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Health Matters



HOW DOES IT WORK? When a baby suckles, sensory impulses are carried from the nipple to the brain. As a response, the pituitary gland secretes prolactin and oxytocin, causing milk to be produced and collected in the alveoli, and flow through the ducts to the nipples.

The time a baby spends nursing in not important, since most babies ingest 90% of their nutritional needs in 4 minutes. Some babies prolong breastfeeding, sometimes up to 30 minutes or more. The important thing is to determine if the baby is receiving milk rather than using the mother’s breast as a pacifier, since this can macerate the nipples. The baby should empty the first breast and, if it is still hungry, then be offered the second breast.


Breastfeeding has benefits for the baby:
Promotes bonding, calms babies down;
Provides complete and balanced nutrition;
Prevents gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary infections, ear infections, meningitis and sudden infant death syndrome;
Provides passive immunity;
Helps intellectual development;
In the long term, prevents the appearance of diabetes, lymphomas, asthma, obesity and Crohn’s disease, among others.

But it also has benefits for the mother:
Breastfeeding facilitates early uterine involution;
Decreases the probability of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer;
Decreases the risk of osteoporosis;
Does not require preparation;
Is always at the ideal temperature;
No economic costs;
Weight restored more quickly.

Successful breastfeeding:
Baby gains proper weight and good psychomotor development;
Quality of interaction, physical and visual contact – bonding;
The actual transfer of milk – relationship between the quantity of milk the mother produces and the quantity of milk the baby obtains, whereby the baby’s role is very important to regulate the quantity of milk it ingests;
Motherhood plan: short term breastfeeding can be a success if it meets the mother’s expectations.

Signs of a “good latch”:

The baby’s mouth covers most of the areola and its tissues;

The baby suckles the areola and not the nipple; the baby’s chin touches the breast;

The baby’s mouth is wide open; its lower lip is turned out;

More of the areola is visible above the baby’s mouth than below.

Engorged breasts:
When breastmilk comes in, around the 3rd day after childbirth, breasts can become hot, heavy and hard due to an increase in milk and the amount of blood in the breast tissue, making it difficult for the baby to suckle. The mother may breastfeed less because she is in pain and breasts can become infected because the milk is not drained, especially if the nipples have fissures. To prevent engorged breasts, mothers should breastfeed on demand and check for signs of a good latch. If the baby is unable to suckle, the mother should remove the milk to a container (manually or with a pump) and give it to the baby.

How to prevent/treat nipple fissures:

Position the baby so that its head is in line with its body, facing the nipple and check for signs of a good latch;

Breastfeeding should not be interrupted, the baby should stop nursing spontaneously;

If the mother needs to interrupt, she should place a finger in the baby’s mouth gently to interrupt suction;

After bathing and after each feed, the mother should apply a drop of breastmilk on the nipple and areola;

In between feeds, the mother should expose her nipples to fresh air and sunshine whenever possible.

The newborn should not be offered any other type of food or liquid aside from the mother’s milk, unless medically indicated;

The mother should breastfeed on demand;

Babies that breastfeed should not be offered teats or pacifiers.

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