Probably not what you’re expecting from a student midwife eh? But it isn’t and I wish more women were told this antenatally.
Don’t get me wrong I am all about promoting breastfeeding, encouraging breastfeeding and recognising this as the norm for infant feeding but not if we hide the truth from expecting/new mothers.
You’re producing colostrum. Minute amounts but rich in calories and antibodies and vital for baby’s immune system. Baby’s tummy is the size of a cherry when their born - tiny, so huge volumes is NOT what we’re focusing on. We like to see you recognising baby’s feeding cues (rooting, suckling, moving head) and a nice latch and attachment - which again takes time! Most likely your first feed, hopefully during the golden hour of skin to skin after birth, is relatively easy. Baby is awake and keen to latch and feed after a squeezing through the birth canal, and you want cuddles too. It’s the one after that, and after that, and after that which can be disillusioning.
Getting to know your baby, and your baby getting to know you is a process. It’s about starting that relationship between caregiver and child. Breastfeeding is sore, can be nippy but shouldn’t be PAINFUL. If it is you need to latch baby again. It’s trial and error and sleepless nights for the first few days while you work this thing out together. Sometimes expressing at this point can be a good idea - using syringes and cups at hospital or a pump at home; but remember it will be small amounts.
Milk! Lots of wonderful breast milk, making your boobs sore and hard and achy and heavy. This is normal. Your body, encouraged by baby’s stimulation of your nipple over the last few days is making milk and storing it for baby. Baby’s can tend to cluster feed at this point. 5 minutes feeds over 2-3 hours, 2 hours rest then at it again. Or baby might feed for longer 30 minutes every 3-4 hours both of these examples are what we might expect. There is no set way to breastfeed, be it position or length of feeds. Some mum’s choose to pump after feeds to keep the production of milk up - some prefer to pump to have an emergency bottle of breast milk in the fridge in case the sleep deprivation gets too much and Dad/Partner can step in. Just remember the more you produce the more baby will be keen to feed (remember to feed both sides!). Baby’s tummy is now growing from a cherry to a walnut to a plum at one week old.
And the one they don’t tell you about…
Your milk has just got thicker and richer for baby. At this point the routine you and baby thought you had down may change. Baby may start to cluster feed or feed for longer, feeding from both breasts. Baby may wake before 4 hours for their next feed. Don’t get disheartened. It’s a continuing journey.
Advice I give to Mother’s is to give it two weeks. Have support for YOURSELF as well as you and baby over those two weeks and just go on that journey with baby. Breastfeeding isn’t an exact science, but it is beautiful and giving your baby the best start in life. So even if you might feel like crying or giving up remember: Breastfeeding isn’t easy for the first two weeks but at least give it that time to establish, because once you do - bonding with baby can be no better.
Disclaimer: I am VERY aware that breastfeeding may not be a choice for all Mother’s and support skin to skin and contact with baby during all forms of infant feeding. I am also aware other factors may disrupt breastfeeding journey’s and can lead to a change in infant feeding. I encourage all women to have an open discussion with their community midwife regarding infant feeding. I have also met many mothers who only wish to give the first feed via breast, something I encourage and support where possible.
I’m excited my local WIC is doing a breastfeeding photo shoot for breastfeeding awareness month in August. Its June 13th so I’m calling tomorrow to schedule an appointment. I really want to be apart of it! 5 months of breastfeeding. I’m proud and I love the experience.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month so to kick it off, here’s a picture taken today of my little nursling just 1 day shy of turning 14 months old! 💕
It has been a very easy road for us and I’m so blessed for that. Not one drop of formula, growing this little bebe and feeding him through infancy was all me. This is a bond like I never knew could exist and the end is no where in sight.
There should be a law against stupidity. / Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
Apparently, August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
That’s fine. Totally cool. I mean - we’ve got national Pie Day and probably a bunch of other useless awareness months more. Don’t get me wrong: every day should be national pie day.
Anyway. Let’s dig out some old news and ask ourselves: “Is it really legal to walk around with an IQ less than your shoe size?”
Because that’s exactly the kind of question that pops into my head when I think about Gisele Bündchen. She’s as stupid as she’s pretty, and boy she’s got killer looks.
A while ago she said: “There should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies.”
Yes. Breastfeeding is definitely the best option for your baby. But this brainless, narcissistic walking stick forgot a few things in her senseless statement: Not every woman is physically able to breastfeed their baby. Not every woman wants to breastfeed their baby.
Seriously. A law that mothers should breastfeed their babies? A LAW?! So - if I can’t breastfeed I’m a terrible mother and deserve to be punished? Thank god that this woman is in no position to make/change any laws.
Gisele Bündchen: “Some people think they don’t have to breastfeed. I think: ‘Are you going to give chemical food to your child, when they are so little?’ ”
I’m not really sure what kind of chemicals this woman is talking about, but I’m pretty damn certain I didn’t feed my baby any life-threatening formula.
Why did I choose formula over breastfeeding? -My body took that decision from me. Some myth says: the bigger your boobs, the more milk you’ll produce. I call bullshit. From breastmilk alone, my daughter would’ve starved within less than 2 days. I had to give my baby formula.
Would I judge people if they denied breastfeeding from the beginning? -I never judge people. Unless they’re idiotic enough to believe that they have any damn right to tell people what to do. In my birthing class was a mommy-to-be and her nipples were always sensitive and sore to the point where she cried. She was scared of having to breastfeed her baby. Why? Because she knew it would hurt her. Breastfeeding is supposed to build a special connection between a mother and her baby. Pain and being uncomfortable is the wrong way to achieve that. My own daughter and I still have a very special bond - because love’s the magic key and not if you shove a silicon nipple or a human nipple into the baby’s hungry mouth. Other than that: my kid’s pretty damn healthy for a formula-baby. Well… must be the chemicals, she’s probably a genetic superfreak now. I’ll let everyone know when she starts crawling up walls with her bare hands.
A 2001 World Health Organization (WHO) report found that infant formula prepared in accordance with applicable Codex Alimentarius standards was a safe complementary food and a suitable breast milk substitute.
The U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) defines infant formula as “a food which purports to be or is represented for special dietary use solely as a food for infants by reason of its simulation of human milk or its suitability as a complete or partial substitute for human milk”.
We love our children and we only want what’s best for them. But also: as a mother you get to decide what’s best for your child. And for my child it was best to be fed formula.
Every mother has the right to decide how, what and where she’s feeding her babies.
On the same note: Breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding in public? I want to smack everyone who looks down at a mother in disgust because she’s got to get her tatas out to feed her baby. It’s the most normal and natural thing in the world. I guess some people have simply forgotten that breats are not only objects of sexual desire.
Hey breastfeeding moms/advocates: my local gym (owned and run by the city, so it’s a part of the local government) recently put up a new sign in the women’s locker room. I should have taken a picture, but the paraphrased version is this:
To keep other people from being uncomfortable, we invite breastfeeding moms to use our designated breastfeeding area or use a nursing cover.
I believe the “designated breastfeeding area” is the child care room, which, while comfortable and friendly, is usually crowded, noisy, and located at a fairly inconvenient spot.
This sign makes me mad every time I see it, and if there are legal protections for breastfeeding that they’re violating, I’d love to point this out and see if I can get them to take it down.
Edited to add: My state has a law on the books stating that “Mothers have the right to breastfeed anywhere they have a right to be.” What I don’t know is if a business (or in this case, local government) has a right to ask them to cover up.