My adventures into Motherhood
My best friend is about to pop! Any day soon I reckon 🙂 So I sent her a big email concerning breastfeeding and she was so impressed, she recommended I post what I know…. so here it is folks!
When baby is latched on properly, you shouldn’t be in any pain. In fact, all you should feel is the sweet relief of being emptied. Aim to get their mouth wide open all the way around the areole and the nipple all the way back in their mouth, shooting down their throat. This keeps your sensitive nipple away from those hard gums! If you feel any discomfort simply pop the suction by pressing your finger in between your boob and their lips and try to get them latched on again in a more comfortable way.
Once your milk comes in, you may find yourself leaking at the slightest whimper from your baby. But a proper let down is a tingle sensation followed by gushing, the foremilk comes out like someone turned on the tap! Then it slows down for the hindmilk which was more like a steady stream. And when one boob let’s down, the other one goes too until it eventually gets the message that it’s not being used.
Best breast care:
The best brand of breast pads I tried was Lansinoh. They’re like mini nappies in that they draw all the wetness away from your skin and keep it trapped in the pad. The other pads I tried left my boobs feeling sweaty/damp, which isn’t great for cracked nipples, mastitis and blocked milk ducts. I also used to wash and dry and reapply Lansinoh lanolin cream to my nipples every few feeds to keep them clean and healthy. The pure lanolin is fine for baby to feed on, you don’t need to wash it off.
Foods to avoid when breastfeeding:
Coffee and all caffeine – unless you want a mini coffee fiend
Beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, spices, dairy – colic/gas
Citrus fruits and juice – nappy rash
Peanuts, soy, gluten, eggs – allergies. I personally didn’t avoid these foods, but I don’t have a history of allergies in my family so I felt it would be ok to have peanut butter on toast.
Parsley, mint – these herbs interfere with milk production
Shellfish, pâté, high-mercury fish, soft cheeses…..all the usual stuff that was high-risk for food poisoning during pregnancy still applies.
Keep a food diary in case baby doesn’t like something you’ve eaten or develops a rash. What you eat is generally in your milk only a few hours later, so if you suspect anything, you can cut it from your diet and see how that makes a difference.
Gina Ford has a theory that colic is brought about because of too much foremilk. This can occur when baby has just started taking the second breast, maybe only draining one and a half boobs. If you’re worried about this, make sure baby stays on the first breast long enough to get all the creamy hindmilk before switching to the second. You can also try pumping off some of the foremilk from the second breast while baby is feeding on the first, to ensure that they’re getting to that hindmilk which helps them to gain weight (and sleep!)
Boosting milk production:
Your milk supply is highest after a sleep so have an afternoon nap with your baby. This is when your milk supply is naturally lowest because you’ve already been up doing stuff all day, and you want to make sure you have ample supply for a good afternoon and bedtime feed because when baby eats well during the day, they can sleep for longer at night!
Carbs make milk, so don’t feel guilty about eating all those spuds, pasta and rice! You should have 500 more calories per day during breastfeeding and it’s easiest to eat these in frequent snacks that are healthy and nutritious. You can also sip fennel tea, which is supposed to aid milk production.
Drink lots of water! This is the thirstiest time of your life, it’s like running a marathon for several months where the finish line is an oasis of crystal clear cool water. Always have a drink on hand when baby is drinking from you, this is when it hits the worst and you’ll literally feel like your being sucked dry.
You can use the breast pump to trick your body into making more milk. Babies have a few growth spurts when they might be hungrier and it takes 24 hours for your body to register that more milk is needed, so you can spend some time on the pump after a feed to get your body to produce more milk at that feed time tomorrow.
Breast vs bottles:
I personally don’t see any problem with giving mixed feeds and I don’t believe that using bottles will lead to nipple confusion. When Sofia arrived early I had to give her formula top ups because my milk was late in coming in. Until she regained her birth weight and we could be cleared by the midwife, I also had to pump my own breast, measure the mls and top it up with formula. Sofia was bottle fed for the first weeks of her life and I was so distraught thinking it would interfere with her latching, and our bonding and that I’d never be able to re-establish breastfeeding. But my worry was in vain, Sofia loved the boob, latched like a barracuda and I breastfed her for 11 months. But it was also good to know that she would take the bottle if need be.
Don’t feel guilty or feel like you failed if you end up not being able to breastfeed. Being on the bottle means that you can share that feeding responsibility and it gives you a little freedom to maybe drop a feed and sleep in, or go out like a regular person to the pub or movies. Formula is not detrimental to your child’s health, they will still grow and develop just like a breast fed baby. But if you are having problems getting established, I urge you to seek out a breastfeeding group and get some advice, because not everyone finds it easy and it’s draining and exhausting work. You feel like you’re doing it 99% of the time if you’re not changing nappies, plus other new mums are the best support in the early days.
Happy feeding everyone!