Thursday, July 21, 2011

Antenatal #4

We missed last weeks class due to the instructor being sick so it was pushed back to this week:

Breastfeeding 101

That's right, last night was all about the breasts, often referred to as "The Girls" by our instructor. You should probably know that breastfeeding is crazy endorsed by "them" (midwives, doctors, hospitals, the public health system and society). Some women who are unable to breastfeed (a small percentage) and women who choose not to (a larger percentage) and other women who "give up" (a greater percentage) have all probably had a time when they have been scorned for it. When you are raising a child the rest of society seems to feel like they can voice their opinion about the job you are doing. I heard someone say the other day "If you are trying, you are doing great!", I'm probably going to carry that motto with me for the next few years. Whatever you do, if you are trying to do your best then you are doing great!

I think mostly females are pretty clued up as to how their bodies work. Perhaps thats due to menstruating and the like, you sort of have to know whats going on. Scientifically I think we do pretty well. Infact its said that we do so well, when we come to be intimate with a partner we have trouble "letting go" and feeling passion because we have so much knowledge on how that works. The point is, I feel as if I know a bit about breasts. Milk ducts, tissue, nipples and the like.

Once again, they amaze me at how purposeful they are. Just like everything else in the human body (except perhaps the appendix (which once did serve a purpose)) it has a purpose and a reason for being there and works in with everything else. Ahhh, the body; so complex and so amazing.

What did surprise me is that when the baby starts feeding milk is "let down". In other words, it is "contracted out". Literally pushed out and into the babies mouth. I had never heard that before and it really surprised me!

We were given helpful techniques to help us remember to breastfeed correctly when the time comes and then practised with plastic dolls and our partners. I found that exercise to be really hard. Like, it made me feel so rubbish afterwards. If we weren't doing it correctly the guys were supposed to be instructing us and helping out. Graeme thought that I didn't have my doll positioned correctly (I didn't) but for the life of me I just couldn't get it right. Perhaps it was the fact that I had a hard plastic doll who didn't bend or flex, or that I had a big belly in the way, but I couldn't seem to lift the doll upwards towards me. I looked over at the people next to us and couldn't see the difference in what I was doing to them and then I realised I was already comparing myself to other people (and didn't even know if her technique was good or not) and then got even more annoyed at myself. So. Frustrating. 

So Mums, nows your chance - leave a comment with any tips or anything you think I might find helpful.

Thanks :)


  1. Visualise it! For me there was no other way to feed my baby, so in the last few weeks of both pregnancies I would visualise holding my beautiful new baby and feeding her. Breastfeeding was something I was really looking forward to. Remember you are both learning how to do it, so go easy on yourself.
    And how unfair they make you practice with a plastic doll!

  2. Soph you will be amazing!!!!!! When little sweet Camilla comes you can work it out together! And to be honest Molly knew more than I did! She found her own way to my breast and started breastfeeding on her own! I didnt help her at all at first! As you have said time and time again... you were made for this! Youll do things differently to other mums, sure, but youll know Camilla in and out- other mums wont, so dont worry if your not doing it the same as other mums... we do things differently, some breastfeed some bottle, some demand feed some routine... doesnt mean any are right or wrong- jsut different mums doing what they think is best for there baby! You are going to be the greatest mum Camilla could ever have! xx Jen M

  3. I was told to picture my boob as a big mac and to have the nipple as the patty and then slip it into bubbas mouth like you would a big mac into yours...

    Learn to BF lying down if you go the route of BFing.

    My other advice is to stick it out for 6 weeks then to 3 months then to 6 months etc - by the time we got to 6 months it was easy peasy and we fed until 2yrs.

    But it's all about choice... remember that!

    Do what makes you happy!

  4. Thank you very much ladies! So helpful and practical! Keep it coming :)

  5. Know where to get support if its really tough - cos in the middle of a bad time its too hard to make a plan. Go to a LLL meeting now while preg if you can - I wish I did. At the very least stick this number on your fridge so you know where to find it if need be: 338 8447 - its the canterbury breastfeeding helpline. Oh and I'm a trained b/f peer counsellor so you can always get in touch with me!! I have acess to some fab resourses including a lactation consultant. You'll do just fine. (feeding while typing this one-handed!)

  6. After a long labour (27 hours) and then an emergency caesarean my milk didnt come in totally for 3 weeks ... hospital back then made me have my baby suckling for hours on end to bring the milk in, but my body was tired and needed time to recover ... so i topped baby up with a bottle, after giving him the breast first. Painful cracked and bleeding nipples, it wasnt easy for me ... however i found this worked with all the kids, and ended up breastfeeding for at least 12 months with all 4 of them ... getting them totally breastfed by 6 weeks of age ... so if you need to have a break, give baby a bottle ... it can sometimes take a huge weight off your mind ... and it takes awhile to get baby to latch on properly ... baby and you both need to learn this and you cant practise with anything either ... take your time, relax ... and enjoy!!!

  7. I was worried my boobs wouldn't work - they didn't really leak at all during pregnancy except for a couple drops one night. I don't think that counts...

    Now, they are over-flowing! The key to not getting cracks and sore nipples is all in the 'latch'. My boy is still learning the right way to latch - it hurts like nasty AS when he's got it wrong, so you 'unlatch' and put them on again (repeat as many times as necessary). He's slowly getting it right. I have got a couple cracks that hurt so bad, but even so, when he's latched on properly it's not so bad and they are healing up slowly.

    Invest in a good tube of Lansinoh cream. It helps keep your nips moist and comfy. Oh, and reusable breast-pads made with brushed cotton are the way to go! The disposable ones just dried up my nipples and hurt me.

    I had to use a nipple-shield for a bit, it made feeding take a little longer, but allowed my nip to heal up and kind-of taught my boy how to suck.

    He didn't know the right way to suck! - and is still learning, but getting better. This has caused my sore nips. 'Tongue-thruster'.

    Remember, your baby hasn't breast-fed before either, so don't be alarmed if they struggle a bit too. They will learn and eventually get it right :)

    There is more than one way to breast-feed. My boy works really well with the 'foot-ball-hold' - I was told this way is helpful when you've got big boobs. Yes, they are huger-ER than I imagined they would get.

    Sorry about the long comment... ;)


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