11 Aug 2021
What a wonderful campaign world breastfeeding week is! We must celebrate the lovely mothers who choose to breastfeed. It’s crucial that new mothers receive support from their partners, friends and wider family when breastfeeding.
Talking from my own experience, I really struggled when breastfeeding both my daughters. However, I did perceive for as long as I could but I was just not producing enough milk to keep up with their demand. After my experience, I connected with breastfeeding herts who truly opened my eyes to the level of support I could have received. This changed my view and understanding of breastfeeding completely! If you’re ever in need of extra support, make sure to head over to the Experts Advice section.
It’s vital that a mother knows she has a safety net from her family. The reassurance plays an important role in the breastfeeding journey and will strengthen the bond between mum and baby.
WHO acknowledges that breastfeeding is a natural process and outline the multiple benefits.
- Emotional support to both child and mother
World breastfeeding week is an opportunity for mothers, partners, families and healthcare professionals to share what works to support breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is not always this beautiful journey between mum and newborn. It can be painful and extremely draining. Any form of pain is usually down to sore nipples. Normally a few days post-childbirth when your milk comes in. The problem will also get worse when your baby starts to feed every 2 hours, which can lead to blistered nipples.
Solutions for Breastfeeding Pain:
- Incorrect Latching – One of the most common reasons for feeding pain can be down to your baby not correctly latching. The next time your baby is wanting to feed, make sure to have the lower portion of your nipple in babies mouth. The roof of your babies mouth should be pressed against the tip of your nipple. You should feel your babies tongue gently support underneath.
- Different positions – Try a variety of breastfeeding positions if your baby is struggling to latch in the standard seated position. Try completely laying back or perhaps a cross-cradle hold.
- Get professional advice – A lactation consultant will provide you with the correct guidance to assure your baby’s mouth and body positioning are at the perfect alignment. They will be able to solve any latching issues while being able to determine if there are any physical problems inside your baby’s mouth. A lot of lactation consultants will also be able to provide a plan for you to follow to help overcome any further issues.
- Protect those nips ladies! – By wearing breast shields underneath your bra, you’ll be able to stop any rubbing that may occur that will do further damage.
Family & Friends: How To Support Mum
As well as being physically demanding on your body, breastfeeding also takes its toll emotionally. Here are some methods and tips that hubby, partner and family can do to help aid in your breastfeeding journey:
- Provide emotional support and practical help. Whether that be doing the food shop, cleaning the house or cooking. Anything we can do to help mum get her rest
- Listen and be supportive. Boost mum’s confidence in the breastfeeding experience.
- Bring mum her snacks. A general recommendation for new mums is that they eat an extra 500kcals a day than they did before pregnancy. Make sure it’s packed with healthy nutrients and something she can eat with one hand!
- If the little one needs a nappy change, queue your time to shine!
- Learn and research the process of breastfeeding. Become a breastfeeding mastermind during mums pregnancy by studying up on the pump manual, how to help ease nipple pain and everything breastfeeding related. Anything you can do to help relieve any stress from mums life.
As well as celebrating mothers who breastfeed, we need to also acknowledge those who struggle to produce milk and the emotional burden this can bring. A member of the Mother Fit Community has been kind enough to share her struggles. I hope the experiences shared can help other women when dealing with any feeding issues and the emotional strain it can take, you’re not alone.
Mother Fit Community Member: My Breastfeeding Story
During my first pregnancy with my beautiful daughter, I knew there was only one way I was going and that was breastfed and cotton nappies. I read everything there was and took all the advice given. Heidi was born a healthy 7lb 14oz on a Sunday and latched on beautifully. The midwives were so pleased they got to tick the box for the Unicef award they wanted that another baby had left the hospital on the breast. There was a routine very quickly. However, I hadn’t felt a “let down” experience as I had read in all the books. I mentioned this to the midwife who said “don’t worry look how settled and calm she is” I also asked the health care assistant who visited if I should maybe give her a little water as her lips were dry. I was told “absolutely not. Look how settled she is.”
On Friday morning, she woke with a sunken head. I called the midwife and she was there in half an hour. She popped her on the scales and my baby now weighed 6lb 2oz without saying anything to us the midwife called A&E and said there was a baby on the way with severe dehydration. She was rushed straight to neonatal and we watched staff battle to stabilise my 6-day old baby. The consultant told me that she had turned the corner and now slowly had to rehydrate her to prevent her brain from swelling. She was in there for four days and once being fed, she started to thrive. I was put on machines etc to help but no milk came.
As a mother, I had failed at the most natural thing you do and that stayed with me for a very long time. Sadly this is more common than they let on.
My firstborn, now almost 17, is a beautiful, healthy, slim, strong clever girl. She has never had asthma, ear conditions, eczema and all the other things they tell you breastfeeding prevent. And we have an incredible bond!!
When I was feeding her with a bottle I didn’t have a hand free to look at my phone like you see people doing. The whole time I looked into her eyes. It was a time we had to sit down together and couldn’t do anything else as I needed both hands. I saw a lady the other day in Sainsbury’s with a newborn latched on as she walked around doing her shopping! Good for her some might say. That is not bonding in my opinion.
I have now made my peace and know I wasn’t a failure.
Fed is best.
When I had my second 8 years later, I tried again, my experience didn’t put me off but I mixed. Did have a let down this time but didn’t have the confidence to carry on and I do not regret it.
I had two beautiful natural labours with no pain relief. I hypnobirthed Lara in water. I would never dream of saying that natural birth is better than a section or not supporting a mum who couldn’t deliver naturally so why is there the need to make mums who can’t or don’t BF feel less of a mum.
It’s a beautiful thing if you can but makes you no less of a mum if you can’t.
I absolutely support this campaign and I do believe there is more help out there now. I just wish there was more support and understanding for the mums that can’t.
Share Your World Breastfeeding Week Story
I feel so emotionally invested in this celebration of breastfeeding journeys and I hope many of you will join me in raising awareness of World breastfeeding week by sharing your breastfeeding story. Feel free to join the Mother Fit community and share your story here.
Love Michelle x