast pumps still need to be sterilised properly before use. The Philips AVENT electronic steam sterilisers include a dishwasher rack to keep small items together in the dishwasher.

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Q. How can I prevent sore nipples?

A. The single most important way to prevent sore nipples is to ensure that your baby is attached to the breast correctly right from the start.
If after the initial latch-on feeding is painful, take your baby off the breast by inserting a clean finger gently into their mouth, and then try again.
The nipple should be rounded after your baby comes off your breast. If the nipple appears flattened or pinched, try to improve the latch or soreness may develop.

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Q. How can I prevent my breasts becoming too full of milk (engorged)?

A. Engorgement is normal in the first week as your milk is coming in. Try to feed your baby frequently from both breasts during this time.

Missing feedings
Missing feedings may lead to engorgement. If you know you’ll be away from your baby at a feeding time, it may be wise to express the milk to avoid problems.

Attachment
If your baby is not properly attached to your breast, engorgement may occur, as the milk is not being removed from the breast. Ask your Healthcare Professional for help with your feeding technique.

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Q. How can I prevent sore breasts?

A. Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue and an infection may develop if the inflammation does not resolve quickly.

Blocked ducts occur when a fatty deposit forms in one of the ducts inside the breast, preventing drainage of the breast.

The easiest way to prevent mastitis if you are breastfeeding is to make sure that each breast is emptied at feeding times. Alternating the breasts and ensuring that your baby is latched on correctly will also help. If it is not possible to empty the breast in one feeding, express the rest of the milk.

Another cause of mastitis is sore, cracked nipples. To prevent this try to correct your baby’s attachment to your breast.

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Q. What happens if I get thrush?

A. Thrush is a fungal infection that can affect the breast, externally and/or internally. It can also develop in your baby’s mouth. Thrush infection needs to be treated with anti-fungal medication prescribed by your Healthcare Professional.

The majority of breastfeeding problems can be prevented by adopting routines and practices to support breastfeeding, and by getting help to establish breastfeeding in the first few days and weeks.

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Q. What should I do about contraception?

A. It’s important to be aware that you could get pregnant again at any time after the birth. Breastfeeding is not guaranteed protection from pregnancy, and you can conceive before your periods have come back.

Contraception is normally discussed at one of your post-natal checks, but see your Healthcare Professional if you want some advice before then.

The progesterone-only pill and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are just two of the most common methods suitable if you’re breastfeeding.

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Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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