Sunday 20 August 2017

Breast Feeding Journey - Part Two

I have had a number a number of emails from new moms and future moms about an update on my breastfeeding journey. Three months in and I am glad to say things have definitely gotten a little easier! There is no doubt that I will encounter more stumbling blocks but with the right guidance dealing with each issue that crops up becomes easier.

One of the biggest obstacles I have learned to deal with is overcoming my own uncomfortableness with breastfeeding in public. This came with time as my confidence in my breastfeeding increasesd and by wearing clothes that allowed Isabelle to discreetly feed away while allowing me to remain feeling comfortable. You can read  my dress to express post here.

If I have time I try to pump prior to leaving the house when I know breastfeeding might not be practical. I recently got a Medela double breast pump which has reduced my pumping time (I'll review this next week!).

One of the persistent problems I have been having with Isabelle is her reflux! Unfortunately there is no quick fix for this but after a recent consultation with the Medela lactation consultant I have started cutting dairy out of my diet which has helped her immensely. I also found that the natural supplement Fenugreek exasperated her reflux so I immediately cut this from my diet. Being a lady who was constantly on the go prior to having a baby I found it very difficult to just sit still and feed! However, I have learned to succumb to this and just cherish the time and closeness of being with her.

As mentioned, I recently had a chance to chat to a Medela lactation consultant and asked her a few questions

1) How can I increase my milk supply? Supplements that work etc.

The best approach to increase milk supply is to feed/ pump frequently around the clock. Looking after yourself is really important; rest, food and sleep. 

If you have a double pump – express both at same time or if you have a single, switch breasts every 3-5 mins so that you power pump to optimise the milk flow with milk ejections until you feel that both breasts are empty and milk is no longer flowing. 

2) TIps for a very refluxy baby. Is there anything I can do from a breast feeding point of view? Food that can be cut out of diet etc

A baby with reflux is at times challenging. As milk is liquid it does track up the oesophagus and in some babies this is more of a challenge than others. If she is gaining weight and achieving milestones you are doing ok. 

Tips that can helps are feeding in a more upright position – try straddle position and keep little one as upright as possible. You could try an elimination diet. Some mums restrict all dairy, soya, eggs to see if this makes a difference. Start with dairy and keep a food diary and feeding history to see if it helps.

Sometimes it is a case of taking in a good feed and just being overfull and bringing milk back up. Reflux does improve with age and as she gets more upright and takes solids you will see an improvement. Seek advice from your GP as you may find her taking a thickener such as Gaviscon may help.

3) Isabelle wont latch properly when shes tired Is there anything I can do to get a tired baby to latch? 

It is difficult to answer this without looking at the full picture. If you are waking her for feeds because you need to feed her more frequently due to advice from your HV she may not be hungry and want to feed. Try and minimise scheduled feeds so that you feed more to her feeding cues. 

Tips to try is try and get the milk ready to flow – breast massage, expressing milk by hand so that milk is there and ready. Try different nursing positions. If you are using a dummy reduce this and offer breast to try. 
The other option is to look at using a nipple shield but try the above first. 

Thankfully I have noticed a massive difference from taking on some of the points from the lactation consultant. I am ready her hungry cues (you can read them here) and taking action before she gets upset. For the reflux I have tried to cut dairy out and have bought a swing and a Chekoh baby sling to help keep her upright after feed. 

My journey continues and each day I learn something new. Three months in and we're going strong so hopefully I'll last another three!


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