Breastfeeding Sucks! (at first)
Breastfeeding is one of the hardest things you will do as a new mum. That and learning how to function on very little sleep. It is worth persevering though, not only for the additional health benefits for you and your child but because, believe it or not, you will one day enjoy it. When your toddler has no time for cuddles, the only time they might sit still is for those night-time feeds. Yep, welcome to the dichotomy of motherhood!
In the meantime…
Here Are Some Tips from the Author of Breastfeeding Made Easy
Geraldine Miskin, author of Breastfeeding Made Easy gives her tips on breastfeeding below.
“Help is out there and mums shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. A crucial point that is often overlooked, and which is very important for mums to understand, is the fact that it is the babies who breastfeed whilst mums make milk. Another point is that supply is driven by drainage, not demand. The more your baby drains from the breast, the more you will produce, so ensuring that your little one is able to feed well is vital to an enjoyable breastfeeding experience.”
Geraldine’s top tips:
1 If you are currently an expectant or breastfeeding mum, it is important to know that the more time you spend on skin to skin contact with your baby, the more time he’ll have to figure out what he needs to do. There is no rush to get him into a routine or into his crib; the best place for him is with you.
2 Your baby’s position in the womb is something you have no control over and yet it often has a direct bearing on how your baby is birthed and delivered. More interestingly I have found that baby’s position in utero can influence how well your baby is able to latch and transfer breast milk soon after birth. Work with your baby to get a good latch and if you need a little extra help, ask for it.
3 Your body produces colostrum (milk) in readiness for baby’s arrival by week 16 of pregnancy, so you do have colostrum available from birth. Your baby’s stomach is only the size of a Malteser when born, so he only needs teeny amounts of milk. Be confident that you’ll produce what your baby needs, even if it feels like there is nothing in your breasts.
4 The pivotal point to breastfeeding is repeatedly missed and this is something I need all mums to know. Your baby breastfeeds, not you. When breastfeeding is tricky or not going well regardless of how beautifully you position or help him at the breast, it’s not your fault. You and baby work together as a team and as you get to know each other better, you’ll be more in tune and things will fall into place more easily.
5 In order to feed well, your baby needs to get a good amount of breast tissue when latching. This encourages him to suckle and enables him to transfer colostrum. If your baby is stiff or tight after birth, you may find that he only does a small mouth when latching. Try shaping your breast in line with baby’s smile, so that he can get a better grasp of your breast.
6 You are your baby’s world so it is no surprise that as your baby feeds and his stomach fills up, he falls asleep. To keep baby awake, massage the breast during the feed. This creates milk flow and will keep baby awake and suckling more efficiently for longer.
7 Get help if you feel that something is not right. If you need help, speak to one person, so that you get consistent advice and avoid confusion with conflicting advice.
8 Trust your instinct and be true to yourself. If the advice you are given does not feel right or doesn’t work for you, it is not right. You are your baby’s expert and whilst we professionals have a lot of experience, we recognise that your input is invaluable.
9 Remember that a bumpy breastfeeding start is as normal as a smooth start. Your baby may just choose to take the scenic route to established breastfeeding but you will both get there in the end.
East End Kids Says:
Don’t suffer in silence. Visit the links below for a range of local drop-ins led by highly skilled health professionals. Get some help with latching on and persevere when painful at first as it WILL get easier.
Have your nipple cream at the ready and apply it at the end of each day. Take good care of your boobs. When your baby is sleeping, treat them to a hot shower or microwave a wet towel (cool before applying) and a massage to break up blocked ducts. Massage your breast from the chest wall to the nipple while warm. If you experience any soreness after feeding, use a cold compress. Watch out for signs of mastitis, be kind and nurture yourself during this journey.
Breastfeeding in East London – Further Information
La Leche League East London: https://www.laleche.org.uk/supportgroup/la-leche-league-east-london/