Breastfeeding tips you wont normally hear

Breastfeeding tips you wont normally hear

 

“I am the roots to your growing tree. For so many months, I’ve been all you need. A sapling so weak will one day be strong. I will help you sweet baby, because I am your mom.”  *unknown

I do not usually follow the trends that happen on Facebook. However, these breast-feeding pictures are just to beautiful to pass on! I’m also in agreement with the breastfeeding movement. Social norms tell us that breastfeeding our babies is almost a shameful thing. Last time I checked most humans have been raised on the tit of a woman… this is nothing new people!! I don’t agree that women should flaunt breastfeeding…meaning if its being done to get reactions, than I feel that person is no better than those that look down on breastfeeding. If a woman is just trying to nourish her baby than that’s a different story! Any how.. that’s my two cents. I’m coming off this band wagon now and moving on to the real task at hand; Breastfeeding!

Back to the breastfeeding pictures taking over Facebook. I feel that these just captures the beauty and depth of breastfeeding. The whole metaphor of roots and trees… There is such a beautiful connection between mom and baby!

Breastfeeding is such an amazing time, though it may come with its challenges; the breastfeeding relationship is so worth a bit of struggle!

Did you know that your breast-milk changes as your baby grows? Even when baby is sick, your milk will change to give baby more of what they need to help baby’s body properly fight that virus. Ah-Maz-Ing!!!

I calculated how long I have nursed and/or pregnant the other day and discovered its been a whopping 12+ years!! There was a 2 month break in between babies # 3 and 4 but other than that its been continuous!! wow!

My first breastfeeding experience was painful and frustrating to say the least.

Anyone who tells you that breastfeeding should not be painful at first is full of Bunk.. or they have never breastfed!! That first baby especially will cause you some pain and probably bleeding. It’s just the way it is! Your nipple will quickly become more callous/tough as baby sucks. So don’t worry, once your through the first few weeks of adjustment, the breastfeeding relationship has potential to last for years and all pain-free… at least until the teeth come in! ?

My first baby started off nursing with no issues. I remember it being rather awkward, but she nursed like a champ. … then my milk came in… Seriously, my breasts were like overfilled balloons!! They stuck straight out at attention like a solder on veterans day, only sideways! Ha! My nipples were non-existent! I mean Gone, totally flat! Trying to get her to nurse was like trying to attach her to the bottom of a large serving bowl!! I squeezed and pumped and showered and cabbage leafed and squished like crazy just to get a hint of a nipple so baby could nurse. Of course you don’t want baby just on the nipple as it leads to hickey’s, cracking and bleeding.. ouch!

Thankfully the engorgement went down a few days later, although it felt like weeks. A beautiful nursing relationship ensued but only after a few weeks of bleeding nipples and clenched teeth! Yikes was it a painful start!

Babies who came after her didn’t result in such extreme milk abundance, thankfully!! In fact my breasts stayed soft and “limp’ish”!

My breasts were soft enough that if I had gauged whether I was producing enough solely on “how full” my breasts felt, I would have been positive I was not producing enough.

Even with solely breastfeeding my twins (babies 5 & 6) I’m finding my breasts look more like the saggy boobs of a 70-year-old woman than that of a thriving feeding vessel for two babies! So do keep in mind that squishy breasts do not necessarily mean empty breasts!!

Proper latch and my breastfeeding hold of choice

It can be pretty darn tricky trying to grasp how it should feel and what a proper latch should feel and look like. Id like to share a couple of tricks that made breastfeeding easier for me with my 6 babies.

This picture shows that you want to get baby to take in the nipple from the bottom. I use to point my nipple up to the ceiling as I have always felt it was more comfortable cradling baby with the arm on the same side baby is nursing on and use my opposite hand to direct and hold my breast. You want to deliberately plop/place breast into baby’s open mouth. Also, baby may need a reminder throughout your breastfeeding journey as they will get lazy and just want to suck on the nipple. You will recognise they are doing this by the stinging sensation radiating from your nipple!

The scissor hold is my favourite hold!

I have to say that I am very surprised that this breast hold is not taught more often when moms are learning to nurse. In fact, I’ve had moms tell me that they were told by nurses/lactation consultants that it was not necessary to hold your breast at all, never mind squish your breast. Though this is true, there are some of us who were not bestowed with perky breasts and nipples pointing forward. This hold will greatly benefit someone like me who have more of a “missile” shaped breasts with nipples pointed down (locked and loaded, just waiting for launch!).

With this hold, I squish my breast slightly to align it with baby’s mouth. I find this works really well, especially when baby is new and their mouth is small. It really enables baby to get a nice deep latch. It may not be as necessary as baby grows and their mouth gets bigger but I find I still use it, especially during lazy latching times.

If you think of it even for yourself. Would it be easier to try to suck on something almost as big as your head and shipped like this “O” ..or something more like this “<>”?

It also keeps the nose clear, especially when they are so little as their little faces get buried in the breast and disrupts nursing.

Mastitis

Your gonna laugh but I learnt this little tip from milking cows.. yep..I understood the concept of milk ducts years before I had my own nursing babies.

I always had this one milk duct on my left side, under the arm pit that would get hard, hot and sore. It got so painful at one point that I started to look for relief. My milking days came back to memory and I came up with this little trick similar to what I used on the cows! When the cows got mastitis it was usually due to their utters not being emptied properly. Of course this is not the only reason and there will be times medical attention is required. However, this little trick may just save you a trip.

Basically you want to regularly feel your breasts, I do a quick swipe of each after every feeding. If you feel one side of your breast is harder than the rest of your breast, this is an indication a milk duct is not emptying properly. That particular milk duct or side of your breast may even feel a little tender; this was always a tall tale sign for me. The sooner you catch this, the more likely you will avoid full on mastitis as it is very important all your milk ducts empty.

When a hard or sore milk duct is found, be sure to place baby on that breast the following nursing. While baby suckles, put a good amount of pressure on the duct for the duration of the feeding. Once baby is done, you should find the duct has emptied effectively.  It is also said that baby’s sucking action is strongest if you point babies nose to the side needing emptying. I personally have never tried this.

I want to touch a little more on the concern of not producing enough.

First off, feed baby on demand. That little person knows when they are hungry, trust your baby! Yes they may eat too much at times but this is how they learn their limits. You have to remember that these sensations of hunger and full are all new so it may take them a little time to understand the different cues. Plus, the worst that will happen is baby will puke. There is many dangers to baby not getting enough, so nurse that baby whenever baby makes a peep. Nursing on demand, even when you think baby cant be hungry, also encourages your milk production. Baby eats too much, throws up, and gives you the added benefit of always producing enough! Trust the natural system of mom and baby bond!

Tips to knowing  baby is getting enough:

  • Is baby swallowing after every suck or two? Good sign they are getting milk!
  • Is baby satisfied after feeding? They will usually get this drunk look on their faces and fall asleep or play contentedly.
  • Be sure latch is good! You know baby is latched well and is sucking at top capacity when your able to follow the movement along baby’s jaw to their ears. A lazy suck will not move the whole jaw.
  • Puking is another good sign in my view! It means the tank is full.. or perhaps too full.. but that is a very good thing in my opinion!
  • Wet diapers.. if it’s coming out the bottom end then there is stuff going in the top end!
  • Avoid soothers. I know this makes life easier, believe me!! However, if you let baby use you as a soother for comfort, baby gets extra nourishment they need to put on weight and has the added benefit of keeping moms milk production at top-notch!! I really believe this is how nature intended things to go!
    • However, there is an exception here.  There are many benefits to not using one.. but the goal here is to keep baby calm, meeting baby’s need for comfort. If you feel your not able to do that at the breast in a moments notice, then please do use one. With my first 3 babies I used them religiously! They had them till they were about 3-5 years old. I felt it was up to them to decide when they were ready to be done. And no, it did not damage their teeth. They did receive the comfort they needed at that time, which is very important to the developing brain of a child!!

One final tip. Barring preemie babies, let baby sleep. It’s not necessary to wake baby to eat. A well rested baby is a hungry,eager, better latching baby.

If your interested in learning more about breastfeeding here are a few links to get you started!experience

Whats in Breast Milk?

Breastfeeding holds

Eating while Breastfeeding

An excellent article on breastfeeding a newborn and what to expect

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