So where were we my dear reader? Ah. Yes tales of lessons from my breastfeeding days. I am so glad that I can say that those days are long gone behind me now. LOL! Let us dive in to more lessons I got from that season of my life that I would like to share with you.
Another important point in breastfeeding is to remember that the law of economics works with the body too. The more your child sucks, the more your brain decodes that the body needs to produce more milk. If you think because your flow is not much at first and decide to stop feeding the child, then your brain sends a message to the body to reduce the urge to produce more milk as it is not needed. Therefore if you want to produce more milk, nurse your child more frequently. The body does the regulating for you. So whatever signal you send to the body, it shall comply with and produce as such, less or more. If your child is not with you to nurse regularly, feel free to use a breast pump too, the brain gets the same message.
I forgot to mention that having sore nipples is common in nursing but when they are becoming terribly bruised and injured, then you might want to give your breast some time to heal. I made all the mistakes for my first child and my mum who could not bear to see me in such agony advised me to introduce formula to help my baby eat in peace and not lose weight. However there are products now that can help soothe painful nipples while breastfeeding and they are also breastfeeding safe so you do not need to wash them off before you feed, such as Lansinoh. You may want to check out other products here such as things that can help you nurse better if you have inverted nipples for instance.
A big no-no in breastfeeding is to feed mainly from one breast. Being right handed I also fed my first born from the left side of my body. However the issue with that was that going by the law of demand and supply, my left bust was bigger than my right as it was always fuller. I fed her from my right hand side rarely and so I wore fitted tops it was awkward and it showed. I went out one day and a senior friend of mine who was a mum of 2 called me aside and told me what I was doing wrong and how it was affecting my body. I learnt the hard way and even though I tried to now feed more, the damage had already been done. You can be sure that this was a mistake I never made again.
I will not also fail to talk about how your breasts changes when you start. So shortly after when you give birth, your mammary glands kind of turn rock hard, the milk and all trying to come in. The first milk your body produces known as the colostrum is the most important milk you must be sure you allow your baby have. No matter how small the quantity is, be it 5ml, 10ml, be sure to let your kid have it. You cannot get that in any bottle formula, so please do not deny your child of that golden stuff that is loaded to help your baby’s immunity. The more you let your child nurse, the breast begins to soften and your milk supply will increase which you can even see by squirting it with your fingers. Hot water baths or hot water towels around the breast, or even cabbage leaves on it can help relieve you from being engorged. Remember to keep yourself hydrated with warm liquid preferably.
If you are going to breastfeed, there are certain substances that work to help in our milk production. Don’t let your red lights go off, allow me to explain what I mean by ‘substances’. Some prefer to take herbal based supplements such as Fenugreek, but please always read up the literature on anything you want to take as herbal supplement as they may trigger another side effect that you are unaware of. And it is probably wise to discuss with your doctor before you start becoming your own version of Dr. Google.
For others, there are some other natural substances you can use. For instance pap is a great booster for breastfeeding moms. If I take pap in the morning, my breast milk flow is so on point and then the baby can spend less time sucking as the body is already stimulated to produce. Another thing that works for me is taking juice. I guess everyone has to find what works for their body better but I cannot over emphasise the need to be well hydrated during your breastfeeding spell. However if you decide to go down the pap/ogi/akamu route, be prepared for have well fed babies and also for you to add a bit more weight. Some don’t mind this little inconvenience, and are ready to hit the gym afterwards or while still nursing. But it is imperative to do what is best for both baby and you. Sometimes we moms sacrifice a little inconvenience for the good health of the baby, but do not forget to be active and focused on retrieving your body back.
In addition to this point is also the need for a proper diet while breastfeeding. When my elder sister had her first baby and my mum came for the traditional omugwo, my sister was on a diet of pounded yam and white soup or bitter leaf soup or yam pepper soup for 3 months. My sister was able to nurse her baby adequately but she had to hit they gym extensively afterwards. So when it was my turn, I was like ‘no please I can’t eat this pounded yam everyday Mum, I want to stay in shape’ as I knew that I particularly am lazy when it comes to anything sports. So there I was, feeding like a bird and nursing my voracious baby number 2 who was a boy, until I nearly passed out one day from exhaustion as I still had a 2 year old to take care of, a Masters’ program to conclude and a home to run. After that day, nobody told me twice to eat well while nursing.
Stay tuned for the final concluding piece on this topic, and I hope you are finding something to help you.
picture credits: the internet