Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tips for successful breastfeeding

Photo: Browsing and Breastfeeding: Pinot Dita

Having just written a post about successful presentations, I have turned my eye to breastfeeding although at this stage, I haven't quite worked out the connection! I have to say, that this post has been inspired by Dot's birth story. She had a relatively 'easy' birth and is now trying to get her breastfeeding established. I wrote a comment to her post and thought I'd repeat it here. These 'tips' are based on my experience as a midwife and breastfeeding my own babies. I haven't put any references - this isn't an academic exercise but a completely 'off the top of my head' response to Dot. If you want more information, please ask a midwife.

My golden rules for successful breastfeeding:

1. Feed on demand
2. Make the most of the night feeds because they are really important to keep your milk supply going for the next 24 hours
3. If you’re up all night feeding, stay in bed all day resting!! The house work can wait for another year or two! Better still, get your visitors to do it!
4. Relax - do your own thing - follow what your body and baby tells you to do.
5. Don’t listen to old wives tales or “in my day we did…”
6. If baby has a demanding 24/48 hours, go back to bed and concentrate on your feeding
7. Enjoy it. The first 6 weeks can be really challenging but it does get easier as time goes by and you’ll get such a great sense of achievement in months/years to come
8. Get your partner to monitor visitors - don’t let yourself be bombarded because they will make you tired even though you love them dearly-take the phone of the hook and put a ‘do not disturb’ note on your front door.
9. Build up a support network of people who have successfully breastfed and are able to help you with any hiccups, or access the advice of groups like La Leche League. But make sure they are giving you advice that will promote breastfeeding and not undermine what you are doing.

What are your experiences? Is there a tip you would add? Is there anything I have said that you disagree with?


Adiemus said...

Hi Sarah
I totally agree with your points for breastfeeding. I fed my kids until my son was 18 months old and my daughter 13 months. Today they are 17 years and 14 years - and wow have they grown! The time I spent breastfeeding them both is a time I look back on and feel an incredible sense of accomplishment - not to mention it being a whole lot easier, healthier for mother and baby, and more relaxing than any other aspect of early mothering!
I could have done with some support in the first few days of feeding my son - he took a while to get the concept! but the main thing for me was to feel reassured that my baby will determine how much he or she needed, and I would be able to provide exactly the right amount needed.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you for your comment, Adiemus. My kids are much the same age as yours and lovely young people. I am very lucky with my life and have few regrets about anything but one regret I have is I stopped breasfeeding my son when he was 1 year old. There were a number of reasons, one being pressure from others. Now I would continue for as long as it felt right for me and my baby.

Dot said...

I went to a La Leche league meeting during my pregnancy (haven't managed to go back since - missed two for one and one because I'd just had the baby!) but I've been surprised by the rather negative comments about La Leche league I've heard from my yoga teacher and from the public health nurse. Both seemed to feel that La Leche were so committed to breastfeeding they were very harsh to people who for whatever reason decided to give up on it; the public health nurse said she'd picked up the pieces for a number of people who'd been left with big emotional hang-ups after finally abandoning a difficult struggle to breastfeed. I'm wondering now whether I should go back to La Leche meetings. They certainly seemed very nice, but breastfeeding is a minority pursuit in Ireland and maybe one has to be a bit cultish about it to pursue it really determinedly...

Sarah Stewart said...

I can only speak how I have found. I have found LLL to be extremely helpful and supportive here in NZ. But as you have indicated, breastfeeding here is a part of life-we have much better breastfeeding outcomes here. It may well be that LLL is a little more confrontational in Ireland. My best advice is to try them out and see how you go. Whatever works for you personally is the way to go.