As a midwife supporting your breastfeeding journey is important to me - as a mother I learned that it can be trickier than it looks, I relearned that same lesson as a midwife too. Until just a few short weeks ago Jeremy [my husband and I] hand-baked Lila Jasmine Lactation Bars but before long your love for our bars outgrew what our four hands were capable of - we're so thrilled to have a new version that will keep you well stocked of your favourite flavours all year round. Our lactation product is unlike others available, set apart by it's taste and convenience - individually wrapped for eating on-the-go because we know how busy you are. I know how tricky breastfeeding can be so let me offer 3 tips to support your breastfeeding journey;
- Identify support
- What's normal
- How to produce more breastmilk
IDENTIFY SUPPORT - Take time to identify people in your life who will support you to breastfeed, who will be your cheerleader on hard days. Do some research and find out what lactation services are available in your area - is there a lactation consultant or service you can access, a La Lache League support group even online networks and don't forget about the Breastfed NZ app it's fantastic!
WHAT'S NORMAL - I know "normal" is a funny word because what actually is normal but bear with me. There is an adjustment period when first learning to breastfeed but normally after a couple of weeks the two [or more] of you find your groove. The majority of issues come from an incorrect latch so learning what correct latch and positioning looks like will be your saving grace. Remember that if you cannot count to ten and relax then you need to break the latch and reposition, you do this by inserting you pinky in to the corner of your baby's mouth - resist the reflex to pull your baby off, this will only create more nipple trauma. Knowing that babies feed a lot in a 24 hour period will also help you to realise that what you're experiencing is very normal. They feed 8-12 times in 24 hours, sometimes more. As a midwife I encourage demand feeding which means to feed when your baby shows signs of hunger rather than restricting feeds to a time clock.
HOW TO PRODUCE MORE BREASTMILK - I can almost promise that at some point you will wonder if you have too little milk, it's such a common worry for new mothers. In my midwifery experience the doubt sneaks in when the cluster feeding begins or when your breasts feel "empty". Empty breasts isn't a reliable indicator of low breast milk production, the best indicators that you're making enough milk are - your baby is feeding frequently, there are signs of swallowing, your baby is putting on good amounts of weight, your baby is having lots of wet and dirty nappies and your baby is content. If your baby isn't achieving these indicators then I recommend discussing your concern with your LMC, Well Child Provider, GP or schedule a consult with a lactation consultant.
What we know is that breastfeeding is largely founded on supply and demand, the more your baby feeds, the more breastmilk you will make. There are numerous factors that can diminish supply - positioning is usually the main culprit but stress, anatomy, supplemental feeds, scheduling feeds and a deterioration in mental health are other causes. If you're finding you have a low supply here are some tips to help increase it;
- Frequent feeding - aim for at least 3 hourly
- Switch nursing - this is when you alternate multiple times during a feed
- Power pumping - a technique where you pump after a feed for set times
- Galactagogues -foods or ingredients used to boost supply [our bars!]
- Medication - prescribed by a GP to increase your supply
I hope you find these tips helpful, you're doing amazing!
Photo credit: Black Robin Photography