Happy World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2018 everyone! It’s one of our holidays shared with other health care professionals and breastfeeding/chestfeeding parent community. This time around it’s August 1-7 worldwide, although each country chooses its own date, so in Canada it will be celebrated in October. In a world filled with inequality, crises and poverty, breastfeeding is the foundation for the lifelong good health for babies and mothers, that’s why the slogan of WBW 2018 is – BREASTFEEDING: Foundation of Life.
We live in a well-developed and advanced country; however, this does not mean we don’t need to breastfeed our babies. We do. Breastfeeding is the only natural and biologically suitable way to feed human babies. Option number two is a human donor milk and option number three is a formula. Physiologically and anatomically, majority of women are fully capable of breastfeeding their babies, others should be able to do it with the help of supplementation, and only a very small group of women are not able to produce any milk for their babies at all. How to tell the difference? This is a field of competency of a very skilled Lactation Consultant. In other words, if you choose to breastfeed your baby, there’s always a way! I can promise a customized solution just for you and your baby, even if you are in that third group.
Breastfeeding is not “all or nothing” situation and it does not mean “only breastmilk from the breast”. It comes in different forms and ways and it’s not defined by your gender and the way how you get the breast milk and how you feed it to your baby. It’s really an artform of raising a new tiny human just by skin-to-skin and eyes-to-eyes contact. You might find yourself exclusively pumping and bottle feeding, or inducing the lactation for one or both parents, using lactation aid with your pumped or donor breast milk, or formula. It’s still breastfeeding or chestfeeding. You can and may use different wording and definitions – and you are welcome to do so! The essence is to hold your baby close to you and to enjoy your new journey together – till the last drop of milk!
Here are few tips in how to make this experience easier from the early stages:
- Educate yourself as much as you can about breastfeeding and what to expect BEFORE you have your baby in your arms. It gives you clear understanding of natural baby physiology and anatomy, their cues and normal behaviour. And you will know how your body and your breasts/chest work. If you are expecting multiples – it’s not the verdict, breastfeeding is still really possible goal to achieve, it’s a simply question of skilled help as you go and some help to run the household while you’re busy with your babies.
- Include few items in your baby shower wish list like gift certificate for a private prenatal breastfeeding class, private breastfeeding consultation, doula service, and, yeah, even few gift certificates for a physiotherapy appointment. Believe me, you’ll need all of it more than five snowsuits or ten baby items shops gift cards. Babies really do not need that much stuff as first-time parents are usually concerned about. One more rule of thumb: parents tend to sacrifice themselves in favour of a baby and family budget needs. So, the gift certificate with a measurable purpose will make a great gift, you’ll see!
- Discuss about your wish to breastfeed with your health care professional attending your labor – ask them to give your baby a chance to perform so called “breast crawl”, when they are literally crawling from your belly to your breast, finding it, making some attempts to latch on and finally latching on and starting their breastfeeding out right. If it’s unmedicated labor, usually, baby does not need any help, just some rest. If it was C-section or medicated labor, just give your baby more time holding them on your naked belly and make sure they can breathe easily while being on your body. This is very important milestone in your breastfeeding story as this is how your naturally hard-wired to breastfeed baby is following and imprinting their inherent abilities in real life functioning after the birth. Do not get discouraged if this was not possible due to any complications of the labor or after it – babies are able to perform this special crawl up to two first weeks of their life, later that special set of reflexes starts to fade and this becomes more difficult to repeat. Meanwhile you may want to hand express your colostrum and give it to your baby.
- Make sure your baby is really drinking at the breast from the first days and as a proof you see a good output in the diapers: bowel movements and urination is really present and it increases in volume and numbers with every day. This is a simple and very effective tool to know that breastfeeding is going really well from the babe’s perspective.
- Try to keep your baby as close to you and as much as possible. Skin-to-skin is a truly miraculous and free tool we can use from the first minutes of baby’s life. If things get complicated and your skin (bare breasts) is not available for some time, use your partner, family member or close friend for that, no problem! It calms the baby, help maintain their body temperature better, baby’s heart beat and breathing become better supported. As a bonus it creates a great bond between you two and boosts your milk supply.
- Do not ignore ANY soreness or discomfort of your nipples. It’s not just a slogan, it’s a real fact: breastfeeding should not be painful, not even for a few times, not even till some change of colour and shape, not at all. Do not struggle through the pain, get help right away. It gets worse in few hours, not even days!
- Be aware of the possible tongue-tie and/or lip-tie and get your baby carefully examined for this as it can really affect baby’s latch and ability to transfer milk efficiently. It can be fixed by simple snip and your breastfeeding experience might be improved dramatically.
- Do not buy anything like “Oh, the latch is just perfect! It truly is! And the positioning is really good!”, if you still are sore, your nipples get misshaped or even damaged, your baby does not look like a happy camper at the breast. Trust your gut. Trust your body and your baby. You have those instincts deep inside you. Get a real skilled help. Change few providers, look for a private one-on-one consult as this can really become a game changer. You deserve to be cared for. Your personal breastfeeding goals matter. Go for it!
If you require urgent help with breastfeeding:
Call or text @ 416-804-9300