I was recently approached by a pregnancy and parenting magazine asking if I would like to advertise with them. I looked through their publication and was really pleased but then I came across an article on “breast is best” which listed all the benefits of breastmilk.
Although well intentioned, this article has a really dated approach. Most mothers want to breastfeed, which is why initiation rates are really high. The dramatic drop off though means efforts should be on sustaining this so they can reach their personal goals. New mums who stop breastfeeding before they want to haven’t forgotten how amazing breastmilk is, but instead have come across difficulties, or have been given damaging advice.
So with this in mind, I contacted the magazine and they replied asking me to rewrite the article! I wrote it based on what women really want to know- not why breastmilk is better, but what to do if it is uncomfortable or you are worried about your milk supply. Have a look and let me know what you think!
Breastfeeding goals- Reach out with any questions!
Breastfeeding, like all new skills, can take time and practice to learn so it becomes comfortable and easy. There are lots of excellent support services available to help you reach your breastfeeding goals including phonelines, websites, lactation consultants and face to face support groups. Check out The National Breastfeeding helpline (0300 100 0212), La Leche League (LLL) and the Association of breastfeeding mothers (ABM). The Department of Health and World Health Oganisation recommends your baby has only breastmilk for the first 6 months of their life, and alongside other foods for 2 years.
Your breastmilk is amazing:
- Your breastmilk provides all the nutrients your baby needs as it changes on a feed by feed basis, responding to the weather, the age of your baby and to any infections you or baby have come into contact with.
- Breastfeeding is part of the bonding process and many mums find it becomes an intrinsic part of their parenting as it settles a baby who is hungry, tired, hurt, or needs comforting.
Many new mums worry about their milk supply, so things you can do to keep it high include:
- Skin to skin. This soothes baby and stimulates the hormones which makes your milk
- Stay close to baby so feeding cues are not missed.
- Breastfeed regularly. Schedules reduce milk supply whereas more breastfeeds= more milk!
- Get quality breastfeeding support with positioning and attachment. If breastfeeding is comfortable for you then baby will get the milk effectively too.
- Try the ‘laid back’ position. This activates baby’s natural instincts to breastfeed (see pic)
- Hand express or find out about breast compressions as this increases your milk supply and confidence
- Avoid dummies, other milks or water ‘top ups’ as this lowers your milk supply
- Trust in your body’s ability to love, grow and feed your baby (but get support if you need it)
- Prioritise learning to breastfeed (limit visitors or perhaps ask them to bring meals or tidy up)
- Enlist your partner’s support who has the important role of caring for you. Dads can bond by bathing baby, changing nappies, cuddling, skin to skin and settling baby.
You are legally protected in the UK to breastfeed your baby in public. Meeting other breastfeeding mums can help you build the confidence to meet your baby’s needs when out and about. You can attend a local breastfeeding support group such as one run by La Leche League [Which comes from the Spanish word for milk]