Hello to all my mum’s and mum’s to be!
For some breastfeeding can be a wonderful and joyous experience between mother and baby. Unfortunately for some mums and babies it is not always the case and some mothers can present with a range of different feeding difficulties, some within their control and others out of their control. So today I would like to touch on a few tips that could help create a more successful breastfeeding experience.
Now just a little disclaimer…
I do support pregnant and breastfeeding as my career so i know it isn’t plain sailing for every mother. There are many reasons and complications for why it may be difficult for a mother to breastfeed. My intention is to support any mother through this journey to allow them to have a beautiful breastfeeding journey. I in no way pass any judgement on alternative methods of feeding and can also offer support when breastfeeding is not an option. The most important thing is the baby gets fed and that the mother is supported no matter what feeding method she decides.
As some of you may know I have now launched my own Lactation Consultancy Company so check it out and like my facebook page as there will be a lot of support available for my readers in terms of workshops and private consultations.
Another site I have found very help recently, is written by a wonderful mum blogger Zoe who writes for Thinkbaby.org, honestly this site is extremely resourceful and has so much information for all us mums! Please check them out as i myself, (three kids deep) find it useful in my desperate times.
Yes breastfeeding is natural….our bodies automatically produce milk during pregnancy and after birth to feed the baby. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy just because we were designed to be walking, talking milk machines. Gathering as much information during pregnancy is the most essential tool to create a successful breastfeeding experience. Understanding the foundations of breastfeeding will help you understand what your body is capable of and what you and your baby need to do to help this process run smoothly. YouTube has endless amounts of breastfeeding videos and attending parent education classes will also touch on a few pointers. Trust me, once you understand how breastfeeding works you will understand how to make it work for you.
Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself to breastfeed, this will do you no good. I’m not saying to accept defeat if you’re struggling but maybe seek additional support from family and experts. We all want to do the best for our babies but just be mindful that as a mother you also have to put your own needs and feelings first. Others around you may also make you feel pressured to breastfeed or not to breastfeed, a polite reminder is that it is your choice to do what works for you and your baby don’t dwell on your decision too much just concentrate on the needs of yourself and your child.
Support, Support, Support
Now I mean this in many ways such as:
Getting as much support from the healthcare providers as possible. They are there to help with all your issues and concerns and they will work with you to try and work on any feeding issues you have.
Getting help with other children during feeding times will give you the chance to focus on feeding your baby and getting the right positioning and attachment.
Also by having people around you who support your decisions and feeding methods will also make for a more relaxed experience.
For example: The mother-in-law that feels breastfeeding is gross and unnecessary because she never breastfed and all her children are fine….
Allow her to say her piece and simply remind her that was “her” choice and “her” special experience with “her” baby and you respect that but this is your special experience with your baby and of she’s not willing to accept and respect your methods then fine, but you would appreciate if she kept her dislike for breastfeeding to herself, as you have every right to enjoy this experience without negativity and judgement. And if you don’t feel you are able to speak up, maybe you could discuss this with your partner and get him to have a chat with his mother.
Reality Vs Expectation
Some new mothers my have had an introduction to the world of breastfeeding due to family members or friends and see how easy it is to latch on the baby whilst out for a coffee , or multi – tasking around the house and expect that they can do the same. In the early days it may be a struggle.. the baby might not latch very well and your positioning may be a little off so doing multiple things at once could be a Loong way off yet. Also on the other hand, It may not be as complicated for you as your friends and family may have told you it would be and you may start perfectly with no concerns. So please bare in mind every woman’s breastfeeding journey is different.
Regardless of your feeding method your still going to have to get up.. sit up, turn on a dim light and feed a baby.
Once you have mastered great attachment you can then try laying down on your side to breastfeed. Many women find this much easier at night times. But please remember, co – sleeping is never advised so it’s best to place the baby back in the cot after the feed.
Its also beneficial to remember to catch up on some sleep during the day.
You may hear that a breastfed baby doesn’t need to be winded. Breastfed babies can get trapped wind, especially if there is a lot of crying before they latch on or they have a poor latch in general. Now can I add.. if you wind a breastfed baby after they breastfeed they will bring up wind just like a formula fed baby would, there will be many resources out there expressing that winding a breastfed baby is not necessary but if your baby is showing signs of wind……well….. I’ll leave you to decide…
CRACKED AND SORE NIPPLES
This is NOT normal!!! Back in the day mothers would tell each other this is normal and that it will be like this for a few days until the nipples toughens up….
Breastfeeding should not hurt or cause damage to the nipples..if it is then there’s something wrong with how the baby is attaching. The baby may also be tongue-tied and need this reviewing. But please don’t sit there and suffer praying for the day the pain ends because this can be a factor which can cause mothers to quit.
If you suspect that your baby may be tongue-tied after gaining support for positioning and attachment then please attend your local breastfeeding cafe/ support group or lactation consultant for additional support. Lactation consultants will come and see you at home if you do not fancy going out but they do charge.
Tools to help:
Lanolin (cracked nipples)
Breastpump for engorgement
Expressing milk can be a life saver for mothers who want the baby to benefit from breastmilk but don’t actually want the baby attached to their breast every 2-3 hours. This avoids having to offer artificial milk and allows the mother to create and regulate her own milk supply.
E.g The more you pump the more milk you will create.
Pumping can also be used to relieve engorgement.
Pumping also give others the chance to be involved with feeding the new baby, which in turn can also give mum a break.
It is usually advised that you don’t introduce a bottle teat for the first 4 weeks as this may cause nipple confusion but again this is completely your choice. In saying that, there are many parents that are anti bottle and may seek alternative feeding methods like, cupfeeding or finger feeding. Please don’t try these without getting a demonstration from a healthcare professional and receiving the appropriate feeding support from a Breastfeeding Specialist as there may be other options that can work for mum and baby.
Feeding in public
Some mothers may feel comfortable to feed in public and others may not it just depends on you as an individual. If you are a self-conscious mummy and don’t feel ready to feed openly in public here are a few tips that may help.
1. Go to places where I know there are feeding rooms.
2. Use a really thin scarf to wrap around yourself and just slightly over the baby’s cheek. please bare in mind babies can overheat so I would use this more as a last resort again not over the head just around the boob and cheek.
3. Breastfeeding tops are super discrete.
4. If you really don’t want to breastfeed in public you could breastfeed in your car..
These are just my tips for if you feel uncomfortable feeding in public. In my opinion here in the UK, women are appear more discrete and we all tend to huddle in feeding rooms or use shawls and scarves and I’ve never really known anyone to mind. In saying that; if you are fully comfortable to breastfeed in public then good for you, my tips are only intended for those who maybe feeling a little anxious about public feeding but don’t want to resort to a bottle.
I am by no means saying that breastfeeding is easy but just relax! Regardless of your methods your baby will be fed and is loved by his/her mummy. I hear all to often when mums say they feel guilty for decisions they made during their journey but really don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Gain as much support and you can and try your best.
If you liked this post please like and comment I would love to hear some of your own experiences and some additional tips to help other breastfeeding mummies out there!
Next week we will have more breastfeeding tips so stay tuned.