Parenting is such a thing that everybody thinks she knows how to do it perfectly, especially if it not about her own child. Breastfeeding is also a ‘topic of everybody’ – when, where, how, how long and so on. It can be very confusing if everybody provides different information, and the situation is more problematic if they belong to your close family.
Here I’d like to collect some views about breastfeeding which can be useful in the first few months. I also had to face these problems, but now I know what to do to give the best to my child.
- Challenges of the first few days – when you’re expecting your baby, you read a lot of things (e.g. magazines, Internet). There breastfeeding is shown as a very beautiful and happy thing without any difficulties (and I can tell you it will be!). Then your baby is born and you have to do it alone (if not, you are very lucky), you realize that it can hurt for the first time, you can’t provide so much milk as you imagined. But calm down. Your baby knows what she needs. Just lie down with her, leave her decide when she wants to connect to you. Don’t be surprised if she wants it all day. After the first few days it will be a lot easier. Don’t forget a child will not die of hunger on her own decision. (For the pain concentrated lanolin is a good choice.)
Timing – (In Hungary) this is one of the biggest controversial topics. Unfortunately a lot of mothers watch the clock to decide whether to feed their baby or not. They think that it is not good for the baby’s tummy if they nurse them more often than in every 3 or 4 hours. But if you breastfeed your baby in harmony with your baby’s need, your life will be easier, your baby will be more balanced than ever.
Quantity measuring – In my opinion one of the biggest enemies of a well-feeded baby (the other is the clock) is baby scale. Can you imagine that you eat the same amount of food for every meal? Sometimes the baby is hungrier, sometimes she is just thirsty, or my personal favorite is when she just wants you. I call is ‘comfort-boobing’. (There can be cases when measuring is important for the doctor, but not in a case of a healthy child). Don’t forget a baby won’t die of hunger on her own decision. When our health visitor asks how much my daughter eats, I always say so much that she is not hungry.
Developmental leaps – There are stages in the baby’s life, when she wants more milk for her growing. It occurs after two weeks, three months, and six months. These are the developmental leaps. Your only task is to meet her needs. Milk producing is based on a demand-supply principle. The more you nurse, the more milk you can give her.
Breastfeeding in public – For the first time I would say that it depends on your temperament. Then for the second time I would ask: Do you eat only at home? If my baby wants to breastfeed, I give her the chance to do it any when and anywhere. You just need to wear clothes which are suitable for it. A textile diaper or a baby sling can help to wrap you. At last but not least I guess on the beach you show a lot more than during breastfeeding. Of course it is not necessary to make it a public event, but within certain borders it won’t disturb the others and the others won’t disturb you.
- Vomiting babies – It can happen that you see back the unconsumed milk from your baby. Sometimes it seems a big amount but try to pour some to the floor, it will seem more than it really is. To avoid it with your baby, start breastfeeding for the first signs, she won’t be hogging it, and she won’t swallow so much air. Don’t forget, babies are born with immature digestive system, the older they are the less problems you will have with feeding.
I’d like to share two other problems with you with which I don’t have personal experience but I heard about them or some of my friends experienced them. I hope these will also be useful for you.
Mastitis – If you experience sudden high temperature and symptoms like flu, it must be mastitis. There are three types: supersaturation, infectious mastitis and non-infectious mastitis . Most of the mothers usually experience mastitis because their breasts are full. The best thing to do is breastfeeding. Fortunately I’ve never had one, but some of my friends had. According to them choosing the best position can help a lot, even you fell it’s funny. For example you lie down your baby on her back, you go on your hands and feet and try breastfeeding this way. Gravitation will also help you. If you feel that it is needed and makes you feel better, try to use a breast pump. If you won’t get better within 24 hours, consult with your doctor because in case of infectious mastitis you’ll need some antibiotics!
Baby strike against breastfeeding – If a baby doesn’t want to breastfeed, it is not likely that she wants to stop it, just she has something uncomfortable feelings against it. The reasons can be various: pain because of illness, pain because of baby teeth, uncomfortable position during breastfeeding, changed daily routine, mom’s period come back , etc. Don’t be afraid, she will stop striking after a few days. During the strike try to help her. Start breastfeeding for the first signs and do it in a calm place. My children have never been on strike, but my little daughter dislikes eating in the living-room because it is noisy for her. Try new positions. My son loved eating in the bed, but my daughter’s favorite is armpit-position. The most important rule is: Think about breastfeeding as if it was the ONLY way to feed your children. This will also help you solving the problem.
This is not a complete list, but I’d try to collect the most common problems for the first few months. But it is not an impossible mission to overcome them. Believe me I’m a practicing mother of a 2-year-old boy and a 3-month-old girl and I’m a breastfeeding fan!
Molnár, Á.(2012, September). A mellgyulladás kezelése (Treating mastitis), Anyák lapja, p14-16
Mohrbacher, N. Szopási sztrájk (Strike against breastfeeding). Retrieved July 17, 2013 from http://www.lll.hu/fuzetek/szopasi_sztrajk
Disclaimer: On occasion, a mother/baby breastfeeding dyad is be compromised by a medical situation. If your intuition tells you baby's signs are needing extra attention, please do what you believe is best for you and baby. Good sources for special circumstances in breastfeeding include LLLI and kellymom (do you have a good resource? Comment below!). Please don't give up, you can breastfeed as long as you would like!