Breastfeeding can be challenging at times but Imagine for one moment the comfort in knowing that you are giving your baby the best start in life, protecting your baby from disease & illness, enabling optimal development. You can do this with ease, comfort & confidence. Believe in the benefits of breast milk, believe in your ability to provide it & believe in Breastfeeding Confidence. Thanks to Lorraine Cuadro IBCLC (international Board Certified Lactation Consultant), here are her 17 Bright ideas for Breastfe:eding for New Mums and the approach you can take to make your journey and the journey of other mums a little easier
It’s natural but that doesn’t mean it’s easy – Often the idea that breastfeeding is natural leads people to think that it should be easy. Someone asked me what I do for work recently, and when I told them that I’m a lactation consultant and I help mums breastfeed, their response was “you mean mums actually need help with that? How hard can it be, its natural isn’t it?” So while breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Breastfeeding is a skill and like any skill it takes practise. Breastfeeding is also a relationship, that means it takes both a willing mum and willing baby to make it work as well as lots of time, patience and support.
Breastfeeding in public is going to help other mums and babies – I realise sadly, that not everyone is comfortable with breastfeeding in public but it’s important to know that every time you breastfeed in public you are helping to make it a social norm. You are also helping another mum or mum to be learn how to breastfeed. Walking is natural, but not easy to master; imagine if a child never saw a single person walk, how would they know how to do it? Many first time mums have never seen a baby breastfeed, many don’t have anyone that can help breastfeeding problems seem normal and solvable instead of meaning its time to buy formula.
You should look for breastfeeding support before you have the baby – While it is near impossible for first-time mothers to think beyond the birth, once your baby is born and is placed on your chest it can be a steep learning curve. This can be especially true if you haven’t been around anyone that has breastfed. It’s a great idea to join a breastfeeding support group like the Australian Breastfeeding Association, La Leche League or become a Breastfeeding Confidence Member http://www.breastfeedingconfidence.com. Here you will find other new mums learning, sharing their experiences, and supporting each other all with the input and guidance of a breastfeeding expert.
It’s really convenient – Studies have shown and many mums will confirm, that after the first 6 weeks when breastfeeding is established breastfeeding is actually much easier and more convenient than feeding artificially. There are no bottles to sterilise or feeds to prepare and you just need to chuck a nappy or two into a bag when you leave the house. What’s more, it is the perfect excuse to sit down and enjoy time with your baby. If you’re stuck in traffic, or something unexpected detains you, you have clean fresh milk on tap at the right temperature ready to go.
You are your baby’s dummy – Dummies are not recommended in the first few weeks because babies may find it difficult to attach to the breast after using them. The way a baby sucks at the breast is completely different to how they suck on a dummy, so introducing a dummy within the first 6 weeks can lead to nipple confusion and painful breastfeeding. Breastfeeding babies often don’t need dummies as you don’t get a better pacifier than the breast, and contrary to what you may often hear, there is nothing wrong with that.
It’s illegal for someone to ask you to stop Breastfeeding in public – Breastfeeding in public is legal anywhere that a baby is allowed to be. So breastfeeding in a bar or in parliament (remember that big uproar a few years ago?) is illegal only because bringing a baby into these environments is illegal. It’s actually illegal for someone to tell you to stop breastfeeding in public. If you feel the need to be discrete and wearing a breastfeeding top will help you feel more confident, check out http://www.highstreetmama.com.au/Tops-and-Knits/breastfeeding_pash_cream
Dads can make or break breastfeeding – Studies show that the more supportive partners are, the longer the mum is likely to continue breastfeeding. Dads can do everything except breastfeeding (although I have seen some YouTube clips to suggest otherwise). Dads are great at bathing, changing nappies, and providing meals for mum so that she can focus on baby and breastfeeding. Supportive words from dad about breastfeeding can also make a huge difference. Talk to your partner before baby arrives so he knows how he can support your breastfeeding relationship. Tell him your “why” for breastfeeding and have him remind you of it.
It’s invaluable when your baby is ill – We’ve all heard that breastfed babies are less likely to get sick, but the antibodies in breast milk will also help your baby fight their illness so that they recover quicker. Babies suffering from a gastro bug are often not able to drink formula or other milk. However breast milk is perfect for them. It’s easily absorbed, it has all the live & beneficial bacteria that will support their gut and it will keep them hydrated.
You’re not a failure if you stop early – Some mums feel very guilty when they don’t reach the targets they had set themselves for breastfeeding. It’s important to take it one day at a time, which can seem less daunting than the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended, and then up to two years in combination with solids. The main thing is to get support early, at the first sign of a problem or pain. Most breastfeeding problems are easily fixed especially if they are caught early. If you are concerned about how breastfeeding is going for you or if you are preparing for breastfeeding you can find support at http://www.breastfeedingconfidence.com and remember, never give up on a bad day.
You might not want to stop – Breastfeeding can be an empowering experience. The beautiful bond you create with your baby, all the while knowing that no one else in the world can do for your baby what you are doing is amazing! This and all the health benefits it brings can make it a hard habit to kick and it can be a difficult and emotional time if baby self weans before mum is ready to let go. In western culture breastfeeding a walking, talking baby isn’t widely seen and so some mums will become closet breast feeders. If you do breastfeed an older child feel proud of yourself, and let others know, it will help normalise breastfeeding and help first time mums see how achievable it is.
Everyone’s an expert – When you a getting married everyone wants to tell you about their wedding, what they loved, what went wrong and what you should do. When you’re pregnant, everyone shares details of their pregnancy and birth. When you’re breastfeeding it’s no different, everyone’s an expert! This is your baby and your breastfeeding journey. Let people around you know how important breastfeeding is to you so that they don’t go on about their bad experiences and list all the reasons of why they had to stop. Surround yourself with people that resonate with you, and empower you without judgement. Feel free to ignore the advice that doesn’t sit right, just smile and nod it away.
Trust your mummy instincts – You and your baby are instinctively tuned in to each other. You see your baby 24/7 so it’s likely that no one will know your baby as completely as you. So while it’s important to listen to your medical professionals, partner, family and friends, trust yourself and your mummy instincts above all. If a health professional gives you advise that doesn’t sit right, get another opinion and keep searching until you find one that you really trust. Your health professionals see your baby for a few minutes at each appointment; they are not hormonally and instinctively tuned in to your baby like you.
Acceptance is Key – Accept that you will be woken every couple of hours and that it can feel like all you do 24/7 is breastfeed. Accept that your house will be messy, meals will be cold, and there will be no more “me” time for a while. While your mum and mum-in-law are most probably dying to babysit, the most helpful thing they can do is your day-to-day chores so that you can focus on your baby and breastfeeding ]. Your baby will grow and become independent very quickly. If you can accept all these things rather than fight them, life will flow more easily as you have taken the struggle out of the equation.
Babies go through different stages – Babies go through different stages, which may affect breastfeeding. Your baby may suddenly refuse the breast, may go from sleeping through the night to waking hourly. Breastfeeding may be going great and suddenly change for what seems like no reason. All these things can be worked through and will pass. Breastfeeding is a relationship and all relationships go through different stages. The best thing you can do is to follow your baby’s lead, feed when they want to feed. Often these changes take place as your baby grows and reaches developmental milestones, so try to hang in there and dig up your support resources.
Doctors and other health professionals are not breastfeeding experts – Many doctors and health professionals are not breastfeeding experts.In fact they are likely to be the first to tell you to introduce formula. Your pharmacy may tell you to wean so that they can boost their sales of formula, bottles, sterilisers etc. It’s a massive business! Question any health professional that tells you to introduce formula and get a second opinion. Babies do not need formula, they need breast milk and no matter what your concerns about breastfeeding, there is always at least one solution that does not involve formula. Search for it and for the health professional that will protect your breastfeeding relationship, not sabotage it.
Breastfed babies put on weight differently – When it comes to weighing, there are a few things you can do each time you have your baby weighed ensure the result you get is a truer indication of your baby’s growth. Ensure your baby is weighed on the same scales, that she is either weighed without clothes or wearing the same outfit. Take note of if she has had a feed, or emptied her bowels before weighing. I have had many concerned mums call me when their clinic has told them to top their baby up with formula without realising that these things can either add or remove a few hundred grams. Remember also that breastfed babies put on weight month to month not week to week.
Your baby is perfect and not up for comparison – Your baby is one of a kind, beautiful, unique and perfect. For this reason I urge you to avoid comparing your baby to other babies. Your baby doesn’t care if the other babies at playgroup are sleeping through the night, rolling over, on solids or crawling and you shouldn’t either. Worrying about what other people’s babies are doing may make you crazy, your baby will get there in due time and at their own pace. So take a deep breath if you’re around someone that likes to compare, and let it go…crawling, sleeping through the night and taking solids too early isn’t always a good thing anyway.
- Lorraine Cuadro from Breastfeeding Confidence is a loving, playful mum to 3 beautiful children aged 9, 7 and 3. She is also a passionate, supportive IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Lorraine takes holistic approach, incorporating your instinct & situation, empowering your decisions. Lorraine offers breastfeeding courses for couples, families, groups; tailored breastfeeding support pre and post birth; private consultations in your home or via Skype; online breastfeeding courses & online support.
- To download Lorraine’s FREE Ebook “Essential Steps to a Beautiful Breastfeeding Relationship” visit www.breastfeedingconfidence.com . Like Breastfeeding Confidence on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BreastfeedingConfidence
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