Monday, 26 September 2011

My 20 tips for successful breastfeeding

The birth of my second son 12 weeks ago means I'm a tandem feeding mom! I.e. I'm feeding two kids, mostly at separate times. My oldest son is 3 years and 4 months old, and my younger son is 12 weeks old.
I'd like to address some misconceptions about tandem feeding, and breastfeeding in general, based on the most common questions I get asked. These points are based on my personal experience and should not be taken as medical advice, when in doubt consult your lactation support group.
1. Breastfeeding and tandem feeding is not tiring, parenting and mothering is.
2. Their teeth don't hurt!
3. You can continue to breastfeed during pregnancy.
4. Your milk supply just ups to meet the demand of your growing child/your second child, there is no limit to what you can produce.
5. With the right support and education everyone can physically breastfeed for as long as they want to.
6. Pumping and drugs are not the best way to increase your milk supply, increased feeding is.
7. Neither of my sons have ever met a doctor, never needed drugs of any kind, due to their good health from breastfeeding
8. Baby-led weaning and extended breastfeeding is the perfect way to give your child the optimum nutrition.
9. The biggest obstacle to breastfeeding is lack of support, based on society's viewing of the breast as a sexual organ.
10. You need the support of your partner in order to breastfeed for any length of time.
11.Babies are very sensitive to your diet in the early weeks. Avoid gas-producing foods, and limit dairy, sugar and caffeine. I'm convinced "colic" is just reactions to foods the mother is eating.
12. Breast compressions are important for emptying out the breast, and avoiding plugged ducts which may lead to mastitis.
13. Don't watch the clock, watch the baby. Babies signal constantly, they will let you know when they're hungry. If you wait till they cry, they're starving, they'll gulp loads of milk and get trapped wind.
14. Don't leave too long between feeds. Offer the breast whenever you see the baby mouthing, tongue protruding, or touching their mouth. You'll soon learn the signs they are using. If you wait too long between feeds you'll have a fast flow and baby will not be able to cope with the volume of milk.
15. Take care of your breasts, they are your baby's lifeline. Wear a non-wired bra, feel them for hard lumps (plugged ducts),vary the feeding position to empty them fully and leave the breast pads and shells/ creams OFF, nature intended the breast to function perfectly on its own.
16. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby. They will only feed if hungry.
17. Learn to feed lying down, you'll sleep at night while your baby feeds.
18. Read up on attachment parenting. I hate labelling what is a perfectly natural process, it makes it sound like an invented "parenting method", but it's really just parenting as biology intends.
19. You cannot and should not try to impose a routine on your breastfed baby. They have growth spurts ever couple of weeks where they feed more and their sleep pattern changes constantly. If you need to watch the clock and feed at regular times you will never breastfeed for any length of time.
20. Enjoy every minute. Before long the squirming baby in your arms will be a willful toddler who refuses your boob in favour of a juice box and you'll miss the closeness of the breastfeeding relationship.

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