As we have been celebrating World Breastfeeding Week I thought I would share some amazing bits of information I wish I had known when I began breastfeeding Aoife. 20 months in and I have learnt a lot but those first few months were a massive learning curve!
“World Breastfeeding Week is a vibrant global movement for action to promote, protect and support breastfeeding by anyone, anywhere and at anytime. It expands and connects the power of one with the power of many. Only by working together can we make the change we need” – Dato'(Dr.) Anwar Fazal, Chairperson Emeritus, WABA and Director, Right Livelihood College.
My first tip is one that I feel is very important, particularly from a personal point of view.
1. Arm yourself with as much reputable information as you can. Visit breastfeeding support groups during pregnancy and be aware that some healthcare professional will have varying levels of experience and knowledge on breastfeeding. From my personal experience it varies from each person. But I had midwife in hospital that was very quick to shove (what I now know were unnecessary) artificial milk top ups down my newborn daughter!
2. Little and often for feeds their tummy is only tiny. The first day a baby’s stomach is only about the size of a cherry and by about 10 days only the size of an apricot.
3. Every baby is different. Try not to get into a habit of comparing your baby to another.
4. Make sure you have plenty of drinks lined up before a feed starts! Breastfeeding is thirsty work!
5. Cluster feeding is normal! It can happen at any point during a 24 hour period but don’t worry that something is wrong if baby begins to feed for a few hours on end. They are getting their orders in!
6. When it comes to pumping it is advised to wait until at least after the first 6 weeks as this tends to be around the time milk supply regulates. If expressing using a breast pump before 6 weeks you run the risk of building an oversupply (you’re breasts make more milk than needed). Also don’t worry too much if you don’t respond too well to a pump. It does not necessarily mean you have no milk. Babies are much more efficient at getting to the milk they want!
7. Don’t give up on a bad feed. A better feed is so often around the corner. I had to remind myself this often in the early days. I fed through cracked nipples and discomfort (thanks to what I now know was a shallow latch!) Through sheer determination. And think there are a few others out there the same! It will get better!
8. Make yourself aware of your baby’s feeding cues. Crying is the last sign to be looking for. You need to get to baby before that if possible as it will make the beginning of the feed easier! First cues to look for often include rooting towards the breast, sticking tongue out, hands going towards mouth and making little noises.
Also as a bonus tip. I always liked to remind myself that milk production is like a river. Always flowing.
Thank you for reading!