Before breastfeeding many of us are ill-educated.
When your breastfeeding journey finally begins, it can be the most exhilarating and profound moment, or harrowing and filled with expectation and fear. If only breastfeeding was focused on more during pregnancy for women. It almost seems left up to chance to even work.
Well what if chance was something we could improve upon before breastfeeding begins?
Having breastfed 2 beautiful boys (2012-2015), I got to thinking.
What would I have liked to have known? I would have loved something I could reflect upon when those tricky moments show up.
Breastfeeding can work so well for some mamas from the get-go, but for others (which I was one) it is a practice to learn WITH your beautiful little person.
My plan is that this article may make your learning, just that little bit easier.
So here it is.
7 things I wish I knew before breastfeeding.
1. Baby needs their neck to be a little extended – have you ever tried to swallow with you face tilted down? So much trickier than when your face is slightly up, that’s why they say nipple to nose
2. When they punch you in the breast or pull at the nipple they are working for the let-down. They might even yell at your breast. They know what they are doing the funny little critters but it can look like crazy behaviour to a new mama.
3. How unbelievably worthwhile a lactation consultant (LC) can be. Get in early for the tips. I waited 2 weeks. It was 2 weeks of stress-mania trying to latch my baby. They can really decompress the whole tension thing that is inevitable with breastfeeding challenges
4. That nipple shields can be awesome for full breasts while your breasts settle down in the first 8 weeks. Especially if your boobs are like swollen watermelons! (they stick to the skin really well with cooled kettle water). I was completely ignorant to this. But that wonderful LC knew what might help. Perfect (for me).
5. Be guided by your milk supply by baby weight gain, and not guided by a baby crying making you think you have insufficient milk supply – this one is a huge problem with early weaning when mums think they haven’t got enough. I just had to ride out those early stages of unpredictability and let my body learn, and hug my baby. Babies really do cry. But it’s not always that they are hungry. Be guided by weight.
6. 5mls of expressed colostrum is an awesome amount – and wow, baby did sleep.
7. Calming a baby at the breast will not make them dependent on you – in fact may create a greater sense of security for them. This is huge if you experience THOSE people that hover and say “you’re going to spoil that baby”. You wont. Be the mum that provides a secure and safe place for this little person trying to get to know their new world.
I wish you well on your journey and hope you are fulfilled with the outcome. And remember if you think you are struggling, as lonely a place as it might feel, there is a system set up to support you but YOU need to be the oe to reach out!
Dr Katie Willy
Osteopath & Your Two Jugs Co-Founder
As a mother of 2 boys, Katie has both personal and professional experience with breastfeeding challenges, having had mastitis twice, blocked ducts, engorgement, & a user of nipple shields due to difficulties latching her first baby. Her challenges provided ample motivation to understand more about human breast anatomy and structure far beyond the milk-making lobes. Her passion to help other women with their breastfeeding issues led to the development of a protocol for her clinic to treat women in need with similar breastfeeding experiences that Katie had, which she and her team have been doing in her Osteopathic clinic in Melbourne Australia for the past 6 years.