In 2014 Olivia Wilde made headlines for a photo shoot she did with Glamour magazine that included a shot of her breastfeeding her son. The backlash included people who were offended by her breastfeeding in public and other people who felt her glamorous shot made it look easy.
Despite all the viral breastfeeding sensations that have hit the webisphere long before that and since then, the bottom line is that no matter how anyone feels about it, breastfeeding is a huge part of every mother’s life – whether she chooses to do it or not.
Today marks the end of Breastfeeding awareness week. World Breastfeeding week is in its 25th year, it is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. WABA focus on sustainable development and they have linked breastfeeding to 17 sustainable development goals including no poverty, zero hunger and good health and well-being.
Be that as it may, breastfeeding is personal and every person has a different experience so being female, yet not a mom, I spent the week expanding my knowledge on breastfeeding by chatting to 5 new moms in my life, to hear their perspectives and breastfeeding tips first-hand.
Athena (Mom to a girl, aged 3 years and a boy, aged 8 months)
Breastfeeding isn’t easy but if you put in the effort in the first 6 weeks it gets easier without a doubt.
For the first 3 weeks, ensure that you are feeding every 3 hours. It is tough but it’s important to get the supply up. It’s most important to monitor the baby’s weight for the first 6 weeks to ensure that he or she is growing – that why you’ll know if you’re feeding enough. If you aren’t sure you’re producing enough, pump for about 5 minutes each side after each feed to increase supply.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see loads of milk, some moms just aren’t made for expressing. It doesn’t mean that the baby isn’t getting enough.
My best advice is not to stress about what you are producing. Just feed the baby whenever the baby seems interested. And, use Lanolin for sore nipples – Despite it being said that a good latch doesn’t hurt, it’s not exactly pain-free either.
Asma (Mom to a girl, aged 13 months)
I breastfed for 8 months and didn’t experience major issues but having said that, no one tells you honestly how hard breastfeeding is, especially in the first few weeks. Hormones are flying and the sleep deprivation doesn’t help.
People always say the breast is best but I think people need to be kinder to new mothers. Feeding your child is what’s best. Every mom wants to do her best, the pressure to breastfeed doesn’t make it easier.
My best advice is to have a support network; friends or family or a lactation specialist and be ready to have your breasts out all the time. Get a good breastfeeding cover the covers all the way around. I researched covers but ultimately made my own multi purpose car seat breastfeeding cover under my lifestyle brand for moms called Penny Lane.
Mushkie (Mom to a boy, aged 4 months)
In the first days after birth, your breasts feel uncomfortable but be patient. Your body needs time to know how much milk to make. Only express a little to make you feel comfortable so that your body doesn’t think you need to produce more than you do. Eventually, it stabilises and you’ll feel comfortable again.
Make sure to wear a bra even at night, sometimes you leak and if you don’t have a bra your shirt will soak. Also, wear a nursing pad when going out to avoid embarrassing milk leaking episodes.
My best advice is to try to be calm and relaxed while feeding. The baby can tell and will feed better when you are relaxed. Also, don’t bother to get good bras until 2 weeks after birth once your milk stabilises and your size will be more accurate.
Kerry (Mom to a girl, aged 3 ½ years and a boy, aged 12 weeks)
Breastfeeding is hungry work, drink lots throughout the day and have lots of healthy snacks on hand while feeding or in between. I find that dried mango, Nãkd Bars, Carob Rice Cakes, Granola bars and Woolworths cut up fruit are the easiest to grab in the few moments you have.
I also found that Fenugreek capsules really helped with my milk supply in the beginning and on growth spurt days.
My best advice is a recipe for a nipple cream mixture given to me by a lactation consultant Brenda Pierce. Ask your pharmacist to mix the following ingredients: 15g Bactroban + 20g Mylocort + 15g Covospor + 20g Nystacid. Put it on your nipples after every feed – It literally got me through the first 2 weeks.
Cally (Mom to a boy, aged 10 months)
Breastfeeding is really hard at the beginning, you just have to keep going, It takes about 2 weeks to settle in and produce enough. Drinks lots of water and mix electrolytes and Berry elixir into it. Call a breastfeeding consultant to come to your home ASAP.
I still breastfeed at night and love it. As a working mom, I need another way of connecting with him. It’s healthy for him and it’s great knowing that I can provide sustenance for my baby.
My best breastfeeding tips for moms going back to work is to use the Medela Breast Pump. Use the electric one and not hand and the double pump so you can pump both breasts at once. It’s best for when you are at work and short on time.
What are your breastfeeding tips, views and experiences? Share in the comments and subscribe for more articles like this.
Main Image: Glamour Magazine
Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.