World Breastfeeding Week (Part I)
This week is World Breastfeeding Week, a week dedicated to breastmilk, breastfeeding, and everything around this perfect source of nutrition.
Breastmilk a superfood that is actually worthy of the label, according to Bruce German, a chemist at the Foods for Health Institute, at the University of California.
Breastfeeding is important, beautiful, is contact, is giving a piece of yourself to your baby.
In the beginning, breastfeeding can be challenging. Nursing a small human being, finding the right position so that you are both comfortable, learning the feeding cues, dealing with nipple discomfort, full-milk-breasts, continuous feedings, and last but not least, dealing with ‘advice’ from everyone.
Everyone around you knows best because they have breastfed and X has worked for them… but that doesn’t mean that that will work for you as well.
Trust yourself and be patient with yourself and your baby
After the birth of your baby, everything is new. You are just getting used to all the things that come with being a new mom. One of the most important tips I can give you as a doula is to take the time to do this at your own pace. Especially learning how to breastfeed. It takes time to become a team.
As long as you can or want, keep visitors out of your hospital room and home. Finding the rhythm together with your little one is crucial for making breastfeeding a success. Indulge yourself the first few days after birth with no one around, besides your husband and kids. Everyone else can wait.
A common ‘mistake’ is giving in to the expectancy of others wanting to see your newborn. It’s completely understandable because we don’t want to disappoint others. But this phase is too important to think about anyone else than you and your baby.
I have asked 1400 woman to share their experiences with breastfeeding, so here it comes, honest and raw:
- Breastfeeding isn’t only about feeding. It’s comforting your baby by feeling mom close, feeling safe, helping strengthen the immune system of your baby, bonding and so much more.
- The period after birth is so short and there’s no second time round. I felt overwhelmed with my first baby by the new situation. So many things I had to learn. If I could do it over again, I would have taken more time alone with my baby, right after birth, to breastfeed, to connect without “other eyes”.
- That breast isn’t always best. Sometimes it just doesn’t work and that that’s not the end of the world.
- To go with the flow… accept the fact that certain days you will have a baby most of the day attached to your breast. Feeling insecure and at the same time feeling secure because you know what’s best for your baby.
- Don’t plan anything and let go of every expectation.
- Breastfeeding my baby is the best and purest contact I had with my little one. A moment of peace, serenity, and calm.
- Throw all feeding schedules out the door. Every baby is different. Avoid clocking the time that your baby is drinking. Babies know best for that matter. They let go of your breast when they’ve had enough… Breastfeeding in this way helps to maintain your milk production and keeps your little one (and yourself) happy.
- Trust your own gut instincts and trust your baby. Although you’re a new mom, you know best. In case of doubt, ask a lactation professional, an experienced doula, or a midwife. For breastfeeding information, I would avoid going to your medical doctor. For the simple fact that we don’t go to the baker to buy meat.
It was important for me that I had someone to go to in case of need. And to find this person or place before you give birth.
- When breastfeeding, your uterus shrinks faster after the delivery with less blood loss and fewer chances of hemorrhoids. Doctors even say that women who have breastfed have a lower chance of getting breast cancer.
- Your breast is always within reach and your milk is always ready, at the right temperature.
Throughout this week I will share with you additional experiences from mothers as well as my personal and professional experience as a doula, the science about breastfeeding, microbiome, etc. In the meantime, feel free to comment or share my article.