Breastfeeding difficulties and how to work around them
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby not to mention that it is very healthy for your tot. Breast milk contains antibodies which help your baby fight viruses and nasty infections also lowering the risk of allergies and lactose intolerance.
For some mommies who are quite enthusiastic about breastfeeding, it can be a difficult experience to get used to. Not to despair though because we’ve spoken to a first time mom who had difficulties but managed to conquer them to become a breastfeeding pro.
Shamiso Chaibva (35) is an IT consultant from Kensington in Johannesburg. She gave birth to her daughter, Ruvenego in April and has opted to breastfeed her daughter until she returns to work in September. She shares her breastfeeding difficulties and how she overcame them below.
“I had no milk in the first 2 to 3 days. This was quite stressful as it took a while for me to figure out I was not producing as the first milk can be clear. After I asked my lactation consultant to check, she confirmed it and I had to give my baby formula until my milk started producing.
“It was stressful as I still had to put her on the breast though nothing was secreting, to encourage breastmilk production.
The first few weeks were very painful for me each time my baby latched. The pain is indescribable, but a few seconds later it goes away. As each feed began, I dreaded the painful latching process. The pain goes away with time though and using a lanolin based nipple cream worked to alleviate the pain.
Not knowing if my daughter was full was a challenge for me especially after the few days of not producing milk. Initially I was worried I was not giving her enough, and so I bought Nun to top her up, also because she would cry I thought she might have been hungry and so I topped up. Then a week later I thought I was overfeeding her but when my milk was now flowing she was visibly growing but I feared I could have been overdoing it.
“Very little milk can be secreted during expressing especially in the beginning, after figuring out how the machine works. When very little milk is expressed it makes you wonder if you are doing it right, and if so does it mean baby is getting enough milk, and if not do you need to top up or not. For successful expressing I started drinking water as I express (works like a charm). Diet wise I would eat fenugreek seeds and jungle juice. Generally for both expressing and breastfeeding staying hydrated is key to having lots of milk. Almonds, peanuts and oat biscuits are some other food items that I have found to work for me.”
Shamiso’s top five tips for becoming a pro at breastfeeding
- Attend antenatal classes to help you prepare on what to expect and how to deal with it, even though it may not address all the issues it gives you a good idea.
- Being at peace knowing you are doing the best you can with what you have without comparing yourself with the next mummy. Some of the mommys I am with don’t have enough milk so they have to give their babies formula and that’s ok. Some have to change formulas because of different reactions and that’s ok, you are doing the best you can.
- Seeking help from a lactation consultant
- Being part of a support group or just a group of mummies with whom you can help each other.
- Getting help be it hired or from family and friends. Also learning to accept help, instead of thinking only you can hold your baby.
- Finding helpful resources such as: LLL (La Leche League) it is a nonprofit organization that organises advocacy, educational, and training related to breastfeeding. It is present in a number of countries including SA. It’s purpose is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.”
They have a Facebook as well as contacts on the page that can provide 24-hour help.
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