guest blog written by Agnieszka Zugaj - an experienced midwife
A great deal can indeed be written about breastfeeding.The subject is complex and ongoing research is uncovering more secrets about lactation.
For many women, it is a natural, intuitive way of feeding their baby. Without major problems, they can feed for as long as they want in harmony with themselves and their baby.
There are also women who fight for every drop of milk. When the pregnancy has ended much earlier, by caesarean section or other problems have arisen that make it difficult to start lactation properly.
Here are some ways to help at the beginning of the milk journey and to make breastfeeding easier.
Theoretical preparation is a solid foundation for your lactation. You can take classes at a birthing school or book an individual appointment with a midwife.
There are also many breastfeeding guides on the market - but pay attention to the year of publication and the author. Get your knowledge from up-to-date sources. What was recommended a few years ago in the light of today's knowledge is often discouraged.
A good example of this is the recommending of fennel tea for both the breastfeeding mother and the baby. Our grandmothers and mothers recommended fennel tea to us something good. The position paper of ESPGHAN (European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) recommends giving such a tea at the earliest after the age of four!
Hormone-dependent processes (such as lactation) are very sensitive to stress and high levels of stress hormones. Your desire to feed your baby is crucial, but without support or if those close to you do not have the right knowledge the process may be disrupted.
Therefore, surround yourself with supportive people, educate if necessary (you can pass on articles or ask them to read a book on the subject). Comments about breast size and the ability to feed the baby, about not enough or too much fat in mother's milk and many others should not take place.
What a breastfeeding woman needs above all is support and appropriate help in accordance with current medical knowledge. Crises may occur, it is important that you are not left alone with them.
3. Early initiation of lactation
A woman's body prepares for breastfeeding as early as the beginning of the second trimester, but more and more reports from around the world are placing great emphasis on getting your baby to the breast for the first time as soon as possible. If you have given birth naturally - breastfeed your baby within the first hour after birth. Place your newborn on your bare chest in just a nappy and cover yourself together if necessary. Let your baby get to know you through touch and smell. Baby crawl is the way the newborn travels to get to the breast.It is very important to allow the baby to do this 'exploration'.
If you have given birth by Caesarean section, you may want to consider expressing colostrum manually before the operation and asking to give it to your baby after birth.
Kangarooing has a very positive effect on lactation, not only in the first hours after birth but throughout the entire postpartum period and even beyond. Ask for help with the first breastfeeding, I recommend the biological position - it is both comfortable for mum and baby.
4. Proper diagnosis of the problem
If problems arise - remember not to give up straight away. Whether it's at the beginning of the milk journey or after time. Diagnosing the problem correctly is essential to solving it. During lactation problems, it is worth examining both the baby and the mother to find the cause of the difficulty.
The decision to stop feeding should be up to the mother and the baby. Many myths about the need to stop breastfeeding still exist in society and the medical community. If you find yourself in a problematic situation ask for support. A list of certified lactation counsellors and international lactation counsellors is available online. You are sure to get help in your city, and if not - consider an online consultation. This is a really good option for getting help. There are support groups on many social media sites where specialists are also recommended.
5. Breastfeeding clothes
Breastfeeding clothes can seem an unnecessary expense. I too thought so when feeding my first daughter. It is true that in (almost) any garment the baby can access the breast only sometimes it is quite troublesome. This is especially true if you often feed in public places.
There are more and more companies on the market that create dedicated products for breastfeeding women. Nice, functional, so as to increase your comfort during breastfeeding and minimise the amount of exposed flesh. With my second daughter, I went back to work very quickly and we often spend time out of the house. In these situations, a t-shirt or jumper with a concealed zip proves to be a very practical solution.
6. Baby Tula
The Tula carrier has accompanied me since the birth of my first daughter. The closeness of the parent and movement are very important for the development of the child. Being able to adjust the carrier to the size of the child so that it has the correct position is very important to me. I used it practically every day, whether it was for a quick trip to the shops or on the way to nursery. It gave us extra closeness time and made separation easier to bear. Plus, feeding a baby in the the Tula carrier is really easy and discreet. The proximity, the movement, the possibility to feed, it all promotes the proper development of the baby and makes mum's life easier.