So as it is World Breastfeeding Week from 1st-7th August I couldn’t help but use this as an opportunity to talk about breastfeeding! This is a topic that is close to my heart and something that I am very passionate about. It was always something I was very curious about and since I had Eva and we have been on our breastfeeding journey it has heightened. Currently we are 13 months in to our journey and boy has it had its ups and downs. That is a blog for a different day….
Disclaimer: I am not a trained breastfeeding professional/lactation consultant but these are my top tips for moms who are about to begin or who have just began their nursing journey, whether its baby no. 1 or 6.
1: Preparation and Support, Support, Support…..
This is one thing I thought I did well but I was wrong! I booked myself in for the breast feeding class at the hospital that I attended and felt that it only covered positioning etc but didn’t tell you about the first two nights, well more especially night two! I would recommend even while you are pregnant to go to support groups . Here you can meet other like minded Moms and breast feeding counselors who can support you on your journey .
Here is a list of some of the organisations that have groups in many areas across Ireland;
Back to night 2, oh my was it tough. I feel like this is a must to talk about as I remember lying in bed asking my Hubby what’s wrong, why won’t she settle without a boob in her mouth. I kept taking her off and on trying to settle her in her co-sleeper but to no avail. Looking back I was trying not to ‘spoil her’ but the truth is you can’t. Whenever we have our next nursling I would just feed ,feed, feed, lots and lots of skin to skin and co-sleep more. At this stage baby is trying to bring the milk in and wants to be comforted. All normal in the 4th trimester and to a newbie nursing baby.
To help with preparation a must read is the ‘Womanly Art of Breastfeeding’, this was recommended by a friend and is really informative and an almost ‘fix it’ book. It doesn’t replace a Lactation Consultant but can be so helpful as it gives you breastfeeding solutions for breastfeeding problems.
Apologies for the rambling but I really wanted to touch on this subject ,I really cant reiterate that point enough especially if it is your first nursing journey. Whether it is your partner bringing you food ( you will have a ravenous hunger and cravings even worse than in pregnancy, I pretty much lived off the Lidl chocolate traybake the first few days) or becoming your research partner. Your partner is going to be your biggest cheerleader, make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to feeding . Having family members on board is also pivotal as the last thing a nursing mother wants to hear is ‘baby would sleep better having a bottle’ or ‘when are you going to stop’ and having your partner to support you is such an amazing feeling, even if sometimes they just provide some comic relief.
My biggest support
2: Be kind to your Breasts
Yes ladies be kind to those breasts, they are feeding your little one!! Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable at the start but ways that I found helped me through the sometimes unbearable pain ( Eva had a posterior tongue tie) was rubbing breast milk on my nipple and let it air dry, plenty of nipple cream and finally my must have is Multimam Compresses!! Those compresses felt as good as taking your bra off after a long day! Speaking of bras when you begin your nursing journey you will feel like you have become Jordan over night. Invest in good supportive bras for the first few weeks. Personally I found the Emma Jane ones the best as my cup size kept changing through the early weeks and these bras the cup adjusts from a B-F. The may not be attractive but are very practical so you don’t have to keep buying new bras at the start.
In all seriousness though if breastfeeding is continuing to be painful please seek out a qualified lactation consultant and they will be able to guide you on your journey.
3: Make a Feeding Nook
This doesn’t mean spending a bomb on items but to create a space where you feel relaxed and where you can feed your baby. What I found handy was having a basket close to me downstairs and one upstairs by my bed. The items included; Snacks ( for the ravenous hunger) , water (its key to hydrate, hydrate,hydrate) , remote control/Ipad/book( for all the times baby falls asleep after a feed and you take all the newborn cuddles you can get) , breastfeeding pillow ( this was a must for the early days) ,breast pads and nipple cream( yes its needed!!).
4: Don’t be Ruled by Schedules
As a first time nursing mom I heard it all from’baby would be more settled on formula’ , ‘ she sure does feed a lot, she must not be getting enough’. The first few weeks your baby is getting up its milk supply for the next 6 months. Let baby nurse for as long and for as often as she wants. In the first 6 weeks this could mean you are nursing more than you are not but enjoy those sweet moments they don’t last for long especially when you baby turns into a toddler and nursing becomes less quiet and relaxing but more like acrobatics!! Again skin to skin during these times is a must.
Breastfeeding has been one of the most incredible journeys I have been on and the bond it created for us is just amazing.
A gold nugget of a tip was shared with me when I was pregnant and it was ‘ never give up on a bad day’
Thanks for reading, I would love it if you could let me know what you think.