From the beginning Arren was a natural at breastfeeding, he had a great latch, when my midwife was around and tried to get all the milk from the start. That didn’t mean that this mama, had any idea what was going on. Trying to figure out breastfeeding can be though, especially if you’re a new mother. You think it would be easy, right? The logic is simple ; Breast + mouth = breastfeeding. Not so much! When you have sore nipples, breasts and an angry snapping turtle that clamps on like he doesn’t care about your pain (believe me they don’t). Something simple can become a huge mission.
For breastfeeding week, I decided to talk about my breastfeeding journey, the good parts, the bad parts and some tips and tricks for an easier breastfeeding experience.
Breastfeeding has been hard for me, not because I had a problem with milk supply, but because it completely messed up my hormones, I’ve not had the easiest journey. It’s called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex, or more simply put every time I have a milk let down I get really depressed or feel anxiety. It doesn’t last long, but it’s not pleasant at all, it’s made my stress level sky rocket, making it harder for me to sleep, and Arren doesn’t allow a lot of sleep as is! I’ve managed to deal with it, by breathing deeply and relaxing more. Trying to push the anxiety away, and by using white noise to sleep. My new breastfeeding hurdle has been to try and get Arren to abuse me less while feeding, with all the pulling, scratching, punching and now biting, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt like crying and felt all touched out. It hasn’t helped that he refuses to take expressed breast milk and wants nothing to do with the bottle at all. I just always get him a little bit too late, when he’s over tired and cranky, but I’m slowly picking up on his sleepy signs and things are finally getting better.
Here are some of my tips for breastfeeding, and how to increase your milk supply and what foods decrease them.
- Breastfeeding is hard in the beginning, don’t be afraid to ask for help, speak to your midwife, Doctor, or lactation consultant. They will be able to explain and show you how the perfect latch is done. You can google it as much as you want, you will have to see it to truly understand how it works.
- If you don’t have a feeding pillow, make a pillow fort around you. It works like a bomb and is surprisingly comfy.
- Nipple cream! You will need it for the first couple of weeks
- Be easy on yourself, the first couple of weeks are hard and painful, but once you both get the hang of it, it will get easier.
- If you want to cover up in public, just get a scarf. They look nicer than those strange breastfeeding aprons. It will also give you and your baby privacy and keep baby focused on feeding instead of being distracted by EVERYTHING!
- For a deep latch, try the hamburger technique. Shove your boob in your babies mouth like he’s going to take a big bite!
- Don’t be scared to squeeze to get milk out in the beginning.
- Get enough rest. I know easier said than done, especially when you just want to stare at your beautiful baby. Sleep when you can and ask for help when you need it!
FOOD TO INCREASE SUPPLY
- Oatmeal. The best way to start your day and a great way to increase your supply.
- Flax seeds. Ground up flax seeds are not only a great source of omegas, they are great for helping establish a supply. Sprinkle this on top of your oatmeal and you’re creating a double whammy.
- Water. You’re constantly losing fluids when you’re breastfeeding so staying hydrated is very important.
- Vitamins. Breastfeeding, strips you from a lot of nutrients, keeping up with your daily vitamins helps you and your baby get the nutrients you need.
- Coconut Oil. Gives your milk added nutrients.
- Ginger. I did a month of confinement and a lot of the recipes are filled with ginger. It’s not only great for boosting milk supply it’s also great for healing.
- Fennel and fenugreek. Make it as a tea add it in a curry, make a bread the possibilities are endless with these milk boosting spices.
FOOD THAT DECREASES MILK SUPPLY
- Parsley.Large amounts of parsley can decrease milk supply. You don’t have to avoid it, but just be aware of it, if you already have a low supply
- Mint. I’ve noticed a drop in my supply when having a chocolate bar with mint in it. I just stay away from it now.
- Sage. Sage tea is commonly used to decrease an oversupply, if you’re supply is low try to not overdo it with sage in your meals.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help some moms out there! Remember best is best, but not the only way. Feeding and loving your baby at any way you can is all that matters. You’re the mama, do what’s best for you!
Arren’s cute woodland animal fitted sheet is available here.