How to Meet Your Breastfeeding Goals
After experiencing baby loss in 2014 I was ecstatic to be pregnant again in summer 2018. I had a relatively smooth pregnancy and I loved knowing that I had a rainbow baby boy growing inside me. When I went into labour, I was excited more than anything and couldn’t wait to meet our son. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and after a 78 hour labour which ended in an emergency cesarean section, I was more desperate than ever to regain some sense of ownership over my motherhood.
I had no idea at the time that having had a c-section, it might take longer than usual for my milk to come through. I certainly didn't expect it to take five days. I also did not know until months later that the drugs I had been given during my four-day labour had made our tiny newborn baby incredibly sleepy. This meant that he was unable to latch onto my breasts. So, for the first few days of his life, he was fed my painstakingly hand-expressed colostrum via syringe. As I write this, I remember the voice of a particularly brusque midwife chastising me for not feeding my son frequently enough. She was busy and obviously rushed off her feet, but her chiding tone made my newly postpartum eyes swim. I had no clue what I was doing and I needed help.
If you had told me then that I would still be breastfeeding over three and a half years later, I might have gone into labour all over again. The issue for many millennial mothers is that we may be some of the first people within our circle of friends and family to breastfeed. As a consequence, there are gaping gaps of cultural and generational wisdom around us. As a result, when we face breastfeeding challenges, all too often the only recommendation is to stop breastfeeding and, "Just switch to formula."
I believe that there are many occasions when stopping breastfeeding and starting bottle feeding is the best option for a mother and her child - but what if it is not for you? What if you simply need some help to get over the temporary hurdle(s) that you are facing? This article outlines the greatest and most common challenges facing new mothers today and how to navigate them. Breastfeeding can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience and it is my belief that every parent deserves support to breastfeed on their own terms, for as long as they choose.
Latching Problems and Pain
If you are experience pain as a breastfeeding mother, it is important to seek advice from a lactation professional as soon as possible. An IBCLC is the only medical professional with over 1000 hours of experience of supporting nursing mothers and so they really are experts when it comes to lactation. Many IBCLCs offer virtual support too if you are unable to find one in your local area. Pain whilst breastfeeding could indicate a number of issues, including: lip or tongue tie; a shallow latch; thrush; clogged ducts or mastitis. These are issues which will not resolve themselves without intervention and so seeking professional help and advice is crucial.
A deep, comfortable latch is an effective one and it is essential for establishing and maintaining your supply. An effective latch allows which your baby to remove enough milk from your breasts efficiently. In turn, this signals to your mammary glands to produce sufficient amounts of milk. Some babies latch onto their mother’s breasts immediately with little or no support, but this is not the case for the majority of families. Whilst breastfeeding is natural, it is not necessarily easy and many nursing parents require support in the early days to help them and their babies learn how to get a deep enough latch.