I have mentioned in a previous post that breastfeeding is proving to be the most difficult and challenging thing I have set myself up to do so far. Ideally, I want to breastfeed exclusively until we can start introducing solids and continue offering the breast until at least 18 months.
During my pregnancy I tried to get all the information I would need to be able to successfully feed my child. I joined 3 Facebook groups: 2 of them for mummas-to-be and 1 for UK breastfeeding mummas. I have been reading other mothers’ concerns and problems so I could avoid them. But in reality, this is a journey you have to learn with your baby as each one is a world in itself.
If you, like me, are looking to get as much information possible here are the 3 breastfeeding tips that work for me.
Patience & Perseverance
Baby and Mummy need to learn together how to do this.
The most important thing to master is getting the right latch. Without the right latch your baby will harm your nipples and this will make it very hard to persevere. I have found that my little chicken starts doing a pout instead of opening his mouth wide. It is important that your baby opens his mouth in order to get a deep latch. There is a technique called the “flipple” to help achieve this, you can watch a video on how to fipple here.
As the days go by he is getting better at starting with a big open mouth and getting a better latch. We are learning together with a lot of patience and some tears in the way.
It Is OK To Ask For Help
The day my baby turned 3 weeks old I had a melt-down moment with our night feed. He was having difficulties latching on the breast and I was tired. Each time I tried to break the latch to start again he was getting more frustrated and crying more therefore making me cry too. This was the first time I seriously considered giving up and formula feeding.
I went to Facebook and asked for reassurance on the UK Breastfeeding Group. The ladies on this group are amazing and made me feel much better. They assured me it gets better after 6/8 weeks and reminded me to keep focused. I have also decided to ask my Health Visitor for help regarding our positioning and latching.
I downloaded an app for my phone so I could track our feeds. It started well as I found it hard to remember which breast I had fed from last. I soon started to get stressed as we would start feeding and I found myself looking around trying to find my phone. What I did next is move the clock from the kitchen to the living room. This way I did not need the phone with me. I would just look at the clock to see at what time we started and finished the feed and put it in the app afterwards.
The Health Visitor advised baby should be feeding for about 20-25 minutes in order to get to the fattier milk. My little chicken is feeding somewhere between 7 and 13 minutes. Some feeds last more than 20 minutes, but this is rarely the case. I started to worry he was not feeding well. I spent the afternoon crying and trying to get my baby to stay awake and feed for longer. This was not helpful at all. I had to step back and remember that each baby is different and has his own pace.
My baby has shorter feeds more frequently. Probably because I have a fast let-down and he gets more milk in a shorter time than other babies. The important thing is that he is putting own weight, has plenty wet and dirty nappies and is content after each feed.
So, I have ditched the app and am following what baby asks for and what my body tells me. If I am unsure of what breast I used last I just touch them and feed from the one that feels fullest at the time. No more clock-watching for us.
What Have I Learnt About Breastfeeding?
I still have a very long way to go, but so far I have learnt that this is a bumpy road. On the bright side it is a road that takes you and your baby to a wonderful and healthy place.
My little chicken and I have been doing this for 3 weeks and 3 days. So far he has gained 1 kilogram since birth, and has not lost any weight. He is a happy and healthy boy and this makes me a very happy mummy.
Do what feels right for you and your baby without comparing yourself to other people. If something does not feel right don’t be afraid to seek help. Enjoy the journey and keep focused on what is important.