Medical Advice - For Mothers - Breastfeeding

It is important that despite technological advancements, we remain faithful to some irreplaceable values such as breastfeeding. It is the established right of every newborn baby and every mother. It is a well known fact that breastfeeding is the continuation of the natural relationship developed between the mother and the newborn baby during pregnancy and enhances the bond between them during the rest of their life together.

Breast Milk Production

Prolactin and oxytocin are the two hormones released in the mother’s body right after childbirth. These hormones are produced in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. However, milk production is stimulated by the baby during breastfeeding.

Prolactin, the motherhood hormone, is released into your system every time you breastfeed and ‘orders’ your breast to produce more milk for the next feed.

Oxytocin, the “hormone of love”, stimulates the release of milk while your baby is feeding and secretion is heavier when a baby is crying. It is also the hormone that intensifies feelings of love and care for your child.

The colostrum is the first milk the baby receives after childbirth. It is the first thick yellowish fluid that leaks from the breast during the first days after delivery. The quantity is small but its value unique as it is rich in albuminates, minerals and vitamins and contains many antibodies that provide passive immunity to babies.

About three days after childbirth the composition of milk changes. It becomes thinner and more translucent containing a unique ratio of albuminates, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, trace elements and antibodies. It is exactly this unique composition that established breast milk as an irreplaceable food for newborns.


Breastfeeding Advantages

For the baby:
•   Provides protection from allergies (such as asthma and eczemas).
•   Enhances intellectual development (it is proven that babies who breastfeed have a higher IQ). Enhances mental growth (close and frequent contact with the mother makes children self-confident and more independent). It is digestible and reduces colic incidents.
•   It has long-term advantages for your baby’s health (scientific research has shown that breastfeeding provides protection from obesity, juvenile diabetes, heart diseases and pediatric cancer).
•   It has the best consistency for babies.

For the mother:
•   Causes the uterus to contract after childbirth.
Protects against breast and ovarian cancer.It is cheap and always available.

•   It has the right temperature and does not require preparation.
•   Provides protection from osteoporosis (women who have breastfed are affected at a later age and less frequently).
•   Enhances self confidence.
•   Helps in shedding the extra weight

Advice for successful breastfeeding
•   Start breastfeeding immediately, even right after delivery.
•   Before breastfeeding wash your nipples with water. Avoid using soap or alcohol on the breast, which will dry the nipple.
•   Use soap and water only once daily while taking a bath.
•   Use an appropriate bra during breastfeeding which supports your breast without pressure and keep your nipples dry and clean.
•   Chose a correct and comfortable nursing position. To do so hold your breast with one hand and the baby’s neck or back with the other.
•   Don’t give your breast to the baby; instead bring the baby’s head towards your breast so that its chin touches your breast. When the nipple is lined with the baby’s mouth gently pull your baby’s head close, so that the baby takes not only the nipple by a large part of the areola as well (the dark area around the nipple).
•   During nursing you may be sitting, using pillows on your thighs, or lifting your one knee to support the baby’s body or lying on your side with your baby facing you (this position is useful for mothers who had a caesarean section).
•   To remove the baby from the breast insert your finger between the baby’s gums; never pull the baby from the breast as this can hurt the nipple.
•   Don’t stop breastfeeding if your nipple becomes sore. Sore nipples or pain during breastfeeding means that the technique is wrong.
•   In this case take the baby away from your breast and try repositioning until you have the correct position or seek the advice of experienced, specially trained personnel.
•   If your nipples are bleeding you may need to consult your doctor and stop breastfeeding for a day or two because the baby can swallow the blood and vomit.
•   Don’t stop breastfeeding in case of fever due to proven common flu symptoms (runny nose, etc.). The flue will only get transmitted through your breath and that is why you are advised to use a mask, spend little time with the baby and continue breastfeeding.
•   Also, do not stop breastfeeding if you have pain, engorgement or mastitis and a slight fever (galactophoritis).
•   Breastfeeding will help solve the problem.
•   If you have a breast infection, contact your doctor. Do not apply drying substances on inflamed nipples. If a new sore does not occur, the old one will heal on its own.
•   Do not wash your nipples after breastfeeding because your milk contains disinfectant substances and your baby’s saliva contains enzymes that accelerate healing. If you wish, use a lanolin ointment that will often offer relief.
•   Always remember that breastfeeding is never-ending and free. It is natural that during the first days your baby’s meals will be irregular and you will be concerned or wonder if you baby is full or what should you do if your baby cries shortly after a meal.
•   There is only one answer: hold your baby to your breast as often as he or she is asking for it and avoid giving milk supplements or other fluids.
•   At first, you may need to breastfeed from both breasts in each meal, while as the days go by and the quantity of milk increases, it will be sufficient to feed your baby from one breast at a time.
•   If your breasts are engorged, (especially during the 3rd - 4th day) massage your breast gently to make breastfeeding easier for the baby. If after breastfeeding you feel that your breast is still heavy, massage again in order to remove any milk remaining in your breast.
If your nipples are flat or inverted, you must prepare them for breastfeeding during pregnancy. And don’t give up under any circumstances.
All women can breastfeed their baby except in extreme cases.
No matter what the problem you are facing, the most important thing is not to get discouraged. Seek help and support and all obstacles will be overcome slowly with persistence and patience. The first six weeks are a period of adjustment for both you and your baby.

REA and breastfeeding

Therefore, breastfeeding is correctly considered an irreplaceable gift of nature. We at REA, with the help of specialized, experienced personnel, will be on the side of mothers and their newborn babies by providing a warm and calm environment and all valuable advice and instructions so they can enjoy this unique experience.

It is important that mother and child bond and experience this unique feeling from the first moments after childbirth. In the delivery room, newborns are placed on their mothers' breast for as long as necessary to take the first feeding, thus encouraging “skin-to-skin” contact, which so significant for successful breastfeeding afterwards.

In the patient room floors babies can stay next to their mothers (rooming-in) around the clock and throughout their stay in the clinic. It has been proven that having the baby next to the mother strengthens the bond between them and sets the foundation for exclusive breastfeeding.

The specialized and specially trained personnel stays close to new mothers ready to help and provide support in this significant endeavor and remains close even after discharge from the clinic via the 24/7 help and support line, which aims to deal with any problems or questions that may come up later.

REA will also play an important role for babies in the Intensive Care Unit. Even in cases where a baby must be separated from its mother, specially trained NICU personnel will make every possible effort to help mothers of premature babies preserve their milk for as long as possible.

Especially for premature babies, mother's milk is the ideal food (latest studies have shown that the milk of mothers of premature babies has a significantly higher albuminate content that the milk of women with full term babies). This is done with the use of pumps immediately and for as long as the premature baby is not able to breastfeed, thus creating its own private milk bank. And when able to feed, the premature baby will immediately receive his or her mother’s milk. As soon as the baby’s health allows, it will be placed on the mother’s breast and with correct training we will promote and establish breastfeeding for premature babies as well.

Mother’s milk is the only treasure provided for free!

Rea Maternity Hospital
383, Siggrou Ave. & 17, Pentelis 17564 Palaio Faliro, Athens, Greece
Tel: +30 210 9495000, fax: +30 210 9495999, email: