We’ve all heard the multiple benefits of breastfeeding, both for mom and baby. If you’re considering it, I do recommend you to try and see how it goes. You might end up loving it like me J
In this article, I am going to share my breastfeeding experience and tips.
For me, breastfeeding has always been pretty challenging: as much as I’ve desperately wanted it to be smooth sailing, I had issues with my 1st two babies: they didn’t latch on to the breast very well, they didn’t transfer enough milk and they didn’t gain enough weight… which meant that I had to supplement. How? By using a breast pump to express milk, save it and give it to the baby in a bottle. What started being a supplement, quickly turned into the norm (as both babies quickly started rejecting the breast, because they knew “easy-peasy bottle dessert” would always follow) and I ended up exclusively pumping for 9 months.
With my 3rd baby, I assumed I would have the same journey… but tried to start fresh and open-minded. To my surprise, baby Max latched onto the breast really well and started sucking right after birth. As I am writing this, he’s 7 weeks old, exclusively breastfed and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience. There are a few things I’ve done differently this time around to enable my “3rd time is the charm”.
- It’s all about the latch. The baby needs to nurse efficiently. Baby’s mouth needs to be wide open and lips need to be flare out, like a fish mouth. The baby’s mouth needs to cover the whole (or most of the) aureole. If this is not the case, you’re wasting your time and you’ll get very sore nipples. Don’t wait and see. Break the latch and try again.
- Breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. The more milk is extracted, the more milk is produced. This means that sometimes the baby will be hungry at the breast and you’ll have the feeling you’re completely empty: the baby will fuss and you’ll get frustrated (this does not only happen during growth spurts). You’ll cry. It’s ok. Persist. The baby sucking on an empty breast is going to tell your body to produce more milk. After a few minutes, you’ll have a new let-down. As tempting as it is, try to resist the urge to give the baby a bottle, because this will disrupt the supply-demand dynamic. Patience is the word. If you get crazy, email me for moral support.
- To boost your supply, feed more frequently. After trial and error, I’ve learned that feeding more often is more effective than feeding longer sessions.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Especially before breastfeeding, have 2 full glasses of water. Keep hydrating during the day, as much as you can. Even if you’re not thirsty.
- Do not diet. As soon as I start reducing my calorie intake, my milk supply drops dramatically. Losing baby weight will have to wait. At least until milk supply is well established (6 weeks minimum), make sure you maximize nutrition: including healthy protein, carbs and fats. Warm meals are best to help you heal after birth and produce milk.
- Rest as much as you can and be calm. Being a 3rdtime mom and with 2 toddlers running around, this is the most challenging one. But if you’re tired or tense, you won’t produce as much milk. So if you’re struggling with milk supply, find a way to take naps during the day and find a quiet place to nurse.
- Moisturize your nipples all the time, especially during the first 2 weeks until your skin becomes thicker. I use Motherlove nipple cream.
- Protect your nipples from rubbing with clothes and staining your bra. I use Medela Softshells, which also helps me save the milk that leaks from my breasts when I am not feeding or when I nurse on the other breast. I collect that milk in the fridge and then freeze it to stock up for when I am not around.
- Certain foods will help you boost your milk supply. Oats, brewer’s yeast are very effective. My favorites are:
- Oatmeal: make it yourself with your favorite toppings.
- Totum Treats lactation cookies
- Boobie Bars lactation bars
- As controversial as this might be, black beer works amazing for me. I was reluctant to take alcohol while breastfeeding (I am not an alcohol person anyway) but my OB/Gyn recommended Guinness beer for milk supply and I must say it truly works. When I feel I need an extra help, I drink half a bottle with a meal.
- Herbal supplements. There are some very effective supplements that will help you boost your supply, they are called galactagogues. I’ve tried and tested lots of them and my favorites are:
I really hope those tips are useful to help you with your breastfeeding journey.
Good luck mama! Remember: you’re not alone. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions or need some loving support.
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