Motherhood Mondays: Breastfeeding Tips

Monday 8 December 2014

Hello my lovelies!

I have to say I haven't been able to blog about Baby/Parent/Mummy things as much as I'd like to and the last couple posts have been a welcome break for me to enjoy makeup and reviewing again, seeing as I'm just getting on with the actual motherhood bit haha!

But I've had a couple requests for more baby related posts and I thought I'd feature a Motherhood Mondays post as much as possible, even if it means simply posting a picture.

Since my last post was about Caesarean Staples, I thought I'd follow in chronological order of what I'd blog about next (even though my bubba is now 9 months old!)

Probably the first and most important thing for me after giving birth was breastfeeding; I am so pro breastfeeding, not only after the antenatal classes but especially after studying Human Nutrition and the human body; the benefits are endless and I knew I wanted to breastfeed no matter what.

For those who think its a simple process and comes "naturally", I'd say the reality can be far from it and it takes a lot of work!  
Here are 10 tips/things I learned (some, the hard way):

1) Latching on  
Initial latching on can be painful; no matter how many midwives you confirm with, it's better to see an actual breastfeeding specialist in a class (if available to you) as they are a lot more supportive and helpful. Trying different positions helps and I found using cushions very helpful!

2) Creams & Pads  
Lansinoh was my favourite brand for nipple cream as well as breast pads; I tried a few other branded breast pads but these were by far the best! Can be bought from Boots, John Lewis, Mothercare.
[The best prices I found for the cream is £6.66 and for the breast pads £3.66 for reference].

3) Determination / Mentor
Breastfeeding requires determination, so I would say if you want to breastfeed, buddy up with someone who can push you when you feel like stopping (and believe me, there's so many times you feel like giving up).
I was lucky enough to have a family member to lean on at all sorts of hours who had recent experience herself and I would recommend the same for anyone else as it's still fresh in their heads (mums/aunts/grandmothers may have forgotten the struggle).

4) Eating/Drinking Well  
You have to keep your own nutrition up, but also bear in mind you have to be careful what you're eating as it affects the little one's stomach; you don't want to eat something too acidic or gassy or spicy for instance, but at the same time, you're pretty much using energy to turn food into milk, so you need to eat as many calories as you can and of course a lot of milk ideally. I found chocolate milkshakes did the trick for me and also somehow kept me awake for the many night time feeds!

5) Immunity  
Seeing as your chest is out a lot whilst feeding and your immunity is low, you can expect to get ill fairly frequently; so continue taking Pregnacare/pregnancy vitamins to try and keep on top of your vitamins and minerals.

6) Midwives
Some can be awesome, so ask as many questions as you can, but some can make you feel like giving up and formula feeding. Whilst I have nothing against formula feeding, I do think that it's worth pushing breastfeeding exclusively as much as you physically can, for as long as possible, purely because the health benefits for your baby supersede formula feeding massively.. I could write a post or even a book on breastfeeding benefits alone!

7) Expressing 
I started hand expressing but would wholeheartedly recommend an electric pump as it saved time and felt a lot more comfortable/no pain.
I used the Medela Swing, bought from John Lewis (also available at Boots and Mothercare) and it was probably the best breastfeeding product for me.
It can be disheartening expressing sometimes, because unfortunately it's not an accurate estimate of what your baby is drinking, but expressing is a great way to top up for night feeds rather than formula, or to give yourself a break at night time (and breastmilk lasts longer than formula).

8) Bottles 
The only ones I can recommend in conjunction with breastfeeding are the ones that require baby to suck as they do with breastfeeding. I came across the Haberman Suckle Feeder bottles at a baby show and was so impressed, I never bothered to try any other bottle (aside from Mam for feeding water).
Every bottle claims they're "anti colic" but I swear this one actually works as the filter works to get rid of air bubbles, as well as the fact that it allows the baby to control it's own drinking flow without any overflow or spluttering. It was tricky to get my bubs to understand the bottle at first but I'm glad I persevered because he's able to switch from bottle to breast and vice versa.

9) Breastfeeding Cover
When you're out an about, the last thing you want is a hungry screaming baby, so I would definitely recommend the Bebe Au Lait breastfeeding covers (also available at John Lewis, Boots and Mothercare. You can of course use a large muslin cloth or scarf (or express) but the reason why I think the Bebe Au Lait is worth it is because the neckline has a curved semi rigid band in it so you can see directly down at baby (and them up at you) as well as letting air in, but without anyone seeing from any angle. It also has a bit of towelling on the corners and a pocket which are cute and handy features. 

10) Relax
Finally, the best tip that I could give (and try to still give myself) is - relax! Stressing in any form is not helpful at all for milk production (not to mention the stress hormones affect baby), so it's best to just switch off as much as possible and enjoy baby-mummy time, especially as exclusively breastfeeding is only around 6 months! <3

I know I probably haven't covered half as many things as I could have regarding breastfeeding, but feel free to email me if you have any questions or comment below if you have any tips of your own!
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