I’m getting very excited about my 2nd baby’s imminent arrival (any day now!). Strangely, I feel less confident about having this baby than I did with Little F. I forgot so much and so many things will be different with two little people to look after. I certainly hope that breastfeeding my second baby will be as quick and trouble free, as it was with Little F. I need any help I can get and convenience of breastfeeding can go a long way to make my days more easy-going.
During my first pregnancy I was reading a lot of baby advice and researching various option of just about anything. I also took time to relax, do yoga, pilates and meditate. This made me feel calm and in control. I was also helped by my wonderful hypnobirthing preparation CD – part of the session focuses on how well you will do once your baby is born and how well you will cope with new challenges – having this repeated over and over really seemed to work!
Now with a toddler I have less time to relax or research. I feel that I forgot everything!
One of the things I’m thinking about a lot is breastfeeding. How will it work this time round? We had a smooth start with Little F. And he was a very quick feeder – 5 minutes and he was done! I worried to start with, but as he was gaining weight and we were getting enough wet and dirty nappies I accepted that it’s his way – though all that I read told me 5 minutes is more of a snack than a meal.
All the advice I read about getting comfy with a drink and a snack, and mums telling me of books they read when breastfeeding, wasn’t going to work for me! And I could forget about writing a book while feeding – yes, one creative mum done that! As much as I would’ve enjoyed it if Little F fed for longer, this time round I hope my second baby will be a quick feeder, allowing me to attend to my toddler. And that we will have the convenience of breastfeeding for as long as we did with Little F – 11 months.
I have another thing to be excited about – apart from baby’s imminent birth. I have been selected to be a Medela Mum! We have been sent a breast pump along with a set of breastfeeding parafenalia. Over the next year you will be able to read about how and if the breast pump is making breastfeeding my second baby easier.
Breast pump isn’t the first thing that pops into your head when you think about breastfeeding. It is a very useful tool though. It helps to alleviate the hardest thing about breastfeeding – you no longer have to do it alone. Thanks to the pump you can take a break and let someone take over feeding for a short while.
I must admit I didn’t like pumping with my 1st baby. No matter how comfortable the pump was. It took up time, I’d rather spend doing something else – sleep for example. It was certainly not helping that my boy didn’t want the bottle, so all my precious milk ended up going down the drain anyway. I wasn’t getting any benefits for my efforts. Hopefully 2nd time round it will be different.
As part of the programme we have access to a breastfeeding consultant who can answer any niggling questions. Here’s three of my breastfeeding dilemmas resolved:
If I was fine with my first child is breastfeeding my second baby likely to be trouble free?
It is likely to be easier from mums view as you have confidence in your ability that your baby thrived and enjoyed breastfeeding. Confident that you both achieved a great way to nurse your baby, getting latching on well, effective milk removal. You probably had the common blips in the first few weeks when little one was learning how to latch on and remove milk, you will have had the 3 day challenge of when your milk came to volume and you were full and engorged and you may have also had the tender and sore nipples. All of your experience will make this time round a little easier as you have an understanding what to expect and when you need additional support. However it doesn’t say that this next baby is going to be easy, every baby is different and it may be a different journey, but that experience will help you get help sooner if you need it.
What is the best way to get the baby used to an occasional bottle? My first didn’t want to take a bottle until he was 8 months, which was frustrating, as I wasn’t able to leave him with anyone to have a rest.
It is advisable to wait 4-6 weeks after birth to get breastfeeding well established and the 3 week growth spurt under your belt. Start with the calma feeding device as this has been proven to support a similar tongue movement to breastfeeding by baby creating a vacuum to remove milk thus minimizing nipple teat confusion as a conventional teat is free flowing and baby adapts their mouth and tongue to regulate the flow of milk from a bottle. It is a case of keep on trying. As with your first born he just wasn’t ready for that transition until he was 8 moths old. Start with only small volumes of expressed breast milk and deliver it at body temperature so just warm. Also ask another family member, friend to try with a bottle as usually if mum tries baby will refuse and want to breastfeed. An alternative to a teat is a soft cup or doidy cup and this can give you some flexibility if you need to be apart for a few hours.
We are mostly vegetarian (though we do have an occasional fish or seafood). What should I eat/drink to ensure a good milk supply?
If you are consuming milk and cheese within your diet all you will need is to eat a balanced healthy diet and take Vitamin B12 supplements. If you don’t have dairy then you can top up your calcium requirements with foods such as Bok choy a type of cabbage that will give you 86% of calcium in 227gms and is comparable to 1 240 mls of milk. Other calcium rich foods as ground sesame seeds tofu, molasses, spinach, broccoli , kale, almonds and brazil nuts. You may find little one a little gassy because of the higher vegetable portions but it’s a case of balancing and learning which foods make him more fussy and managing his next day.
The key for lots of milk is lots of nursing. Getting that first week ( first 2-5 days) as a key to giving your milk cells the recipe to make milk – effective breast emptying means more milk production so a key in the first few weeks is about 8-12 feeds a day as a guide day and night and then things will settle down.
Eating healthily and regularly with lots of small nutritional snacks and rest when you can – and take offers of help with the ironing etc. All of these will help you feel positive and help you manage those early few weeks as you recover from birth and the demands of having a newborn.
Have you breastfeed your child(ren)? How did you find it? Have you noticed any differences between your first and subsequent babies? I’d love to hear from you, so do leave me a comment or get in touch on Twitter (@mumbalance)
PS. We have been provided with Medela breastfeeding set in exchange for a series of posts. All the opinions are entirely my own and honest.