Let me preface this by saying I am not one of those people who criticises women who publicly breast feed. In fact I was always a little bit jealous of those who found it so easy just to pop their bub on their breast and continue their conversation whilst sipping a latte. The honest truth of the matter is that I just couldn’t.
My Sister-in-Law said recently that she only really knew about issues with attachment, prior to having her own breast-feeding journey. Reflecting on this, its not an unusual experience, given as pregnant first time Mums, our learning and thought processes really centred around giving birth. Apart from the material aspects of setting up a nursery, I confess I didn’t give too much thought about how the breast-feeding thing would work. I just assumed I’d pop them on and away we’d go, right? FICTION!
So I now know, through my experience, and that of those around me, that breast feeding has a whole heap of challenging elements; biological, emotional and physical.
The common ones include:
- Fast flow – some people are blessed with an abundance of milk, which was my case. In the early days I could express 125 ml of liquid gold in under ten minutes which is almost outta control. It caused my bubs to get lots of wind because the flow was so fast (think sculling a glass of champagne, sounds good in theory not so much fun in practice).
- Slow or no flow – the toughest of all situations is where the Mum’s body does not produce enough Milk to sustain the baby. Mums will often pump to increase the flow, and supplement with a bottle. A huge heartbreakingly long process with triple the workload for a new Mum under pressure.
- The Hold – ‘Just hold it like a hamburger’ the Lactation Nurse said. What the? I Googled it. I watched other Mums. Eventually I got the hang of it. It does take a while for the grip to come naturally and to be able to connect anatomically with your bub.
- Breast size – my instinct is that smaller is easier. Boob size does not in any way impact the ability to produce milk. It does affect how you feel about feeding in public. I was an F Cup when I fed my daughter. A G Cup feeding my son - F and G for ‘Freaking Ginormous’ and I was massively uncomfortable in every respect. Enough said.
- Tongue tie – that little piece of skin between the bottom of your mouth and the tongue can be too short to facilitate good attachment. Your GP or Maternal health nurse should be able to pick it up early on, and its one of the factors to consider if bub isn’t putting on weight initially. The procedure is done in less than a minute in the Dr’s office and healing is really quick.
- Baby strength – some bubbies, particularly premmie or small bubs, have to get a little bigger to have the strength to suckle. Initially, what can take more than an hour, becomes a 10 to 15 minute feed down the track.
Having struggled through the first few days I did go to the Lactation Clinic, aka Boob School, for some tough love and one-on-one tutoring. It helped. As my babies got bigger, it became easier. We both got more confident.
Whatever the feeding situation, I think our role as Mums needs to be one of absolute support and encouragement for new Mums. Those first few months are so excruciatingly hard, new Mums need nothing but warmth and kindness, however they choose to feed. It’s imperative that Mums be nurtured, especially during this early phase. Please share this article with anyone you know who might be currently pregnant, or early on in their feeding journey.
The Little Minx Busy Boobs Survival Kit centres around this premise and is designed to support feeding Mums when they most need a hand. The water bottle, which is essential for hydration, is designed to be used single-handed and is leak proof. I’ve included my best recipes in there with Muesli, Fenugreek and Fennel seed that are said to aid in breast-feeding. Our ice packs will help sooth the pain, and Lansinoh is the nipple cream that people raved unanimously about in our survey.
#fedisbest #queensunite #freakingginormous
Spot on - just what I needed!
I drank this Tea religiously when I was feeding, not only did it help my never-ending thirst but also seemed to help with my supply. Win-win.
Lansinoh is Fabulous and effective nipple cream. It soothes and cools cracked and sore nipples. I wouldn’t have been without it when I was nursing.