Having solemnly promised yourself to breast feed are you suddenly finding it a charm-free zone, not the rewarding special bonding experience you hoped it would be – instead a battle of wills with your body and head thumping.
Don’t dispare. Many first time breast feeders go through this. Your experience is entirely normal and will improve. Remember because your hormones are still settling down, your home routine went to hell in a hand-cart and there’s nappies everywhere it isn’t helping you think rationally about it all.
- Learning to breast feed takes time its an entirely new skill for both of you.
- Forget normal timing structures its going to be a 24 hour day for a while – that doesnt mean you will be awake 24 hours a day but you will need to map your sleeping pattern to you baby’s one. Also it sort of consumes the day – at the beginning I found that hard to deal with then I got into a place in my head where I said -what the heck and it really helped. Then I got to really enjoy the free flowing feeling when the time doesn’t matter – quite so much.
- There is some good housekeeping you can do with your own body. Keep your nipples from getting sore if you can – its not easy and personally I came to the conclusion its a bit like wearing new shoes they rub at first and sort of get better. Purchase appropriate creams before you need them so if you get a sense of soreness you arent waiting 24 hours before reacting.
- If you get mastitis – btw I didn’t know anyone that didn’t!! follow Dr’s instructions don’t ignore it under any circumstance – its one of those conditions that needs addressing and responds well to treatment. It will get better even if it is temporarily agonizing.
- Totally feed on demand – totally – give up on usual home duties – this is honestly for a limited period until you nail the whole routine. My breast feeding councillor told me that we ‘pump out’ the best quality milk middle of the night when mum has been lying down for a while – I decided not to check if that was true or not! It just made me feel so much better about waking in the night – and that was good enough for me.
- Understanding the mechanism of breast-feeding helps: It’s essential to breast feed to make more milk, the more the baby suckles (or you pump) the more milk you make – it sort of sends a message to your brain saying make more milk – therefore the following might happen……….you think you got the feeding nailed and suddenly your baby is up all the time feeding – odds on baby is having a growing spirt and needs you to make more milk, therefore embrace this mega feeding fest as good news – that highly demanding time will pass as your milk supply will increase to reach the new level your baby needs and then baby’s feeding pattern will plateau again …. until the next feeding spirt!
I used to pump at the end of each feed during the growing spurts as a way of encouraging the increase in milk production (yep we called the breast-pump Daisy) it seemed to work for us. Several months down the line – whose laughing – the breastfeeding mums who simply don’t have to pack quite so much clobber when they go on an outing.
If you would like to attend our special sessions about breast-feeding or need one to one advice please contact us.