Traveller women have always breastfed their babies as it is the best way to bring them on and strengthen them. If you don’t know how you feel about breastfeeding, at least try it. You can always pump your milk and give it to the baby through the bottle. Even a few weeks of breastfeeding will help strengthen your baby.
Benefits for the Baby
- Gives baby healthy start
- Helps protect baby from ear infections
- Easier on the baby’s stomach
Benefits for the Mother
- Helps mother and baby bond
- Easier as you don’t have to wait for bottles to heat
- Help you lose weight after birth
TIPS FOR BREASTFEEDING
The midwife will help you with breastfeeding to make sure you are comfortable and the baby is latching on.
BEGINNING TO BREASTFEED
As a Traveller mother, there are three things to keep in mind if you would like to breastfeed your baby.
- Tell your nurse and doctor that you are an Irish Traveller.
The hospital will ask you about your ethnicity or cultural background. It is important to tell them that you are an Irish Traveller. They will then test your baby for a condition called Galactosaemia.
Your baby will be tested in the delivery ward before their first feed. A blood sample will be taken from your baby’s foot and sent to the lab for testing.
Your baby will be given soya milk until the test comes back clear.
- Tell your nurse that you would like to try breastfeeding.
The test results for Galactosaemia should be ready in 1 to 2 days. Your nurse can help you express your milk and store it while you wait for the test results. This will help in the flow of breastmilk. Your nurse can also help you and your baby have skin-to-skin contact.
- You must wait for the test results to come back before you begin breastfeeding.
If the test comes back negative, your baby doesn’t have the condition, and you can feed your baby whatever you choose, including breastmilk. If your baby’s test results show they have Galactosaemia, there’s no need to worry. You will be referred to a specialist doctor who will advise you on the best way to feed your baby.
Bottle and Special Feeds
Some babies might need to be put on a special feed. The hospital will give you a prescription for the first few weeks, after this you need to go to your GP to get a new prescription. If you aren’t sure about this talk to your Traveller Community Health Worker or Public Health Nurse.
Baby milk can harmful if it isn’t made the right way. It is very important to:
- Boil water and let cool before you put in the powder – too much or not enough can make the baby very sick
- Never use a microwave to warm-up baby milk
- Sterilize the bottles as soon as they are finished
- Don’t reheat bottles or leave it standing for more than 2 hours
- Throw out any unused bottles in the fridge after 24 hours
FEEDING YOUR BABY
- Don’t put a blanket under the baby and prop the bottle under them as it can cause choking
- Make sure to take the bottle away from your baby before putting them in the cot
- Babies under the age of 1 should not get cows milk as it is too heavy and they can’t digest it properly
- Don’t give sugar and water to your baby as it can cause tooth decay
- If your baby has constipation go to the doctor or chemist and they can help you