My breastfeeding journey continues up to this day. I never thought I would keep it for so long. I always had in my mind that nursing for a year is more than enough. Actually, when I first started, my initial goal was to be able to breastfeed for 3 months, then for 6 months, for 9 months and for a year maximum. It did not matter what I want because my baby had a different opinion and she wouldn’t let the boob that easily. She nurses when she is teething, sad, tired or wants to sleep. People around us are usually surprised when they hear that I am still breastfeeding her, and honestly I would be too before I had Amelia, but now I know better. I just follow my child and what it feels right to me. Not even once all these months I have felt like I should stop nursing her.
However, it hasn’t been that easy, especially after she turned one. Maybe I was expecting too much, like her to sleep better or breastfeed less often and when I realised none of these were happening I had a difficult time with breastfeeding agitation. That lasted until she became 14 months old and at this point I made up my mind to continue nursing her until she is two. In general, breastfeeding requires a lot of effort from the mother and support from the people around her. It is not the simplest thing in the world to have a baby that completely depends on you for her feeding and oftentimes you may be insecure about your supply or you may be exhausted. That is why finding opportunities for sleep and rest whenever possible will make you a happier and more patient mom.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, it sound so natural to me mostly because growing up I listened to my parents talking about it and how good it is for a baby. The main reasons I managed to do it were because firstly, I took a class for expecting mothers, which gave me all the information I needed and secondly, I was very calm. I said to myself that even if I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, my baby would still survive and be healthy by drinking formula. It would be great if we make it, but it is ok if we wouldn’t. All it mattered was the baby to be fed. I was so lucky, she latched immediately after she was born and I cannot express all the happiness and love I felt those moments.
We should not forget that every case is different and not all moms can or want to breastfeed and it is totally ok. Chosing to breastfeed doesn’t make any of us a better mother. Below I will show you about what I learned from the class I took and talk about my experience. I am not a breastfeeding counselor and these are just general rules for full – term born babies. For any problem with you or the baby you should talk to your doctor.
Things that can affect your milk supply.
- Breastfeeding on demand. Nursing frequency and duration have a huge impact on your milk supply. A newborn may stay on the breast for 18 hours a day and that is perfectly normal. The more a baby is nursing the more milk you will have. Anything from 8 to 12 or more times a day is totally expected. Breast milk digests faster than formula and as a result your baby is hungry more often. Infants go through growth spurts when they are getting ready for their next milestone and they may breastfeed for many and many hours and mothers might think that they are not getting enough milk, but it is all very normal. You just offer in demand, everything is fine as long as the baby is gaining enough weight and has at least 4-6+ wet diapers a day, according to www.kellymom.com .
- Hydration. Water, water, water. Drink as much water as possible. Dehydration is one of the main reasons that can drop your milk supply. Your body needs liquids to produce liquids.
- Nutrition. Mother’s milk is the best milk for a baby, even if she eats junk food. The baby will absorb all the nutrients he needs from mother’s body but eating well and healthy in this demanding period is crucial. A balanced diet will fuel you with all the needed energy. Keep in mind, though, that having lots of healthy snacks all the time, will keep you away from indulging to cakes and all the nutrient-poor foods. I don’t even know how I got to my pre – baby weight with all that food I am eating. I am more hungry than when I was pregnant and I need to eat all the time. Seriously, I have to eat every hour something. Some days I consume so much food that I am sure I must have gained at least 2 kg. The good think is that with breastfeeding you lose many calories too. Balance is the key.
Breastfeed as soon as possible from birth. Newborns in their first two hours of life are awaken and are very alert about the world around them. They are looking for their mothers, so ideally they should be placed on their mom’s chest for some skin to skin and then they start to crawl and breastfeed on their own. Newborns have this ability for a couple of hours after delivery and then they usually will sleep for most of the time. The same goes for the mothers who had a c-section. I had a c-section myself and I nursed her immediately after birth.
Breastfeeding does not hurt. You may already have heard this somewhere, but it is true. If you feel pain then you are doing something wrong and baby doesn’t latches as she is supposed to do, so don’t keep suffering, ask a counselor to show you the right way. Even if the first weeks are hard, pain will go away, but the baby still will not be positioned well and most likely not feeding well. It is very important to get help. Also, in the first months a breastfeeding pillow will save your life. The baby will nurse for so long that your back and arms may hurt, so buy one and you will see a great difference.
Always offer both breasts. During breastfeeding first comes the foremilk, which is lower in calories and then hindmilk comes as the feeding progresses. The baby should be placed in one breast and stay there for as much as he wants. After he stops feeding offer one more time the same breast, if he is done with it offer the other one and let him stay there until he lets it himself. Always should be offered both breasts at every feeding.
Breast milk provides ideal nutrition to infants. It is sterilized, has the perfect temperature and easy to offer at any time.
The World Health Organization says that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of age and complementary foods should be introduced while continued to be breastfed for up to two years or beyond.
I often hear people saying that a toddler has nothing good to take from breast milk and they only do it for soothing. I don’t see anything wrong with the soothing reason, toddlers are still babies and they need any kind of tenderness they can get from their mothers. However, the benefits of extended breastfeeding are countless. It provides energy to the kid, helps brain development, boosts immune system and many other. It is up to the mother and the child for how long they decide to keep on it.
Taking medications when needed is another issue that worries young mothers. You can take medications while nursing, as long as they are compatible with breastfeeding. Antibiotics, homeopathic medication, paracetamol and lots of others are not forbidden during this period. You can simply check compatibility of any medicine in the http://www.e-lactancia.org website. You just enter the active ingredient of the medicine, it is usually on the medicine’s box, and it will show if it is very low risk, which means that there is no risk for the baby or it will show high risk, that means it is not safe to take.
Lastly, the thing the nurses told us is that if you want to breastfeed you will. It is the best for your child and yourself too. If challenges come, seek for advice. It is the most natural thing, but you need to know how to do it and good information is extremely useful. The bond with your baby and the moments you get to live with him are very special and worth every second.