• Calorific adequacy during pregnancy

    Most of women after pregnancy wish to revert back to their usual body weight before conception, following for that purpose a very rigorous diet. However, during breastfeeding, a daily calorie intake of at least 200 calories above the regular calorie intake is required compared to the requirements of a non lactating woman. For this reason, milk production is dependent upon the mother's energy intake.

    Moreover, if breastfeeding lasts for more than 3 months or if the lactating woman's body weight drops below the ideal one for her height, then food-derived energy intake should be accordingly increased. The same happens if the lactating woman breastfeeds more than one infant, as in the case of twins. It is, therefore, recommended during breastfeeding not to aim at body weight loss of more than 2 kilos per month because this will probably result in less milk production.

    Diets lower than 1300kcal could negatively affect both milk production and its composition. They should therefore be discouraged.
  • Breast milk sufficiency

    When an infant breastfeeds, we can never be sure of the quantity of milk the baby consumed or whether this is sufficient. Do not worry though because babies have their own way of communicating.

    Some of such indications follow below:
    • A very important indication of your baby's saturation is when you see it calm and peaceful after the meal. During breastfeeding, the baby may stop due to fatigue but it could resume breastfeeding afterwards.
    • A strong indication is when we see it regaining weight. After the first ten days, your baby should be gaining weight.
    • After breastfeeding you should feel your breast empty and soft.
    • During the first days after birth, your baby should have at least two bowel emptying daily, of yellowish color and the nappies should be wet enough when you change them.

    There are however indications that your baby is not sufficiently fed and that it needs more milk.
    Such indications are:
    • Various sounds and swallowing sounds during breastfeeding. Probably the baby does not catch your nipple properly.
    • One week to ten days after birth the baby's skin remains yellowish and wrinkled.
    • Your baby is nagging and crying immediately after the meal.
    • Your baby seems constantly uneasy and tired.
  • Nutrition with the feeding bottle

    If breastfeeding your baby is truly not feasible or if your milk is not sufficient enough, then alternatively you could use the feeding bottle, always following medical advice. If your baby is from 0 to 6 months, then you could administer 1st stage milk, whereas if it is from 6 to 12 months old, you should administer 2nd stage milk.
  • 1st stage milks:

    • Concerning the quality and the quantity of the proteins they are adjusted to breast milk proteins
    • Contain nucleotides which have been proven to strengthen the infant’s immune system
    • Are digestible and absorbable by the baby’s digestive system due to their lactose content
    • Many of them contain pre-biotics or pro-biotics contributing to the intestinal flora balance and to the strengthening of the immune system
    • Are enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (linoleic, a-linoleic acid), LC-PUFA (arachidonic acid (AA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) contributing to the brain's proper development and the baby's vision

    During the first six months of its life, your little baby should be fed exclusively with milk. As of the 6th month onwards, the baby has increased needs in calcium, iron and minerals and other types of food should be introduced.Nevertheless, during the 2nd stage, milk is still playing a decisive role in your baby’s nutrition, whether administered by your breast or with the feeding bottle as powdered formula. Weaning (6-12 months). Until the 6th month of age, breast milk in itself or in combination with a 1st infant age formula is sufficient to cover your baby's nutritional needs. After the 6th month of age, your baby’s increasing needs in energy and nutrients are different and the exclusive feeding with milk cannot fully cover these needs for a healthy development. After the 6th month of a baby’s life, the requirements in iron, calcium and vitamins constantly increase.

    Therefore, weaning serves various needs such as:
    • Coverage of increased energy requirements that would ensure its smooth development
    • Tasting of new types of food, of different texture, taste and flavor.
    • Facilitating functions such as chewing and swallowing.

    Before the age of 5 - 6 months, babies are in no position to have the required control and coordination of the tongue and mouth muscles. Such acts are necessary for chewing and swallowing. For all above reasons, additional types of food should be added to the baby’s nutrition.

    With your physician’s consent, you could add:
    • From the 6th – 7th month: Rice flour,cream, Vegetables (such as carrot, potato, courgette, celery),Fruit (such as apple, pear, orange, banana), Other cereals, Chicken, meat.
    • From the 8th – 12th month: Other soft food, such as pasta, cheese, yoghurt, beans.
    • From the 12th month: Other food.
  • Pumping breast milk

    Prepare your breast with a hot breast bath or using hot medical dressings and continue with a soft massage following the direction of lactiferous glands to avoid any injury. Avoid using the pump for a long time on the same nipple but just for a few minutes having first prepared the breast in the way described above.
  • Breast preparation for breastfeeding

    Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding even before labor. During pregnancy, your body is getting ready for breastfeeding whether you are aware of it or not. The hormonal changes taking place in your breast during pregnancy is sufficient preparation for most women. Avoid rubbing your nipples because this practice might possibly harm you, making breastfeeding difficult. The most effective way to avoid pain is for your baby to learn early the correct breastfeeding position. Various products are available to make breastfeeding more comfortable and convenient but their purchase is not required.
  • Mastitis: Symptoms and treatment

    Mastitis is a microbial infection of a lobe of the mammary gland. Symptoms usually involve hardening of the infected point, high fever as well as a feeling of fatigue. Following your doctor's advice, if symptoms persist for more than one day, a treatment shall be administered which shall be compatible to breastfeeding that should not be interrupted due to mastitis.
  • Alternating breasts while breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding sessions should not be limited to a predetermined number of minutes dedicated to each breast. Let your baby finish with the first breast before shifting to the other side. This gives the baby the opportunity to receive all the ingredients of high nutritional value required for it to grow. Let your baby breastfeed on the first breast until the intensity of swallowing decreases. When sucking becomes slow, change side and if required, repeat the above process.
Breast milk is acknowledged as the best for a baby's nutrition and breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months is considered the best feeding option for the baby.