We feel that, breastfeeding is one of those things that, no matter what one mother does, she doesn’t seem to be able to get it right. The amount of criticism mothers get around the topic of breastfeeding is to say the least unfair.
The way we see it is that, some mothers breastfeed, others don’t. Simple, right? We wish!
Kensington Mums are all about supporting and encouraging mothers to help each other and be understanding every step of the way during our motherhood journey. With breastfeeding, we know it is a tough one for many. We believe that it has to do with the dilemma of health benefit vs how tough it can be for some.
Since this week is World Breastfeeding Week, we wanted to share some facts, tips as well as things nobody tells you about breastfeeding:
1. It is true, breastfeeding is good for your baby because it has antibodies that can’t be engineered.
2. Mothers can benefit from breastfeeding too. Studies show that in the long term breastfeeding can ward off breast and ovarian cancer.
Top Tip: Be aware of the benefits, but don’t let that pressure you. The most important thing is for a for you to be a happy & stress free mummy especially in the first weeks and months of your child’s life. Remember, babies sense everything.
3. NOT all mums CAN produce milk.
Top Tip: This is a very delicate subject, some mums don’t want to breastfeed as they encounter issues doing so but others just do not have a choice so it is important to know this and keep it in mind when bringing up the subject.
4. Breastfeeding helps weight loss. In fact, they say that by breastfeeding you may burn up to 300 or 500 calories per day.
Top Tip: Feel free to keep eating for two. Just kidding! Make sure you keep eating healthy and when your GP gives you the thumbs up, start light exercise to help shed the baby weight. You may be burning calories but you are also producing milk and need to keep strength to look after your newborn. Oh and don’t forget to drink loads of water, it is important to stay hydrated.
5. “Breast milk is instantly available and delivered warm.” (parent.com).
We couldn’t have put it better. There is an aspect of convenience that comes with breastfeeding; The moment your baby “tells” you he/she is hungry, you find a spot and feed.
Kensington Mums Tip: Invest in a hooter hider (available from Bebe au Lait). It will allow you to breastfeed “on the go”and not have to hide in places or feeling “inappropriate” in public. Being able to cover yourself while nursing your baby will give you the confidence to breastfeed anywhere and anytime.
6. When breastfeeding, your breasts may leak throughout the day and night.
Kensington Mums Tips:
To avoid milk showing through your bra and clothes, always wear disposable breast pads, we highly recommend Lansinoh disposable breast pads .
For engorged breast there are several different ways to release discomfort. Midwives, for many years, have suggested natural cures using cold cabbage leaves to place into your breastfeeding bras. We tried it and can agree it works and helps. This will help mothers who get mastitis.
It is also advised to empty your breast manually to avoid it getting engorged. Speak to your midwife for professional help and advice at all times.
7. Not everyone has a smooth experience when breastfeeding. Many mums suffer from cracked nipples which can turn the whole experience into “a nightmare”. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful but we understand it is not always easy. It’s about finding the right connection with your baby, for them to latch on properly and you being comfortable. The experience should be pleasant for both.
Kensington Mums Tips :
There are many products that can help sooth the pain but before that, we highly recommend contacting a lactation consultant. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask for help. Breastfeeding might look easy but its not always that way. An expert will understand your difficulties and suggest the right position for you and your baby.
For cracked nipples, we recommend Lanolin Cream, all available from John Lewis, Boots and most chemists.
We would also like to suggest investing in Silver caps . They help to prevent, protect and heal cracked nipples and heal sore nipples whilst breast feeding.
Did you know?
1. Whilst many women, who exclusively breastfeed, do not menstruate whilst breastfeeding, this is not always the case. And for those who don’t, be aware that you can still get pregnant even without a period so be careful and make sure you use appropriate contraception if you do not want another baby soon after giving birth.
Kensington Mums Tip: Make sure you visit your GP and get advice on different types of contraceptive methods available for you. If you still wish to exclusively breastfeed you must make sure that whatever you decide to use will not interfere with your milk supply.
2. You may feel contraction type pains while breastfeeding your newborn (aka as ‘afterpains’). The pain is because nursing releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract and slows blood loss after delivery.
Our view : This was one of those things that you don’t understand why people don’t talk about, not just between mums but also with midwives and doctors. For me, after many hours of labour, strong contractions resulting in a forceps delivery, I almost dropped my baby from when I felt “the afterpains” and considered not trying to breastfed again. The pain shocked me, and given the traumatic labour I had just endured, I wasn’t sure I could handle it further.
3. Hearing a baby cry could stimulate milk production and result in a woman’s breasts to leak.
Our view: This was possibly one of the oddest things that happened to me as a first time mums (again, nobody tells you before). The initial reaction is not the best but then, it can result useful as an understanding between you and your baby by only producing milk when your baby needs/wants it. However, if you are not able to feed on demand or always be with your baby and this happens, we suggest pumping and storing milk. Some mums pump their milk to encourage production of it, others produce too much and need to pump to avoid angered breasts. In other cases, mums pumps to get help from dads to take care of night feeds so they can rest during the night and be more rested throughout the day.
Manual vs Electric Breast Pump
The choice of pump one uses is very individual.
For some, especially if already experiencing pains or suffering from tender breasts, it is easier to have manual control of the process.
(pictured: Avent manual breast pump)
Others, prefer being able to set up the pump and still have their hands free to get on with other things (i.e.read a magazine, enjoying a cup of coffee or even take the time to have some food).
(pictured: Mandela electric pump) *electric pumps also come with double applicators)
How to choose the perfect breastfeeding bra
The choice of breastfeeding bras are endless, here are two of our favourite types and brands.
For lingerie that can make you feel sexy and empowered, check out Hot Milk Lingerie.
Designed by mothers, for mothers, Hotmilk has revolutionised the nursing lingerie market with its provocative and fashion forward styling.
(Pictured: Eclipse Black Nursing Bra)
For everyday wear, we love the comfort and look of Mothercare’s nursing bras and if you are stuck to know which bras if best for you, read their buying guide here, full of useful tips.
(pictured: Belly Bandit Bandita Black Nursing Bra)
Finally, it is ok to stop feeding whenever YOU feel the time has come. Some babies will stop latching on, other times mums just cannot take it anymore. Don’t let anyone put pressure on you to keep breastfeeding if that is not what you want or if its becoming a stressful situation for you.
However, be aware that stopping to breastfeed is not always as easy as we think. As much as a mother may feel burned and think they cannot take it anymore, they realise how much they love the connection they feel with their baby whilst nursing them. For this, they start mixing breast milk with formula which is perfectly fine. In many cases it helps mums take a break, get some help from others and also babies start getting used to a different type of milk. Happy mummy, happy baby, happy family!
The World Breastfeeding Week’s 25th year in 2017 is about working together for the common good!
Happy Breastfeeding week to all those who breastfeed and those who support it.
Facts taken from the following sources