As I prepare for the birth of my third child, I’ve started mentally preparing myself for all the joys and challenges that go with the breastfeeding experience.
My first child was born in the Middle East in Dubai where modesty and respect of the Muslim culture was required. I was unsure how breastfeeding in public would be perceived given this, but I need not to have worried as to my surprise it was greatly supported and you are encouraged to feed your baby to at least 2 years of age.
When my breastfeeding journey began I loved the closeness and calmness of it all. It was such an amazing bonding experience and after an emergency c-section birth I felt like I owed him opportunity and wanted to do sometime ‘natural’. However, getting started was not so calming or beautiful. It was at times difficult and frustrating for both of us. I am one of those mother’s that seems to have an abundance of milk! I might have difficulties giving birth to my children but boy can I feed them once they are out and I fed Julius to 13 months.
With my second child Charlotte, I again had a good supply but with that can come its issues….
Picture a sprinkler shooting off a hose due to too much pressure – well that’s how my little ones experience feeding for first few weeks! There was choking and spluttering and ultimately tears. This often lead to poor attachment, blocked milk ducts and a great deal of emotional stress in those early days.
This is where my Medela breast pump became essential in my breastfeeding journey. Whether it was expressing some of the milk initially to make the ‘let down less strong’ or pumping the remaining milk after a feed to prevent blocked milk ducts. Having ‘back up’ milk in the freezer was always handy as well.
So my message to new ‘mum to be’s’ is, although there is a lot said about low milk supply the opposite can actually occur and it just goes to show that everyone’s breastfeeding experience is different and that is completely normal. My best advice for mums planning on breastfeeding is as follows:
Stay hydrated: This is really important, especially in summer and really helps with supply.
Eat well: Don’t diet!! Producing nutritious milk takes energy and I’ve seen friends cut out the bad fats and good fast out of their diet in an attempt to lose weight and it has impacted on their milk.
Feed on demand: This can be a huge adjustment as a new mum and it involves the realisation that time is no longer yours control. But it won’t last forever so hang in there.
Rest: Breast feeding takes a lot of energy to produce, so you need your sleep. I know it is temping to get some household jobs done but rest and your body will thank you for it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Breastfeeding is hard to get used too in a lot of cases. So if you’re struggling, just ask for help.
Medela provides real solutions for breastfeeding mothers to get over any hurdles in the early days and to support their long term breastfeeding goals. Through its extensive range of breast pump products and other breastfeeding products, Medela is committed to promoting the benefits of breast milk and encouraging long term breastfeeding. For more information visit: www.medela.com.au I www.facebook.com/medela.au