I’m currently breast feeding my fourth baby Florence, she has just turned 8 months old and this has made me think of my last two breastfeeding journeys and how they came to an end when Daisy and Teddy were about nine months.
Florence I think will definitely be fed the longest for a few reasons; she currently still has no teeth (Teddy was a biter!) she’s very attached to my breast as she’s still exclusively breastfed and I’m more confident at feeding this time around.
If you’ve read my previous post on my breastfeeding journey or watched my video (linked below) you will know that I have had ups and downs with feeding. As this time around has been the most positive I thought it right to share a few things that have helped me along the way in feeding.
1. Positivity – look for the positive in why you’re feeding, it can help boost your confidence and motivation. A few positives that I can think of are more money in your pocket, no equipment to sterilise, milk on tap, it makes for a quick bond with your baby, and no running downstairs to grab bottles in the night!
Another way to look at breastfeeding positively is to support other feeding Mums and then you can help each other through times when you feel overwhelmed. Just a few words of support can really help, whether that’s online friends from forums etc or friends in person. It’s easy to google the negative aspects of anything, but if you can, try and praise each other in times where you’re feeling tired and the feeding is never ending!
2. Latch – in the early days my babies have all latched on differently and I have also had to remind myself with 3 of them how to latch them on correctly. There are plenty of videos/ literature and health care professionals to help you with this. Don’t be afraid to ask as this makes a real difference in the first few days to avoid sore breasts.
3. Feeding Pillow – invest in one whilst pregnant, I have slept with mine in all my pregnancies to rest my bump on, it then helped me through the first few weeks post section to lay the baby onto feed. This also helped me latch the baby on comfortably. It’s a great place to rest a baby whilst you’re getting ready and then for a play prop when they’re learning to sit up.
4. Don’t clock watch – I read several books on baby routines with my first child. These didn’t help my feeding journey with my first as they made me question why my baby fed for a different amount of time to what was suggested. This made me question my milk supply and why my baby was different to how the book suggests. Babies I do now realise feed for a different amount of times for various reasons.
5. Don’t count feeds – for the same reason as number 4, I also fell into the trap of trying to feed my baby the suggested amount of feeds in a day according to age. I have since learnt to be led by the baby as to how often they need to feed and this varies all the time. Some days it will feel like you’ve been constantly feeding, as the baby goes through a growth spurt they will need these extra feeds.
6. Nipple cream and breast pads – essential to soothe sore nipples in the early days and breast pads for leaking. Take them out and about with you in the early days so you have a change of pads and cream to soothe.
7. Water and snacks – have water bottles all over the house in your feeding spots so you’re reminded to drink as it’s thirsty work! I always take a bottle with me on the school run and in my bag on outings to keep me topped up between feeds.
Chop up some fruit/crudités ready for some healthy snacks that you can grab on the go!
8. Oats – I have had lots of porridge and oaty raw power ball snacks (oats mixed with honey,peanut butter, raisins seeds etc). I have no idea if all the oats have helped my milk supply, but this time around I have managed to exclusively breastfeed so I’m not dropping the oats as it’s working!
9. Breast feeding bra, vest and muslin cloth – a good breastfeeding bra helps you feel better about yourself, and that with your vest will help your confidence in feeding when out and about. I wear a vest under everything to make it easier to access to the breast. Then I can also wear non-feeding clothing over the vest. Muslin squares are also an essential for discreet feeding when needed and mopping up any milk spit-ups.
10. Wonder Weeks App – lastly I have referred to an app on my phone throughout Florence’s development and that is the Wonder Weeks app. This charts the learning and development of your baby and makes an interesting read. It also lets you know whether your baby is experiencing a stormy fussy period or a happier less fussy stage. This has enabled me to be more understanding on the days that have been more demanding with a haze of multiple milk feeds!
These tips have all helped for an easier, more relaxing & positive feeding journey.
Here is a link to my previous breast feeding post and video: