After all those contractions and labor pains, Your baby is out, you hold your babe for the first time and nothing can describe the overwhelming love and joy you’re feeling as you look at your little one. The worst is over! Or is it?
Breastfeeding is a Marathon
The first week with your baby is truly an exciting time but can also be stressful and daunting if you put too much expectations on yourself. Especially if it’s a first for you, you’ve probably got it all planned out in your head, how the birth is going to happen, how long you would like to breastfeed for. It’s important to remember that Breastfeeding is a Marathon so don’t put too much unnecessary pressure on yourself at the very start.
After all, you’ve just given birth, you’re still getting to know your new-born and your body is still healing. Remember deep breaths, everything will be okay.
Enjoy Cuddles, Tonnes of Kisses and Skin-to-Skin Contact
It is best to start trying to breastfeed your babe in the first couple hours after birth. Your body is still a little bewildered by what’s going on after the birthing experience, Enjoy Cuddles, Tonnes of Kisses and Skin-to-Skin Contact to get that oxytocin (love hormone) flowing!
Ideally, place your naked baby’s tummy on your bare chest as soon as possible after birth to give him/her access to your breast. All that plus having your baby latch on to your nipple directly will help initiate breastmilk production.
The combination of your baby’s saliva and rhythmic sucking is like a “WAKE UP!” for your breast to release colostrum, your first milk for baby. Colostrum (liquid gold) is special and often labelled liquid gold as it contains many amazing properties for your new-born.
If your baby is unable to breastfeed directly for a variety of reasons, start expressing your milk anyway (using hand or breast pump) and frequently, this way you can work towards direct latching later should you choose to once your baby is able to.
We could have a whole other article about colostrum/liquid gold which we will probably get to soon-ish. For now, just know that Colostrum is thicker in consistency than mature breast milk due to its nutrient rich composition and hence is produced in smaller amounts at the start since your baby’s tummy is the size of one itsy-bitsy fist!
This smaller quantity is like practice rounds for your baby, sucking, swallowing and breathing for more mature milk in larger quantities later as they grow.
Make Full Use of Healthcare Professionals
Make Use of the Nurses, Doctors and Resources available to you at the hospital. Don’t be shy to buzz in nurses, doctors, lactation consultants or specialists to help if you’re feeling overwhelmed!
You’re paying for it and it’s the most opportune time to have all your questions answered by experts who's seen hundreds of cases. A good attachment should not feel painful and is an important start to your breastfeeding journey. On the flipside, a poor latch can affect how well your baby is drinking your milk, their development and how you’re feeling as a mother!
How To Avoid Cracked Nipples During Breastfeeding
Sore and cracked nipples are super common with new moms, you may have heard the horror stories! Cracked nipples and even bleeding ones can occur, and are big no nos. This over-stimulation is definitely different from the type you get during kinky sessions in the bedroom 🤭 — your nipples are simply not used to strong, consistent sucking!
Again, as both you and your baby gets used to breastfeeding it can get painful if your baby is not latching well and stays on your breast for too long, its like when you get a blister from breaking in those new patent pumps – Ouch!
Aim your nipple towards the top of your babys’ mouth and allow the baby to take both the nipple and areola into his/her mouth, top lip resting comfortably on your breast.
This creates more surface area for comfortable latching and distribution of area for a good feed. Its like pinching your skin versus grabbing a larger area, a good latch should feel like someone is tugging at your breast, not trying to pull your nipples off.
Sore and cracked nipples could be a real dampener shortly into your breastfeeding journey and is one of the top reasons why mommies stop breastfeeding because the pain is simply too much to endure.Otherwise, have professionals check in on you as you latch and as frequently as you require. Better to get it right in the hospital while you have help!
The Key Is Preventing Cracked Bloody Nipples To Start With - Prevention is Better than Cure
You know the old saying, prevention is better than cure, having to treat cracked nipples could mean a pause in breastfeeding or pumping due to the pain.
Request for a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist if the pain continues after a couple days. You may also consider getting some nipple cream/balm to use as an emollient, it’s basically a lip balm for your nipples! Preferably one that is made from edible ingredients as your baby will be swallowing this when they latch.
Be Mentally Prepared, Persistence and Perseverance is Key
Don’t feel dejected or feel like giving up just because your body is only producing a little at the start! Your baby’s tummy is still very tiny and only needs small amounts of liquid gold to fill up, at this aforementioned ‘practice’ stage you will not see your baby swallowing often.
Know that frequency and duration vary from Baby to Baby, your baby is unique and like no other right? Some babies sleep more than other, some babies want to feed more frequently, there may be lots of different opinions and unwarranted advice – but don’t sweat it. Focus on yourself, your healing process and your baby.🥰
Your body knows this too and as your babes’ tummy grows, your milk will change, and you will start to produce more of it as the days go by. Around the second to fourth day, your baby should want to feed fairly frequently. (I know, babies are starting to actually sound like famished vampires.🧛 Lol.)
Your baby could be nursing anywhere between eight to 12 or more times day AND night! Yepp, it’s pretty darn intense for mommies, so have that mental prep beforehand, each feed session can last 10 minutes to even an hour.
That’s why persistence and perseverance is key. I know, it’s exhausting to even think about it but your new baby is still learning and figuring things out in this new world, developing the relevant muscles and coordination to nurse efficiently. But hey this is good news! The frequency of these feedings sends signals your breasts to make more milk.
Supply And Demand Of Breastmilk, The Science And the Myth
It’s all about supply and demand baby! If you ever took an economics class this is probably the first and most important takeaway concept. The first few weeks after birth is when your amazing body is super responsive to how much milk your baby is drinking and figuring out how much breast milk to make.
Your brain produces the prolactin hormone every time milk is emptied from your breasts signalling them to make more and changes the composition of your milk as time passes. The wonders of the womanly body, am I right?! Can I get a woot woot?
This period is essential for establishing good milk supply in the longer term and the more you nurse your baby, thereby emptying your breast, the more milk you make – Tadah! Supply and Demand.
Let your baby take the lead and breastfeed on demand as often as he/she wants and your breastmilk production should come naturally. It is completely normal for babies to want to nurse a lot and often, say, every 45 minutes. Just because your baby is tiny doesn’t mean they only want to feed every couple hours, this frequency also doesn’t mean you’re not producing enough breastmilk.
Sometimes babies just like the comfort of being close to you, attached to you, they did just spend months in your womb, you were breathing for your baby the whole time! This strange new world takes some adjusting to and its great bonding time for mother and child, helping to calm the baby down.
Hydration and Nutrition For Optimal Nursing Output
Please also remember to drink LOTS and LOTS of water.
You’d think this is rather obvious but Mamas, I cannot stress the importance of fluid intake. Milk is a liquid, you cannot squeeze a yummy, nutritious beverage out of a desert so please drink up! HYDRATE. Don’t forget to eat well too, mommies tend to forget about their own nutrition and meals when fussing about your new baby.
Healthy happy mama = Healthy happy baby, how will you be able to produce that nutrient rich liquid gold if you’re not eating right?
When Breastfeeding You Burn up to 500 Calories a Day Like You're Running 8KM
Being a human cow has its benefits, cause you’re burning lots of calories on depending how much breastmilk you’re producing of course!
To put that in context, an average sized runner burns around 100 calories per 1.6km. So, to burn 500 calories you have to put on your exercise wear, tie your hair up, go outside and run 8 KILOMETERS; GURLS I think just pump more breastmilk?! Can you imagine? I exercise myself but I super hate running so I think I will die if I have to go run 8km every single day to lose weight. Plus, breastfeeding is helping your uterus contract and expel your placenta naturally, reducing blood loss. How's that for a personal trainer?! Pooch be gone!
At this point, I would like to remind all mommies that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. There's immense pressure on mommies these days to get back to their pre-baby weight, we’re not all the Duchess of Cambridge with personal trainers!
It's absolutely fine to cut yourself some slack, we recently shared a post on @gooberrofficial Instagram about loving all your curves and edges because motherhood is truly a process and a journey to be enjoyed.
In a blink of an eye that baby will become a toddler, then a pre-schooler and those cuddly days couldn't slow down for you.
Eat, Relax And Get That Milk Going For Baby
By now, you'd realise that nursing your baby can be like a marathon of sorts, literally because 8km a day is no joke!
If you haven't already checked out our Breastmilk Caloric Burn Calculator to calculate exactly how many calories you're burning just by producing that amazing liquid gold! You're consuming huge amounts of calories so that your body, without any conscious will of your own, is producing liquid gold for the perfect nutrition for your baby.
At Gooberr, we help mothers with helping to protect and enhance that milk supply for your child with chemical free, delicious lactation cookies!
If you're interested in kickstarting or boosting your milk supply, some mothers absolutely find our OG chocolate chip their go-to cookie goodness.
Come and visit our store and we've got some really nifty comfortable tees for moms who just want to breastfeed and chill.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your next visit!