Breastfeeding Your Baby

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The “1000” day concept is a concept that governs several nutritional strategies in South Africa. The “1000” day concept refers to the optimal period in which growth and development of a baby occurs. This period starts from when pregnancy incurs up until your baby is two. It is in this period that we want to ensure that optimal nutrition is provided to our babies. One way of ensuring your baby has a good start in life is by breastfeeding or by providing breast milk. All though you might be thinking this is easy, often it is easier said than done. 

Basic Instinct or Skill?

Breast milk provision is often referred to as a skill and not something that is basic instinct. Think of it this way, you don’t just climb a bike the first time and know how to ride it… no… you have to develop your skill and ability to do this successfully. The same principle applies with breastfeeding. What makes it harder is that with breastfeeding, two individuals must learn. Your little one must learn how to suckle at the breast and you have to learn how to position and attach him/her. So be patient with yourself.Breastfeeding 1

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding or providing breast milk to your infant (to name but few):

  • Prevention of infections
  • Reduction of chronic disease risk
  • Weight management
  • Bonding
  • Provision of sufficient nutrients to promote growth and development
  • Optimisation of immune system


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Challenges with Breastfeeding

Some challenges sometimes do occur with breastfeeding. However, with proper education and support can be minimised or eliminated, namely:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Engorgement
  • Plugged ducts
  • Cracked/ bleeding nipples
  • Perceived or actual low breast milk supply
  • Difficulty in getting baby to attach

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Professional Assistance

When challenges arise, it is essential to seek Health Care professional assistance to provide assistance. Lactation Consultants are beneficial as they:Breastfeeding 5

  • Provide support to meet breastfeeding goals
  • Provide breastfeeding education
  • Help to prevent and manage breastfeeding complications such as engorgement, mastitis and breast abscesses
  • Monitor weight and growth of infant
  • Assist with low breast milk supply or breast refusal by infant
  • Assist to make your breastfeeding journey a pleasurable one