Breastfeeding! Well let me tell you a few things I learnt along my way. What I learnt through 3 half year of breastfeeding and counting. I am by no means a Lactation Consultant and don’t claim to be, so these are just the tips and trick that I picked up and would love to share in hopes helping others.
I had 2 very different breastfeeding relationships.
My first was riddled with challenges we had to overcome. No skin on skin, bad latch (no latch), nipple shield, supply line, low supply, donor milk – top ups, the whole shebangilang. We made it to 11 months breastfeeding. I am damn proud of that!!
My current journey with my youngest was tough at the start but we are still going 15 months later.
So without further adieu – my top 10 tips to help establish a good breastfeeding relationship.
1 Demand Breastfeeding
BOOB BOOB and BOOB some more. Demand feed that little baby, don’t get caught up in the 3 or 4 hourly feeding schedule …………your little baby needs you, not only for food but also for comfort, or thirst, or just because he/she wants to feel connected and safe. If your baby squirms – put your boob in it’s mouths, if he/she cries – boob. If it stretches Boob………………..awake?? BOOB!
2 Water is Life
Have water stations set up through out the house. I swear to god, every single time I would sit down to feed, my mouth would be as dry as the Sahara desert within seconds and then I’d be in a panic because I desperately needed a drink of water and forgot it in the other room – “HELP, DYING OF THIRST OVER HERE!!”
Let go of your expectations! Expectations of yourself and your house. Don’t expect to be all Martha Stewart and answer the door in full face of make up with hair done perfectly – house clean as a whistle…………..it’s not going to happen, and if it does…………”whats your secret?’
Don’t get too caught up in “weight gain” if your baby is gaining then that is FANTASTIC. DR, midwives and CHN (Child Health Nurse) put a lot of pressure on your baby gaining AT LEAST 30gr a day. All babies are different, and all breastfed babies gain differently. At the end of the day a gain is a gain no matter how big or small it is. (As long as Bub isn’t losing weight you are kicking goals)
5 Wee’s and Poo’s
The best way to know if your baby is getting enough milk is by their “Nappy Output”, are they having enough wet nappies / poos? In the first 24 hours, at least 1 good wet nappy is acceptable, day 2 – 2 wet nappies, day 3 – 3 wet nappies etc until day 5, and from then on if your baby is having at least 5 good wet nappies a day – you are making enough milk. When I say “Good” wet nappy – expect the minimum to feel like the equivalent to 7 Tablespoons of water poured into a nappy.
6 Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is a REAL THING. My babies would cluster feed for up to 6 hours every night for weeks on end. It is a real thing and it’s tough as hell. They are working on your supply, it is imperative you let them cluster feed for as long as your mental health can take. (I set myself 3 hour max after a few weeks because I mentally couldn’t cope)
7 Top ups
If you feel you need to give extra milk – don’t introduce a bottle too early. There are other ways of getting extra milk into your little human, especially before 3 months. Finger feeding. Cup feeding. Syringe Feeding or SNS (Supply line feeding)………WHO suggested alternative milk is listed in the preferred to least preferred as per below;
Mothers Expressed milk
Donated Breast Milk
Don’t fall into the top up wormhole – it can be hard to get back on top of it
8 Nipple Care
Your nipples could hurt at the beginning while getting used to things, but if the latch is correct and the sucking technique is correct it shouldn’t continue to hurt. Breastfeeding is learnt. It’s a new skill that mum and baby both need to learn.
If you are getting damaged nipples, there are a few things you can do;
- Lather your nipple in breastmilk and air those badboys out
- Cool cabbage leaves
- Lanisoh nipple cream
- You can get cool gel shields
- Some hospitals offer laser treatment to promote healing (ASK)
- Give your nipples a rest to heal and pump
- If nothing is helping – it is worth going to a reputable IBCLC or LC to get Bub checked for ties
Surround yourself with people who will support your breastfeeding journey. Educate your partner about the benefits. Educate your family abut the benefits. Educate friends. People don’t know what they don’t know. Find a good support group on Facebook. The 2 below groups are full of information and are so supportive. There is always someone ready to answer a question in the middle of the night when you are struggling the most.
- The Gentle Breastfeeder
- The Australian Breastfeeding Project
10 Ask For Help – Accept Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People don’t know you are struggling if you don’t ask. If you are struggling and none of the above are helping – see an IBCLC (International Broad Certified Lactation Consultant) or a LC (Lactation Consultant)
Contact me if you would like some referrals for IBCLC / LC in Perth. I am more than happy to help.
Image – Cat Fancote
My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.
“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”
If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here
For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here
If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here