breastfeeding or bottle feeding for World Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding Baby Holly

WHEN it comes to breastfeeding, somehow I lucked upon good babies, or good boobies – not sure which. However, as you’ll note by the title, I’m not giving you sure-fire tips to breastfeeding success. I’m also not going to beat you over the head with my fully loaded knockers about why you should breastfeed. Sometimes things just don’t happen that way, as Penny so wonderfully put in her post on Sshh, mummy’s on the phone this week.

So you won’t find any corny slogans like “mummy’s milk is better than any udder’s milk’’ and “silly Daddy, boobs are for babies’’. Instead, as part of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d share some of the things I know about breastfeeding. What worked for me and how I managed to get through.

So, here’s what I know about breastfeeding:

  • Get as much help as possible. I’m not ashamed to admit, with Ella, The Bloke in The Shed did much of the latching on. On my boobs, not his. For the first two days, he was responsible for the “midwives whack’’. Which brings me to the next point…
  • There are lots of techniques, but for me it was the “midwives whack’’. Pretty much, tickle bubs cheek ‘til they open their mouth wide like a yawn, then quickly whack the babies head onto the boob, aiming for the roof of their mouth. (It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?).
  • If bub doesn’t latch properly, don’t persevere with the feed. Take bub off, by breaking the suction with your little finger, and start again. Otherwise you’ll regret it. Yep, ouch.
  • Relax. I know, yeah right. It is important though. My trick was to breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and breathe out for four seconds. Do this a couple of times and you’ll start to feel your letdown happening. Alternatively, a hot drink can also do the trick. This can work for expressing milk too.
  • Don’t do major physical exertion in those early weeks. After walking all the way to the shop and back, Ella screamed for the next six hours. Turns out, I’d over exerted my body and therefore the milk tankers were temporarily out of action.
  • Use a pillow for greater comfort. Don’t listen to the midwife who snaps: “you can’t take a pillow out in public with you’’.  Lucky I stay home then, isn’t it?
  • Pethidine will play havoc with breastfeeding. Baby Holly was drowsy for “weeks’’ and therefore a lazy sucker. Umm, you know what I mean… I wish someone had told me this, because I would have had another all-natural birth. Obviously, this can’t always be avoided.
  • If colic, ear infections or teething have bub wrestling with you, put them in a more sitting position to feed.
  • Some foods may upset bub. It’s all trial and error. With Ella, it was tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Holly will drink it, regardless of what’s in it. She ain’t fussy.
  • TRY and avoid caffeine – chocolate, coffee and tea. Or suffer the consequences. Some days, I’m happy to suffer the consequences.
  • During developmental leaps (when baby goes feral – aka The Wonder Weeks), baby will be fussier when it comes to feeding. These are the times most women give up. Try, if you can, to get through it. It is only temporary.
  • Go easy on yourself. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. Strangely, when your bub turns 18 and goes for their first job, one of the questions won’t be whether they liked boob or not.

I am not a breastfeeding expert, Just a mum with weapons of mass lactation. So please contact your local lactation consultant or the Australian Breastfeeding Association if you need assistance.

What are your breastfeeding tips? If breastfeeding didn’t happen for you, what was your experience like?

I’m linking up with Yay for Home as part of Things I Know.

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23 Responses to Tips that MAY help make breastfeeding easier (for World Breastfeeding Week)

  1. Breastfeeding so did not happen for me and I’m still upset about it!
    My first was born via emergency c-section and was doppy for quite a while, then I struggled to produce milk and he got impatient refusing to latch on for long enough to let down. I asked so many people and places for help, but I got the same advise every time. “Express or feed more often, that will increase your milk”. It did not. I’d express for almost 12 hours a day and get 40-60mls for my efforts. It was exhausting and despite the fact I was starving my baby, guilt prevented me from buying a tin of formula. We struggled on with expressed feeds for SIX months.
    Baby 2 I assured myself would be better but for different reasons the whole experience was another nightmare, she just would not latch and hatted being held. I even paid $200 from my own pocket to see a lactation consultant {I’d been given the boot from hospital 36hrs after ANOTHER c-section to relieve bedspace, and because she was born at Easter and no one from the hospital was available for home visits}. The lactation consultant said “well she’s stubborn isn’t she” and that was that. I fed her {without touching her} for three months with expressed milk before collapsing with exhaustion and switching to formula. I envy those people who for whatever combination of reasons slip into a good breastfeeding routine. I had planned to breastfeed both for well over 12 months, but fate had other ideas. Both times I was house bound, my mobile milk tankers and what should have been an easy on demand food supply was my biggest heartache.
    Sorry I couldn’t reply with a more cheery experience – II like that last tip… although it’s easier said than done.

    • Kel says:

      Oh Carly, I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through all that. I admire you for sticking with it for so long. That’s such a huge effort. I’m not sure how I would have coped. Being as stubborn and determined as I am, I most probably would have done the same and had similar feelings to you.
      Thanks for being so open and honest. I think it’s really important to show both sides of breastfeeding. It’s stories like yours that also need to be told. xx

  2. Great post!!

    I’ve been so lucky that coffee hasn’t affected my babes too much (coke on the other hand has immediate consequences!)

    PS weapons of mass lactation… LOVE it!

    • Kel says:

      Hehe! Glad you liked it!
      That’s so great to hear it went well for you, Kate. Lucky you on the coffee too. I’m tolerating the decaf!! It’s just not the same though!!! 😉

  3. I have been lucky too and never had any major problems with breastfeeding. My biggest tip is not to give up around the six weeks old mark. A big percentage of Mums stop around then. At six weeks (roughly) your milk supply is just settling in and buby is growing through a growth spurt, and it feels like you are continually feeding, that buby is always hungry and not getting enough, and this can be really disheartening and worrying. Don’t give up, just keep on feeding and feeding. It will settle down in a few weeks. If you are really concerned during those weeks you could always offer bub a top up formula bottle after you have given them a full feed from both breasts 🙂

    • Kel says:

      Oh, you’re so right. That six week mark is really tough, Kate. But so worth pushing through it. Thanks for adding that. That’s brilliant! 🙂

  4. Love this post!

    I credit my own experience with successfully breastfeeding to support and my local ABA group/Breastfeeding Helpline. I found the ABA to such a great source of help that I’m actually now training to work as a volunteer on the breastfeeding helpline!

    • Kel says:

      What a brilliant thing to do, Holly. That’s really great. I’d love to eventually do something similar. I hold the ABA in such high regard.
      All the best with your training and eventual volunteering. xx

    • Moodi Mumma says:

      That’s awesome Holly!! Wishing you all the best in your training and volunteering xo

  5. Jess says:

    My experience was very challenging and i agree with the advise to get every bit of help you can if things are not going well. ABA, early childhood nurse, tresillian, local family care cottage, i used them all multiple times as well as alot of my own research trying to figure out why feeding wasnt going to plan. Wonder weeks are also a challenge! (i liked to think of them as hell weeks! Bubs would feed almost constantly!) but they only lasted a week or so and it was always so cool to see what they had discovered on the other side of them. I am proudly still feeding my little man at 13 months and the many happy moments have well and truely outweighed all the early months of pain. I too am thinking of volunteering for the ABA helpline as their non judgemental support was incredible when i was at my most vunerable.

    • Kel says:

      That’s wonderful you were able to gain that support, Jess. It really is so important. And love that you’re thinking of volunteering too. Such a great thing to do.
      I breastfed Ella for 14 months and only stopped because it started to get a little difficult juggling it with work. I really didn’t enjoy expressing in the back office during my lunch hour. This time, with Baby Holly, I’m working from home so I’m planning on feeding for as long as I can! x

  6. nellbe says:

    I think the biggest thing that shocked me is that it does not come naturally for everyone and the poor bub does have to learn to latch on. The first few weeks and months can be a trial and painful but gosh it is simply amazing once you both find that rhythm. Buy lanolin for the nipples, you will need it!

    • Kel says:

      I remember feeling all thumbs when I started. There was so many things to coordinate at once. But, I agree, so incredible when it happens.
      Oh yes, lanolin is a must. Also, the milk itself used do to wonders for healing too. That stuff has superpowers (you’ve reminded me that I need to write that post!).
      Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  7. Shae says:

    I love this post and I love that you linked it up!
    But I do love breastfeeding 🙂

  8. Mama Cass says:

    Great post and great advice. The boy was a shocker and lasted 7 weeks, while the girl went 9 months. She was great from the start, 6 weeks old, weighing just 1kg, and latched on better than the boy ever did.

    • Kel says:

      That’s so funny you say that, Mama Cass. My sister had a similar experience. Her son just wasn’t interested at all, but her daughter didn’t have a problem. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Moodi Mumma says:

    Great post Kellie :o) I loved the “midwifes whack” lol…. I hope it’s ok that I share a technique that worked well with me for ensuring bubs latched on properly?
    What worked for me was laying bub in a position that met with the natural position of my nipple (now would be just about around my belly button 😉 then I would lift my nipple to the tip of bubs nose. This would lead to an automatic wide opening of the mouth with the tongue in a good position for latching on, I would then slide the nipple down into bubs mouth, onto the tongue. This had a success rate for me of about 98%
    Thanks for sharing Kel xox

    • Kel says:

      I’m so glad you shared that, MM. You reminded me of all the extra little things I did when trying to get the girls to latch on. That’s brilliant. So thank you.
      Funny how you forget all these things when you get into a rhythm. It seems to just “happen” now!

  10. Kirsty says:

    Great post and great tips (just had to check I spelt that right, it looks slightly inappropriate…) I was not able to successfully breastfeed – I tried 3 times and failed 3 times. But while I would have liked it to have worked out it was best for my babies (and for me) to accept it wasn’t working and help them thrive the best way I could. To sadly misquote you Kel, as in Iraq, they could never find my weapons of mass lactation!!!

    • Kel says:

      LOL!! Love that, Kirsty. Now I can’t see “tips” in any other way!! hehe!
      You’re right about finding the best way to make them thrive, whether that’s breastfeeding or bottle feeding. They are so lucky to have you. xx

  11. […] WEAPONS of mass lactation look more like shrinking violets after a year of being sucked dry by Baby Holly. It’s the signal for her to transition from one old cow (me) onto a new cow (shiny plastic bottle […]

  12. […] before how incredibly fortunate I’ve been that my four girls (bazookas and children) have made breastfeeding a pretty easy task. I also might add that it’s been an immense help in decreasing my waistline. Sadly, it looks like […]

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