My Breastfeeding Story + Tips & Products

By Baby Village on 17 December 2018

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week this year we've assembled some tips and products that we trust will help improve your chances for breastfeeding success. We’d also love you to share your breastfeeding story with us on Instagram tagging #wbw2018, I hope you enjoy mine!

My Story:

I've been lucky enough to be able to breastfeed successfully, but I'm not going to sugar-coat it, as a new Mum I found the transition to breastfeeding quite traumatic & confusing, and something I feel I could've prepared for better.

After a smooth pregnancy, I thought breastfeeding would be relatively intuitive; sure, I'd heard about "milk coming in" but I didn’t really know what that meant I would experience physically, nor did I realise there were several phases we’d go through in those first few days, and how important getting the right assistance would be.

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I couldn't have done it without the guidance and support of the fantastic team of Midwives at my side, both in hospital and during our transition to home (through the Price of Wales Little Luxuries program). The first connection between baby and breast was magical, and cause for our little family to celebrate. As I soon learned, my little one was feeding on colostrum, in small amounts (as he had a very tiny tummy) and very often, separated by lots of lovely sleeps. I will say though, “assistance” comes in all forms, and we had some very hands-on experiences!
 
At this time (our first day or two), I was advised to continually switch feeds from left to right to ensure both breasts started producing. (The Midwives were also very strict on me keeping a record of this, which to be honest I wasn’t great at!) I continued with this pattern and after a couple of days was surprised when my new Midwife asked me if I was draining each side before moving on? Was I getting to the hind milk? No, I wasn’t… and, what is hind milk?... These are the kinds of things I wish I’d known, and these are the two articles I wish I’d read beforehand: Preparing for Breastfeeding & Breastfeeding: The First Days. Our friends at Medela support breastfeeding and have a fantastic blog with answers to some of the less known/obvious questions, as well as some real life “Mum’s Journey” accounts, check it out here.

Once we got a bit of a routine established, I had a few more hurdles before we were in the clear and on our way to happy and successful breastfeeding. There was the day where my boobs went rock hard and uncomfortably hot – I raced over to the Midwives station in tears for help! She produced two frozen newborn nappies that had been soaked with water and told me to shove them into my bra. Then when I felt a bit more comfortable, she recommended I hand express a bit of milk so as my new bub could actually make a connection with my nipple without being bounced right off! Luckily, we own a Baby store and I promptly sent hubby off to get some breast soothers which I could reuse and take home with me!

I also had a day where I just wasn’t myself. I was lucky enough that Cathy was my Midwife that day, she was a really great sounding board, and among other things, diagnosed me with grazed nipples – she recommended I use hydrogel pads in between feeds – so I added those to the shopping list. Cathy is also a Lactation Consultant and offers her fantastic services in the comfort of your own home with the support of your family Milk & Mums Co.
 
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I’m happy to say that five months on, my little man and I are still happily breastfeeding. It’s so convenient, (let’s face it, I don’t recall a time where I left home and forgot to take my boobs with me!) and free, which is also a blessing.

Along the way we've introduced bottle feeding for expressed and stored breastmilk as there've been times I’ve had to leave Bub at home and go out. As I only express every now and then, (but wanted a quick and convenient solution for when I did need to), I chose the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump. It’s designed for light, occasional use and has been perfectly suited for me.
 
We’re just about to start introducing some solids into Bub’s diet, but I’m happy to say we’ll keep breastfeeding as the health benefits for Bub are just too good to give up! Plus, there’s nothing like looking down and seeing that lovely connection we have.
 

My Tips:

  • Get your position and attachment right from the start. Experiment with different positions; what might work on one side may not be comfortable on the other. Try out different chairs and pillows, props etc until you both feel comfortable and supported.

  • Be prepared to nurse frequently. Breasts work on supply and demand; the greater the demand, the more milk will be produced.

  • Did you know that your breastmilk replenishes while you sleep? So it’s really important to have at least one nap during the day, otherwise like me you might find you get to the end of the day and you’re running on empty – which means it’s going to be harder for your little one to sleep on an empty tummy.

  • Track your feeding. It’s easy to forget which side you last fed on, or how long you fed for, and until you’re confident about your routine, using an app like the MyMedela App can be really helpful (it also tracks sleep and nappy changes). Once I started to see a pattern, I could better plan my day, especially if we needed to go out, I knew how the long the window was and I could plan ahead to find a quiet, comfortable place to feed and change bub.

  • Drink LOTS of water! And, did you know the average breastfeeding Mum needs an additional 500 calories per day! Yay – bring on that mid-morning Brownie!!

  • Relax! I would get so tense trying to make sure I was doing all the right things that my shoulders were a hunched mess by the end of the first week.

  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association has lots of great resources to assist you, from a free breastfeeding helpline and online forum, to little books you can download packed full of helpful advice.

  • Know there are products to support you, see below!

 

Products I suggest:

If you're a new mum like me, there are really only two things you need for a successful start to breastfeeding – your baby and your breast. There are no extra products or services needed in the beginning, what you decide to add to make your life easier, more comfortable & convenient is up to you. Here are my suggestions:

  • A breastfeeding pillow provides firm and contoured support for both you & bub (the pillow for your head does not!)

  • Breast care is essential, whether you need Nipple Shields (which can assist with inverted nipples), Hydrogel Pads to relieve grazed or cracked nipples (yes, that’s a thing), specially designed soother pads which can be heated or cooled (depending on what your breasts are doing that day!) or breast pads to protect your bra from getting drenched (trust me it happens) they’re all right here.

  • A breastfeeding cover may make you feel more comfortable and confident about breastfeeding outside the house. I also found it really handy to get my little one off to sleep when we travelled recently.

  • A breast pump can come in handy for a variety of reasons, you might have to go back to work, your partner might be on night shift, or you may just be a great milk producer and want to save all that extra milk for later! There are myriad options from hand pumps to double-breast electric pumps (great for saving time or if you’re a mum of twins!). Your specific needs will determine which pump you need; when choosing to complement breastfeeding, it’s important to maintain your milk production & select a pump that will support your required usage. At Baby Village, we will assist you in determining the right breast pump & accessories for you & your baby.

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I hope you’ve found this information useful. If there’s anything you’d like to share with other soon-to-be, new, or experienced breastfeeding Mums, please leave a comment below!
Jess x

     

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