Sunday, 26 June 2011

Twenty things I didnt know about breastfeeding before I started.

Jaishree J Vyavaharkar

This is a late entry for Breast Feeding Awareness Week, but I thought it was important so I wanted to post it still. When I was breastfeeding I thought it would be so simple and straight forward, as I am sure a lot of people do too. I found that once I was actually doing it, it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I want to post twenty things I didnt know to hopefully help other people, and also for my own record for when I hopefully get a chance to try again.

  1. Cluster Feeding is completely normal, you are not starving your baby and they are not feeding so much because you are not producing enough milk for them.
  2. The length of time the WHO recommends to breastfeed is 2 yrs, the world average is 4 years, but the media (or formula companies) would have you believe that you should stop at 6 months when you start weaning and introduce follow on formula.
  3. It is better to be proactive rather than reactive when finding out breastfeeding information. I really wish that I had found out more information before Zane was born rather than be stuck when the time came to do it and have 10 people telling me different ways that I should be doing it.
  4. Your breasts don't feel so big and engorged after a few months, it doesnt mean your supply is diminishing.
  5. Breast milk is very useful for conjunctivitus, and also contains natural pain relief. For the mother it helps prevent osteoarthritis and breast cancer.
  6. You can drink alcohol in moderation whilst breast feeding.
  7. Teeth dont mean the end of be able to breast feed.
  8. A poorly baby which wont eat or drink will almost always take a breastfeed, so you dont need to worry that they are not getting the nutrition that they need.
  9. When a baby gets a bit awkward on the breast at around 9/10 months, it is not necessarily a sign that they are self-weaning. It will probably turn out to be teething or distraction. and within a few weeks they will be the great little feeder they were before.
  10. Midwives and Health Visitors dont nessessarily know all there is to know about breastfeeding. There are lots of support groups available such as La Leche League, and also there are support groups at Childrens Centres and Babycafes.
  11. When you go back to work you can still feed once you get back home and your supply will be fine, and it will give you chance to reconnect with your baby.
  12. There are laws to protect mums who breastfeed in public.
  13. Breastfeeding is a great sourse of comfort and can solve almost anything!
  14. You can do extended breatfeeding, and once you find the right support groups you will find that it is actually more common than you would think.
  15. Babies can have tongue tie, which can affect feeding because the membrane underneath the tongue is too short so the tongue cannot move freely. A simple procedure can help free the tongue and you can feed straight away.
  16. A child has regular growth spurts which can mean extra feeding is required.
  17. Applying pressure to the nipple on the side you're not feeding off stops the leaking.
  18. You dont need special clothes to breastfeed in, you could wear a vest underneath your normal top which you can pull down and protect your modesty.
  19. The supply and demand system is so finely tuned that your breasts adapt to baby feeding at different times on different days or needing more watery milk on hot days.
  20. Breastfeeding is one of the hardest, but most rewarding thing that you can do.
I only planned to do ten points, but it turned into twenty, and I am sure there is a lot more that I dont know. I think the most important things are research and finding the right support, preferbly before your baby is born. I never realised how much breastfeeders were proud of what they are doing, so I was silly to think that I couldn't go to a support group without a baby and I would have had a lot more support and knowledge.


  1. I love this post, it has some great points and tips. One thing though, I did not find breastfeeding any harder than bottle feeding. Bottle feeding requires carrying gear around and making the bottle while your baby cries impatiently for it. You carry your boobs with you without having to remember them, and they are always ready to go, no impatient frazzling crying in the back ground while you rush to scoop formula.

  2. Great post - I'm always happy to see real life tips on breastfeeding even though it's well behind me and my kids now.
    The big tip I always give people is to get some nipple cream - the one I recommend is Lansinoh, which is 100% super refined lanolin, completely natural and not harmful to your baby. The minute you have a graze or a crack, start using it. Because it may take a while for you and your baby to learn how to latch on, and in the meantime you must protect your nipples, or they will be very very sore!
    I found many lactation consultants and midwives wouldn't recommend or even mention this to mothers, as they believe the most important thing is for latching on to be achieved properly. That's all very well - but if you've got sore nipples, you might give up, as I nearly did. This product saved the day for me.