Your 8 point survival guide to breastfeeding
Here is a fourth guest post from Rebecca Megson where this time she shares her experience with breast feeding. She had it tough but got through it and has the experience to offer tips and advice on how to deal with many a feeding issue. Please share with friends you know soon to have a baby or those going through the early days of feeding.
Breast feeding is hard. For some people it’s really straightforward but most mums I’ve talked to have had issues, at least in the beginning. You really need a survival guide to breastfeeding.
The first thing that right now you almost certainly cannot imagine is the amount of time you will spend in the corner of your sofa with a baby attached to you. Even if I spelled it out in hours or number of feeds (at one point the Baba bu was feeding over 6 hours a day, up to 22 times per day) it just doesn’t do justice to the fact this is a 24/7 gig that will impede you doing pretty much everything else for the first few weeks. And that’s without any added issues you might face with milk supply, latching technique, colic, reflux, the list goes on.
My experience was such that although the Baba bu had what was constantly called a ‘textbook’ latch, I also had oversupply and rapid milk let down. This combination meant that I was effectively drowning my baby in milk whenever she fed and so she had to amend her position on the boob. This in turn meant she relatched badly, causing dry, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples and ultimately blocked milk ducts.
All of which came to ahead when my milk came in on day three/four. I became so engorged that the Baba bu couldn’t latch at all. It was 3am on a Sunday morning and I’m not going to lie, the panic set in – ‘Omigod I can’t feed my baby, she needs food now, I’m failing her’ – etc., etc. We simply didn’t have any back up in place such as emergency formula, or a breast pump and of course everything around us was closed.
I was in extraordinary levels of pain and had no idea about expressing and I really struggled to be able to express by hand, no matter how many YouTube clips I watched.
By day five I was diagnosed as having mastitis in my left breast, prescribed oral antibiotics and for a day or so things seemed to improve. But then I went downhill again, this time with flu like symptoms, a high temperature and the red rash on my right hand breast indicating I had a second bout of mastitis. So by day eight of being a mum I was readmitted to the postnatal ward and put on an antibiotic IV drip for 24 hours. Funtimes!!
At the end of that fortnight I got a stomach bug which lasted 72 hours and a week later, having experienced yet more pain breastfeeding, I was diagnosed with nipple thrush, something I had no idea existed. By this stage I decided actually looking after a baby would be easy if only I was well for more than a couple of days at a time!
Survival Guide to Breastfeeding
Anyhow, having survived AND am not only still breastfeeding but HAPPILY breastfeeding (Baba bu is 4 and a half months old) here is my 8 point survival guide:
- Go to a local breastfeeding group whilst pregnant – then you’ll know where it is and what kind of support you can get there
- Make sure you have the following emergency kit, (Amazon links all included) in (esay to return if you then dont use it, but have it in the first instance please!)
- a breast milk expressing pump;
- a pack of nipple shields (I used medela ones because they are supposedly most like feeding direct from the nipple for the baby);
- a box of emergency formula;
- bottles for feeding baby with expressed milk;
- lansinoh nipple cream, because breast feeding = ouch! Especially in the beginning.
- Buy a C-cushion for breastfeeding, it makes all the difference to achey back and limbs
- Have a munchies box set up close to your breastfeeding station and make sure your partner/friend/support knows that their job is to refill the box at regular intervals. Fruit, nuts, biscuits, chocolate, cereal bars, energy sweets, energy drinks, 2 litre bottles of water. Breast feeding is seriously hungry work and you’ll be amazed at how you have no time at all to make food and how often you are trapped under a gorgeous bundled of milk guzzling monsterness!
- Talk to your midwife, health visitor, health professionals, doctors, whoever and get names, numbers and contact details of people you can speak to FOR FREE if you’re having problems breastfeeding.
- Remember if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t and you should get help immediately and as many times as you need thereafter. Don’t worry about being a pain, breastfeeding is an important thing that you’re doing for your baby.
- But also formula is NOT the work of the devil and you are NOT a failure if you need to formula feed your baby either in part or completely. Your job in all of this is to keep your baby live and well and feeding her/him formula might just be the exact right thing for you to do to make this happen. It is in short GOOD mothering, not bad.
- Finally don’t worry about breaking the rules about using supports – either expressing before the magic 6 week period or using nipple shields for ‘more than a couple of days’. Ask yourself ‘is this helping me to keep breastfeeding my baby now?’ if the answer is yes give yourself a gold star and get your partner/friend/support to make you a ginormous cup of tea and slab of cake.
It gets better, it really does. Usually by about 6 – 8 weeks and definitely by three months. Feels a bit like a lifetime at the time but just get ALL the support in the world you can and trust yourself that however you do this, you’ve got it covered. You love your baby and you’re going to give them a really awesome start to life.
This post contain affiliate links to the recommended products all available at Amazon.