feeding tips from a certified breastfeeding specialist
mama story contributor: maria, aka little peach
My breastfeeding journey with my two young ladies couldn't be any more opposite ends to the stick than what I have experienced.
My first daughter was born after 36hrs of labour that led to an emergency C- section. Drugged up and feeling overwhelmed, we started our breastfeeding journey and from the beginning, encountered nothing but difficulties. She would not latch, neither would she stay on my breast. All she did do was cry a lot any time she would come close to any breastfeeding position. I went to multiple breastfeeding Cafés and sought professional help from lactation consultants, but none of it worked. I was determined though to provide for her. I had plenty of milk and she would get the best nutrition. So, I started pumping. I pumped day and night, every two hours for 12 long months. With alarms set all the time, I pumped everywhere in airports, toilets, cars, you name it. My little girl took to the bottle like it was the best thing ever and although I was disappointed that we did not breastfeed normally, I am proud that I did what I did for her.
Twenty months later I welcomed my second daughter into this world. A two hour, swift labour and this little pink screaming baby landed straight onto my breast in search for the milk, latched on and has not left my breasts since. I was and still am astonished on how easy and natural breastfeeding can be. I had not known this before due to the hard route we took with my oldest. My youngest daughter, however, can literally feed hanging over my shoulder if she needs to and we have not encountered any difficulties so far.
I have mixed emotions that my first daughter never got the hang of breastfeeding nor could we experience together how amazing it is to have a straight forward breastfeeding experience. Because of it though, I can now empathize with so many women out there regarding that image of perfectly breastfeeding their child yet so many difficulties encountered forced a change in that picture. And, I can now also relate to all the mamas that have a beautiful, simple journey.
Sharing my breastfeeding story and help other mamas along their own is something I am passionate about, so I've come up with several little peaches about breastfeeding basics that milk making mamas may find helpful:
- If you have reached a crossroad in your breastfeeding journey or got off to a rough start do reach out and seek help - not every journey needs to end because you have encountered difficulties.
- Breastfeeding is not just for nutritional support of your growing child: It is a mothering tool, it offers closeness, bonding, dries tears (on both sides, mama and baby), relieves stress, removes anxiety, feelings of over stimulation or tiredness and so much more.
- To establish a healthy breastfeeding relationship, the golden rule is responsive feeding - no schedule or timing, simply offering the breast when you pick up babies feeding cues or even just when you feel like it.
- To establish a great milk supply whilst pumping, the golden rule is to regularly and effectively drain your breast. Meaning pumping in regular intervals (every 2-3hrs) during the day and if you can, during the night. If you can, throw in a power pump: 10 minutes each side then break 10 minutes and repeat to up the amount your are expressing.
- Regardless if you are pumping or breastfeeding, milk production works with a supply and demand rule. If milk is being nursed or pumped, the body will continue to produce milk to fill up the amount removed. Your body will also adjust this amount of milk (supply) depending on how little or how much milk is needed (demand).
- Regardless of what road you took in your breastfeeding or pumping journey, if you have breastfed for a day, a week, a month or a year you all deserve a medal because with your love and care you have grown a little human and YOUR milk has made it!
Maria is an Acupuncturist, Antenatal/Postnatal and Breastfeeding Practitioner and most importantly, a mama of two little girls (2.5 years and 7 months). She lives with her husband and children in the heart of London. Maria is the mama behind Little Peach where she loves to give advice, encourage, support and motivate women daily about breastfeeding and all things baby. More from Maria can be found on Instagram: @littlepeachlondon.