Trust your baby, trust your breasts…

breastfeeding first time, newborn latch, newborn breastfeeding

My second son’s first latch, minutes after birth

For all mamas who are or who want to breastfeed:

Trust your body, trust birth, trust your baby, trust your breasts.

I have recently been shocked by how many women report being told that they are not producing *enough milk* in the days immediately following birth.

You are not supposed to produce milk immediately, your body is producing the perfect food for your baby, in perfect quantities – that beautiful liquid gold; COLOSTRUM. Your baby can only manage 5-7ml at a feed on day one, so you don’t need a gushingly abundant supply (nor is this ever the case since your body is perfectly capable of establishing a supply suited to YOUR baby’s need).

Watch your baby, not the clock. Offer your breasts often & without time restrictions. Aim for nursing your newborn 8-10 times within each 24 hours. If told your baby is *only* comfort feeding, smile & say “It’s never just for comfort” – by suckling at your breast, your baby stimulates your breasts, sending vital signals to your body to produce more colostrum, and gradually over a week or two, to increase the supply and your body will keep pace with your baby, the balance of nourishment/nutrients/immune protection all matching your baby’s need in a well-choreographed dance between your body & your baby.

That said, a baby sleepily suckling at your breast should not cause any more discomfort than a baby who is swift at the breast – if it hurts, gently pop them off & start again, and don’t be scared to ask for support, and to keep asking.

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but it is also an art that needs to be learned by you & your baby.

As a La Leche League Leader, I have offered support & information to pregnant and breastfeeding women for over 3 years (and prior to that as a mother to mother since my eldest son was born 6 years ago and other mothers I knew began to ask questions).  The questions and challenges remain the same but the solutions and the outcomes vary with each nursing couple, since no two mothers or babies are identical.

You can find a wealth of breastfeeding information here as well as links to finding local groups in your area:

La Leche League

NCT

BfN

ABM

Please, never *give up* because you *couldn’t* do it – make that choice to stop if it is what you truly want, but if you even slightly want to keep going, keep seeking support, you will find a way to breastfeed or human-milk-feed your baby.  Ttust your body, trust your baby, trust your breasts…

OMx

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Overheard…

“…yeah, just ask for an epidural and all the drugs…………………I’m sure then it’ll be fine….”

I was standing in the queue at the parcel collection office, two women in their early 20s were chatting, and I overheard this snippet.  It made me think.  I know many women are fearful of labour and childbirth.  What I question is why so many are fearful of a natural process, a beautiful journey that sees the interplay between mother and baby unfold so powerfully that it results in the birth of a new soul and the emergence of a mother.  And yet, they are not fearful of accepting synthetic painkillers and accept epidurals without asking the risks involved.  Many women ask for epidural in the belief it will make childbirth easier.  What they are not told is that it can inhibit their production of oxytocin, which can both reduce the effectiveness of uterine contractions, therefore making labour longer (and therefore inevitably harder) and also reducing it to such a level that the intended, natural peak of its release at birth is not sufficient to trigger that moment of all-consuming love…

This is what women should be afraid of, that their reliance on medical pain relief will affect their ability to labour and to birth their babies, and subsequently may inhibit their motherly instincts for a time.  It is essential that women also come to understand that several types of analgesics (pain medications) are associated with more crying, less breast-seeking behaviours and less sucking (ie inhibition of breastfeeding) and that babies may be less alerd, less able to orient themselves and have less organised movements than babies whose mothers did not receive medication in labour, and that these differences were measurable for the whole first month after birth (The Breastfeeding Answer Book, La Leche League International, Third Revised Edition 2003, Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC & Julie Stock, MA, IBCLC).

Women are afraid of the great unknown of labour & birth that has been the norm of human existence for thousands of years, and yet perfectly prepared to accept medical intervention that has existed for mere decades.

It is time that we encouraged all mothers to know what medical interventions mean – not simply how they may *benefit* the mother, but how they may affect her in other ways, how they may impede her natural ability to birth her baby, how they may mean her baby is born sleepy and less able to breastfeed effectively, how they may impact her health in the long term.

Until we ensure that women are presented with the risks as well as the *benefits* of intervention, there is no such thing as freedom in birth, no such thing as informed choice for pregnant, labouring, birthing women.

Don’t be afraid of what we know – that women have survived & even relished labour and childbirth for millennia.  Be afraid of what you don’t know when offered drugs that will make it *easier*.

Want to find out more – these are some good places to start…

www.aims.org.uk

www.thebirthiwant.org.uk

Want to see a good birth, a beautiful birth, what it really looks like? Check out this amazing film (only about 5 mins) and then have a good look around the rest of the site too ❤

www.documentingdelight.com

from http://www.documentingdelight.com – Madelaine’s Birth