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5 Top Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Breastfeeding

Although breast milk is the definition of nature’s wonder food, sometimes our fear of breastfeeding can be disturbing.

It substantially lowers a baby’s risk of developing ear infections, stomach bugs, respiratory illnesses, some cancers, allergies, obesity, type II diabetes and meningitis.

Not only are there good outcomes for the baby, but mum benefits too!

It has been found that mothers who breastfeed for 12 months or longer have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In addition, it can help with post-baby weight loss, recovery from labour, and to fight off postnatal depression and anxiety.

However, there are many mums that simply do not feel confident or supported enough to breastfeed.

This article hopes to address the fears, concerns, and questions of those mums who want to breastfeed but have a few obstacles to overcome first.

fear-of-breastfeeding


Worthy of note is that the internet has a massive range of articles and tips on breastfeeding, including your rights as a breastfeeding woman. Without further ado the top hurdles for breastfeeding mums


1) My milk has come in – will I always be in this much pain?

You could give Pamela Anderson a run for her money, shame those new boobs are so solid and painful! To top it off it feels like you have a hot water bottle attached to your chest.


Top pain tips:

Keep in mind that the swelling will go down!


After 24-72 hours you should be around half that size and not as rock hard. You may still find you are quite big and tender when your baby starts taking longer nights of sleep, however that too will diminish as your body learns to regulate your milk supply.


It is important not to pump milk at this stage. As tempting as it may be. If you pump milk it will send the message to your body that it needs to maintain this level of milk.


Your baby feeding will regulate the supply on his or her own. Pop a disposable nappy or wet facecloth in the freezer and then stuff it down your cleavage – you will find this very soothing.


2) My nipples are cracked and sore – how do I feed?

This is ‘normal’ in the first month or two.


Our top tips are:

Have a chat with a lactation consultant or midwife to make sure baby’s latch is okay


Apply healing balm, it really does work Let your nipples have some drying time and a bit of exposure to the sun. Just make sure there isn’t a nosey neighbour across the fence if you are topless in the backyard.


There are nipple shields that you can use. It is not recommended to use them all the time as they can mess with baby’s latch and change your milk supply. However they are hugely helpful to get through short term nipple pain.


3) My baby is coughing/pulling away/crying and unlatching when I start feeding – why?

Chances are you have a strong let down reflex. If you ever express you may see this by milk spraying out into the bottle very quickly and forcefully when you first start pumping. You may find that this is worse in the morning compared with later in the day.


Our top tip:

Express a little in your pump prior to feeding or once you feel the reflex happening – pull baby away and let the milk collect in a tissue before reattaching baby to continue feeding.


You may also feel a sharp pain when you get your letdown reflex. This normally doesn’t last the whole feed and it will diminish over the coming weeks.


4) My baby’s poos have gone green – what is going on?

Most important thing to remember here is that babies’ poos are a range of colours and this could be normal.


Our tips in order of medical importance:

The most likely reason, and least problematic, is too much foremilk.


Our breast milk is comprised of foremilk (comes first, more sugar/carbohydrate) and hind milk (comes last, more fat). If we produce slightly too much foremilk, baby will tend to get full before they have had enough hind milk.


This can lead to them feeding more frequently, gaining weight very slowly, being fussy/not sleeping well, and having green poos. One thing you can do is to focus on feeding from one breast at a time.


Make sure baby completely drains an entire boob and then either express, or leave, or feed from the other one depending on you and your baby’s needs.


The other option is to express a small amount of milk from each breast before feeding baby.


Rarely, your baby may be intolerant to something you are eating and the protein of that food is passing through your breast milk to your baby. The most likely culprits are egg, soy, gluten, dairy, nuts and fish.


If this is suspected you will need to see a paediatrician, allergist or nutritionist to figure out which food it is and work out an appropriate diet to continue breastfeeding.


The other check the doctor should do is for lactose intolerance. This is very rare, but if it is the case then you will not be able to breastfeed as our breast milk is made up of lactose. You will have to swap to a lactose-free formula.


If this is a new development, particularly if accompanied by fever, get to your GP or paediatrician and check that baby has not picked up a nasty food bug – this can happen through contaminated bottles, germs being on someone’s hands and passing to baby’s mouth and so on.


5) My baby seems to be fussy and I feel empty by the evening – is she/he getting enough milk from me?

We all had those moments of panic, overwhelmed at 3am, wondering why the baby is screaming for more milk and worried that you have none to give them. It is normal for milk supply to drop in the afternoon/evening and pick back up in the morning.


Tips to help:

Something which may help is to express after the morning feed when you still have plenty of milk.


That way you have a backup bottle to feed bub when they are up in the middle of the night and you feel completely drained. This can save you from ever having to use formula.


If you really are not getting any milk, the baby is not gaining or is losing weight, then have a chat to a medical professional. There are tablets they can prescribe to help increase supply.


Lastly, try and pump in between feeds. Even if you get nothing from pumping, it will still help to stimulate supply.


Always let baby suckle when they want to. Even if you feel you have no milk. The suckling will help stimulate milk production in a few days when they may be going through a growth spurt.


Remember it is normal for a baby to suddenly need more than you have available. Your body is very responsive and your supply will pick up within a day or two if you let the baby suckle.


This can be really tough but nature will prod baby to demand more milk when a growth spurt is on the way, this helps increase your supply in time for the baby’s extra energy needs.


These are just five of the top fear of breastfeeding I have heard from mums. If you have the above issues or any others, please consult your local health practitioners. Happy breastfeeding!

Read also examples of family goals

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