Breastfeeding - written by a breastfeeding Mum!
So it is pretty much drummed into us as new mums that "breast is best", but perhaps you weren't aware of some of the benefits. Apart from the obvious ones like its free, clean, sterile and easier to prepare, did you also know, that your baby is less likely to fall ill, as you are passing on valuable nutrients and antibodies through the milk.
Many Unexpected Benefits
These are some of the benefits of breastfeeding shown by research:
- . It increases IQ
- . Children are less likely to have weight problems or high cholesterol later in life
- . They'll have better eyesight
- . They may be less likely to get allergies and asthma
- . It's much better for the environment
- . It's a great way of bonding with your baby
- . It makes you sit down and relax
- . It helps your uterus contract quicker
- . It uses up more calories so in theory helps you get back in shape
- . It makes travelling and getting out and about much easier as you don't have to take bottles etc.
It Is Not Always Easy
Some mums have told me that they didn't have any problems and it was really easy from the beginning, other mums I have met have been unable to feed.
I have been fortunate to be able to feed both my children. I fed my first up to 11 months (then formula for a couple of months), and I'm currently feeding my second who is 8 months.
Babies should be given breast or formula milk as their main drink for at least the first year of their life.
It Can Take Some Getting Used To
I wouldn't say I found it really easy at first as it does take a bit of getting used to. Before you leave the hospital, make sure you get loads of support and guidance from the midwives.
Find a position that is comfortable for you. Try the position of feeding lying down with your baby next to you. It does take a bit of practise, but it is worth it.
If you are going to feed your baby, you may as well have a lie down while you're doing it. I found this position essential with my second child as I was more exhausted. This was also a great way to feed at night.
With my second child I was more confident and for the first 8 weeks of her life she slept with us in bed. Being a mother of two I did need more rest, this seemed to work and my baby was very happy.
It is important to note the golden rules about sleeping with your baby, only do so if you have a nice firm mattress, the duvet and pillows are well away from your baby, your baby is not in a position where they could fall out of bed, you and your husband have not been drinking any alcohol or smoking.
If all this is OK then it is a great way of getting more rest, your husband feels more involved, and your baby will love being so close to you.
One of the things that I used to get very stressed about first time round, was how my baby would be sucking for ages it seemed without getting any milk.
It always used to be towards the end of the day and in the night when I would be particularly tired.
I am sure many mums have given up at these times, and I felt like it on a few occasions.
What I didn't really understand at the time was that, it wasn't my baby telling me he was still starving and I was failing as a mum. It was just him telling my body to create more milk because he knew he was going to have a growth spurt a day or so later and would need more.
He was just putting in an extra order! This is a good reason for trying to avoid giving your baby a dummy. As long as you keep offering your baby milk, he and your body will work it all outâ€¦.it's pretty amazing really!
What is important is to keep taking your baby for weigh ins at the clinic and keep talking to your health visitor and they can give you support and help if needed. If there is a problem then she may recommend something else to try.
However, try to stay as relaxed as possible as this will help more than anything.
Breastfeeding When You Also Have a Toddler
In the early days, it is harder breast feeding a baby when you already have a toddler as it is more time consuming, however, as long as you make a fuss of the toddler at other times, I found that feeding time became very peaceful.
I was firm about sitting or lying down while feeding, if the toddler wanted to be with me then he had to come and sit with us or lie next to us on the bed.
I'd put the television on or read a book with him and it would become a quiet time for my toddler. I don't suggest you walk around while feeding, as I know some mums end up doing.
Your baby is not going to find it very easy to feed properly, and you need some time to relax, otherwise the quality of the milk your body produces may be compromised.
Obviously, there are those occasions when my little boy would want to try out going to the toilet just as I started feeding, but you can't do anything about that.
Feeding When You Are Out
Feeding when you are out is a hurdle some mum's face. One tip I can suggest is wearing a loose camisole over your nursing bra, under your top.
If you tuck it into your trousers and it is a similar colour to your top, when you feed, it not only keeps your back and tummy warm, it makes feeding more discreet and some people don't have a clue that I'm actually feeding.
Obviously, it is totally natural and you should never feel embarrassed to be feeding your baby.
However, if you do feel uncomfortable, look for places to go that are baby friendly and provide a nice area for you to relax and feed in comfort. They do exist, and there is no need to shut yourself away at home.
Breastfeeding makes going out and travelling a joy! you have so little to take out with you. I actually think that flying is easier when you are feeding. It is great for making sure your baby doesn't suffer with blocked ears.
Try and get them comfortable just before you take off and land. Also, your fellow passengers will praise your children after the trip on how wonderfully quiet they were!
I would recommend these books to anyone planning to or currently breastfeeding.