In case you missed our recent Instagram Takeover on Family Friendly HQ, here's a rundown of some of the biggest takeaways we learned.
Katie Mugan, aka the NursingMama.ie, is a lactation consultant, pediatric and public health nurse. Taking some time out of her busy schedule, Katie answered questions from our readers concerning the areas of breastfeeding, newborn care, and baby development. You can watch the full takeover on our Instagram page.
If you are looking for more advice from Katie, she also runs online breastfeeding and newborn care classes. She can also provide one-on-one online consultations if necessary. Follow her Instagram page for more information.
Here are eight tips we learned, which might help all breastfeeding mothers out there.
You don’t need to prep for breastfeeding before the baby is due. I have heard a lot of stories about this. You do not need to do anything. If you have got time maybe consider doing a breastfeeding preparation class, I do them online.
It's normal for a baby to go back to the breast very frequent at night. Some would do it every hour to two hours. It very much just depends on the individual baby. Eight months is when the baby is developing hugely, they are reaching different milestones, some may be sitting, crawling, starting to cruise around furniture - there’s a lot going on and really getting established on solids.
If it's working for you to put the baby to the breast during each time, then go with it. But if the issue is that you are struggling with it, then something needs to happen. You can look at your day feeds and see if the baby is feeding well? Are they well established on solids? In the evening time use breast compressions. At night, give the baby a proper feed and bring little snacks along the way. Look at different methods of rocking, soothing etc.
If the baby latches really well at the breast, they can't actually bite because of the position of the tongue over the teeth. However, if the baby is, we have to look at when they are doing it. If they are teething really badly, maybe look at getting a face cloth, wetting it and putting it into the fridge and let them bite down on it. It's really good for the gums. Or you can get teething rings and put them in the fridge.
Another way is by getting breastmilk and popping it into ice cube trays or ice lollies. They can then suck and chew on these. If they are biting in the middle of a feed, it can mean the flow has slowed down. They get fussy at the breast, so they bite down on it in anger!
Depending on the age of baby, if they bite down and you give a reaction or a shriek the baby could think this is funny. Or, they can get a fright and react quite badly, making them go away from the breast altogether. If they are doing it and they are a little bit older, you can take them off the breast and make it very clear. But this really depends on the age of the baby. It's just looking at the whole picture as to why they are doing it.
Sweating is normal for the baby. However, if it's excessive sweating then contact your GP to have a little look to make sure there is nothing wrong with them. Generally speaking, it could be that they have too many clothes on. No hats should be worn in the house, as they are just nice and snug being close to you. Also when breastfeeding, they can use a lot of energy while doing it.
A latch assist is a great piece of equipment, and its not expensive. Essentially you pop it over the nipple, squeeze it and it sucks on the nipple. It pulls it out a bit like using a pump, which you either use or you can use your hands to squeeze it out. Some people think their nipples are flat, but they actually aren’t that flat at all. I wouldn’t be panicked about it. So yes, the latch assist is great and not expensive and bring it into the hospital with you if you feel you need to.
If you are suffering from mastitis, you should really been seen by your doctor. If you had thrush and mastitis, you really wonder if it’s been fully cleared. Has it been cleared if you’re in that much pain? Is there another blockage that’s not being diagnosed? And if you have been treated for everything and its kind of started out of the ordinary, then go back to the GP to get another review of the breast.
If you have thrush, you can’t keep your milk for stash and you cant even freeze it because freezing doesn’t kill off the fungus that forms in it. Generally, morning time is when your supply is at its highest. So, feed the baby and try to pump afterwards to try and build up a supply in advance. Try not to pump later on in the evening as we want that milk there for the baby. Your supply generally dips down in the evening and then starts increasing overnight, so its highest in the morning. In the morning is a really good time, maybe the first two feeds if you're under time pressure.
Look at ontological education if you can’t breastfeed and want to with your next baby. You can get a breastfeeding class on it. What it does, is that it gives you all the information you need to have all the tools in your toolbox, so when things are not going so well you can pick up on those red flags and get help earlier on. It'll give you a much more positive outcome on your breastfeeding journey. If you are really struggling, get onto the IBCLC website, which will tell you if there are lactation consultants in your area. Most are doing online, but some will do in person due to the latch.
To watch the full Instagram takeover by NursingMama.ie, head along to our Instagram page (by clicking here).