Breastfeeding Success – what helped me!
“Are you breastfeeding” is a question asked by Midwives, Doctors and Consultants at every prenatal appointment during pregnancy. It was the first thing they asked me, as if you might have changed your mind since the last appointment. So I presumed it was an easy, natural option for my first baby but I was so unprepared that I ended up with cracked, bleeding nipples which ultimately forced me to give them a break to heal. Unfortunately my milk was very much gone once they healed a few days later.
So I presumed it was an easy, natural option for my first baby but I was so unprepared that I ended up with cracked, bleeding nipples which ultimately forced me to give them a break to heal. Unfortunately my milk was very much gone once they healed a few days later.
I felt awful, what did I do wrong, I missed the boat, and ultimately felt like a failed giving my baby the best nutritional building blocks. As a nutritionist I knew how important it was for gut health, the key to a healthy body, so I really felt guilty.
At no point did any doctor, midwife or consultant provide information on what may happen or how to make a success of breastfeeding. It seemed like they just wanted to tick a box to show good stats for their hospital on breastfeeding. I had attended the breastfeeding workshops too, and learned what a good latch looked like, but not how important it was to keep your nipples crack free and well oiled to ensure successful breastfeeding.
So on my second pregnancy I decided I was going to own it, and make a success of breastfeeding, fully aware of where I fell down last time.
Here is what worked for me:
–Preparation was key to success this time. Buy what you need for keeping those girls healed and happy. Start from day 1 in hospital as by the time you are discharged it may be too late to salvage cracked, sore nipples from a bad latch or tongue tie.
–Breastfeeding Bras are essential, I got mine from H&M online but have yet to find sexy nice ones.
–Breastfeeding friendly clothes
Having breastfeeding friendly clothing means you can feed anywhere, anytime. Again H&M were great but if you think creatively you can get normal clothes that are already breastfeeding friendly. Think dungarees and wrap dresses or shirts. Buy online and get them delivered before your due date, remember you will be bigger than your usual pre pregnancy size, so add a size or two onto your pre pregnancy size for comfort. The last thing you want to do is make yourself feel horrible by buying clothes you thought you should be fitting into. It takes a while for your body to heal and get back to normal, so give it time and comfort.
–Breast Massage Oil
I picked up a gorgeous oil from Weleda to relax the breast and encourage milk flow. The oil was amazing for massaging out any clogged milk ducts and encouraging milk supply. It also smells wonderful!
–Silverette Nursing Cups
These silver cups heal the nipple tissue and help prevent mastitis and cracked sore nipples.
They were my saviour throughout. In the beginning the nipples naturally do become cracked and sore, once i used these in between feeds for 24hours it had healed the skin.
You can discreetly wear them inside your bra in between feeds. They are deer however, at around 50euro but they are miracle workers and worth their weight in gold. I got mine from Earthmother.ie here.
–Reusable Breast Pads
Great for keeping the breastfeeding bras bacteria free and they keep the breast nice and comfy in any bra. They also give you peace of mind that no leakage will occur. I found Boots own brand very reasonable on the pocket and easy to wash.
To Encourage Milk Flow
A good range of these on the market, so lots of choice out there to suit your budget. I found this brand great when I had hyperemesis during both pregnancies, so I knew their supplements were superb. The main herb in this supplement was fennel, great for milk flow, a great option for those who can’t stomach fennel tea.
Very important to take a multivitamin that supports your breastfeeding. There is no point having a nice car with no petrol in the tank so to speak.
Some brands have put together some wonderful blends of herbs that encourage milk flow. Fennel as I mentioned already is a fantastic herb for this. Puka do a blend here called “Motherkind Baby”, which works for me anytime I drink it. It gives me a zing feeling in my nipples, so amazing.
There are great options out there, including the market dominated Lansinoh. I used Lansinoh before and found it fine, but extremely expensive. I tried MooGoo’s Udder Cream and found it worked very well, and contained 100% natural ingredients. I have this travel size version in my handbag anywhere I go, as it always brings instant relief if my baba is too enthusiastic on my nipples !
Keeping your nipples moisturised or oiled before bed really makes a difference to the comfort of the suck, for the mama. Just be sure that the oil or moisturiser is edible for baba.
–Breastfeeding Night Light
Having instant light when you are doing night feeds is essential. Having a light that is soft enough not to fully wake your baby will ensure they feed but are aware it is night time, so should go back to sleep easily enough. A friend recommended this Meelight to me, and I can honestly say it was a game changer for me. It clips onto your bra or pjs so you can see what you are doing. It has 3 light option strengths and it has no click on or off sounds which I found invaluable. There is nothing worse than having your baby asleep and pressing off a light or white noise device only to wake the baby, grrrr. The light charges very quickly and lasts quite some time on each charge. I got mine from Bellababy here.
So there you have it, all of these factors have made this breastfeeding journey successful and more importantly enjoyable.
If you are starting your journey I hope these help, but also remember not to be too hard on yourself. My baby has an enormous appetite so I need to supplement with some formula also and that’s ok. Fed is best, so don’t be bullied into feeling you have to solely breastfeed if the milk is small or not enough.
Have you found anything special that helped you on your breastfeeding journey?