Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Breastfeeding Advice - updated

I  am re-posting this rather bossy entry on breastfeeding from 2009.

When I started breastfeeding this theory helped me A LOT and has subsequently been linked to helping avoid colic.

Breastmilk changes during a feed, it starts with thirst quenching fore milk and finishes with thicker hind milk. 
Think of each feed as a three course meal, starter, main and a nice rich soporific pudding (no coffee). If you stop after the first or second course, (i.e mid-feed) your baby and breast will start on the first course again at the next sitting. Lots of fore milk = lots of gas = tummy ache. To avoid this, if baby falls asleep on your breast, wake them up gently by stroking their cheek and getting them to feed a little longer; or if they wake hungry after a very short nap continue on the same breast. 
Don’t change breasts during a feeding session. Only when the next feed is due change to the other breast. You’ll get to know when your baby has had their pudding course as they drop into a deep smiley sleep. 

I drank an infusion of raspberry leaf, fennel and cumin which I got from Neal's Yard, religiously every night before bed. My baby didn’t get colic and rarely fussed or cried. (I was very lucky.)

Drink lots of water, eat well, sleep as much as you can, whenever you can.

Having shared stories with many mum's over the past 9 years, here are a couple of things to check for... if your baby is having trouble latching on they may be tongue-tied, this is when the little bit of skin underneath the tongue is tighter than most and prevents them from being able to suck properly. My friend India, did not find out her child was tongue tied until a dentist informed her when he was having a routine checkup - she had been mentally beating herself up for 8 years about not having been able to breastfeed!

Mari and her husband's first baby cried all the time and threw up nearly everything she drank, it turned out she was lactose intolerant, this took nearly a year for them to diagnose, by which time they were two very tired and wretched parents - although they did go on to have another three!

If you want to breastfeed but the milk just isn't coming, don't beat yourself up, get some formula,  go with what works for you, saying that, a newborn baby has a stomach the size of a marble and initially they do not need much from the breast. An interesting fact, breastfeeding for the first six months your baby only needs the same amount from you, whereas if they were on formula they  need to take more as they grow.

If you are able to breastfeed, but are not keen to be tied to it exclusively, you can supplement a bottle at anytime of day, or especially night, this gives you a rest and your partner time to bond. When I say bottle, this can be expressed, but formula is okay too - go with what feels right for you. 

If your baby is crying, a lot, it could be tummy ache, this could be a reaction to the lactose in some formulas (check the ingredients). Or they may not initially be getting to the hind milk in one feed and are never quite sated. Go with the flow and try not to worry too much. 
Love your boobs for their purpose – although I found it quite an alien experience, I'm glad I persevered.

 Another plus pointed bra - it is heaps cheaper, the only thing I bought was a nice pashmina to wear when I was out and needed to feed Erbie. I did not purchase any maternity wear or nursing bras.

Ask for help, watch youtube videos, find a local lactation consultant or breastfeeding clinic and don't forget you are amazing.

I breastfed Erbie exclusively for 6 months and eventually for a year supplemented with solids, as when I attempted to wean him at six months I discovered he was allergic to casein the protein in dairy but that's another story! 

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