Breastfeeding Awareness Week-I only learnt that such a week exists this morning. I guess I never needed to know about breastfeeding awareness week before now. Now it means so much more than I ever believed possible.
I am currently two and a half months into my breastfeeding journey and I love it, but just because I love it doesn’t mean it’s been an easy two and a half months! Breastfeeding is the most intense emotional rollercoaster I have ever been on in my entire life. My pregnancy was a breeze compared to my fairly new breastfeeding journey. I have experienced extreme lows where i’ve only managed to express 20ml in total or my baby is screaming hysterically because nothing is coming out no matter how hard she sucks. I’ve had the worst meltdowns of my entire life. But I have also experienced moments where I couldn’t be more proud of myself, for sticking it out no matter how badly I wanted to give up!
The hardest battle for me is managing to keep my milk supply sufficient. If I slack off in the slightest way, be it one less glass of water or a meal skipped because I was too busy with my baby girl, I reap the consequences immediately! However this morning was my proudest moment during my breastfeeding journey so far… I expressed 230ml! For someone who has expressed and literally had nothing come out, this 230ml means so much more than just 230ml of breast milk. It means that I can do this and I can continue for the next three months. Yes, it is the hardest battle I have ever had to fight, but I can do it!
Some of my breastfeeding tips and ‘must haves’ to keep my milk supply are:
Lactation Consultant-Before our little bundle of joy was born, I visited an amazing lactation consultant-Judy Kirkwood. Judy was unable to be present on birth day so I went for a home consult where she showed me how to latch my baby girl properly, gave me tips like using a heat pad on my breasts as often as I can and of course stressed the importance of skin on skin. She was incredible with her explanations. I remembered everything in the recovery room where my baby girl enjoyed her first milkshake! Having that professional support is extremely soothing for the mind. Judy is on call 24/7 and will happily answer any concerns or stresses I may be experiencing. It is comforting to know she is just a message away should I ever need her!
Lactation Bars-Many people don’t believe lactation bars actually work however I don’t know breastfeeding without them! I can tell a difference on the days I skip them compared with the days I snack on one as my mid morning snack with a cup of tea. The Mrs Milk Lactation bars do exactly what they say they do… They make more milk!! My favourite flavour is the new Apple and Moringa. It’s a lot softer in flavour than the original bars and they are really filling too. I will miss these bars when my breastfeeding journey ends.
Heat Pads-I use a microwavable heat pad three times a day. With it being winter, it is important to keep your breasts warm. I didn’t believe it until my milk supply was at an all time low and I began using my heat pad as often as I could. The warmth is said stimulate the milk.
Jungle Juice-Yes I drink jungle juice religiously every single day! Together with water and herbal tea, I manage to stay hydrated but need to pee every five minutes! If I skip one day of jungle juice my milk supply lessens. At least it’s really tasty so I don’t mind drinking the copious amounts that I do 😉
Protein Shakes-Along with everything else I consume, I also have a protein shake every afternoon. During my pregnancy I went off meat and chicken completely and I still haven’t been able to get back into eating it. I am quite enjoying being a vegetarian to be honest but my milk quality was suffering. With having to work so hard to get the amounts that I do, I need my milk to be the best quality possible. I noticed it was very watery and almost see-through! After some investigations I realised I wasn’t getting anywhere near enough protein in my diet. Since having my daily protein shakes along with other forms of proteins like nuts I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my milk quality and my baby girl is a lot happier after her milkshakes. It’s a win win!!
Supplements-I’m not one for taking dietary supplements but I soon realised I needed all the help I could get when it came to keeping my breast milk available for my baby girl so I started taking Fenugreek tablets and my golly do they work! I take them every single day as required, again if I skip just one it takes its toll.
With all of this being said you can’t expect to just do one of the above and expect masses of milk to suddenly appear. For me everything goes hand in hand and works together to help me build up my milk supply. It has been an extremely difficult journey for me, both mentally and physically. But it is one I will continue on until my baby girl is six months old.
If I can inspire just one mom to keep going, then I feel this post has been a success! Keep it up mamas-you’ve got this!