I had to roll my eyes when hearing a recent interview where Jamie Oliver felt the need to mansplain breastfeeding.
“It’s easy, it’s more convenient, it’s more nutritious, it’s better, it’s free,” Jamie Oliver touts. Explaining that he feels more women need to do it.
While yes, I can agree with him that breastfeeding can be more nutritious, natural and sometimes more convenient (yes, only sometimes… not all of us can breastfeed with ease. Nor feel comfortable enough to just breastfeed at anytime, any place, anywhere)… Breastfeeding is anything, but easy. In fact it is far from it in my opinion, but I’m basing that on my past 7 years experience.
Perhaps his comments only rubbed me the wrong way because I am struggling to (re)learn how to breastfeed. At only 4 weeks postpartum, we have dealt with weight gain issues, which have certainly interfered with what was a blossoming breastfeeding relationship.
We had to introduce a bottle and feeding tube. For the past 2.5 weeks I have had to breastfeed every 1 to 2 hours, pump around the clock and top up the little guy with expressed breast milk after every nursing session.
Sound exhausting? Let me tell you it has been!
I probably would have thrown in the towel quite some time ago. However, with Oakley being my last child, I had the hopes to breastfeed one last time. This has kept me motivated enough to keep trying, and all this work hasn’t been for nothing. In the last 9 days, Oakley went from gaining nothing to gaining 1 pound, 5 ounces. Now weighing in at 7lbs 11.5oz. Hallelujah!
Through our journey to get Oakley’s weight back on track, we have run into the problem that he now favours the bottle over the breast. Not the biggest struggle, but one we will have to slowly work through to transition him back to breastfeeding.
So, how are we doing that? Not easily!
We are following these 12 tips for going back for breastfeeding to help us on our journey from bottle back to breast.
Seek consultation. Contact a lactation consultant or speak with your midwife for support. There may be a reason that baby is struggling with nursing at the breast or other reasons interfering. They can offer guidance to get you on your way.
Drop the soother. Simply that. Just drop the soother.
Build your milk supply. Use galactogogues, like Orange Naturals Fenugreek, Orange Natural Fennel, Blessed Thistle, and Goat’s Rue to help boost milk supply. Each of these supplements feature botanicals that encourage milk production and maintenance. Additionally, Fennel has been proven to help relieve colic.
You may also need to introduce power pumping sessions or pump after each nursing session to ensure you are fully draining the breast. Removing the breast milk will promote your breasts to make more milk, hence the importance of ensuring that your breasts are fully drained (and often) after each feed, especially when low supply may be the issue.
Develop a supplemental nursing system. If baby has struggled with gaining weight or you have struggled with low milk supply, try shifting from bottle to supplementing with formula or expressed breast milk through tube at the breast. Not only will this stimulate your supply, but it will also help baby develop an appreciation for the breast being their source of food. Finger feeding is also a good alternative if you struggle with using a supplemental feeding tube at the breast.
Relax. There is nothing worse than a stressed out Mom. A stressed out Mom ultimately leads to a stressed out baby. Trust me, I know. Not every feed is going to go as planned, especially when transitioning back to breastfeeding. Sometimes baby will be more accepting of the breast, and other times baby may protest and flat out refuse to breastfeed. You just have to roll with the punches. Something I find that helps is meditation, or if I feel too strung out, I use the Orange Naturals Stress + Calm Tincture.
Nipple shield. Nipple shields can mimic the feel of a bottles nipple. If baby seems to prefer the bottle, and isn’t willing to latch to the breast, you could try introducing the shield as tool to help get baby back to breast.
Sleep. You need your energy to make milk and to take care of not only your baby, but also yourself. Sleep may not come easy, but when you are able to sneak in a cat nap – do it! It will make you feel that much better for it. If you find yourself feeling exhausted, you can also take Orange Naturals Fatigue. It’s non-stimulating, and will over that little bit of a boost if needed.
Eat and hydrate! Try to eat balance meals and healthy snacks to keep you energized. As well as, hydrate! Keep a glass of water nearby at each nursing session and in whatever rooms you find yourself frequenting. Foods that can help boost supply include: oats and grains, apricots, mangoes, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsley and leafy greens.
Take a nurse-in. Dedicate a weekend to you and baby. Whisk yourself away to the bedroom, and spend the weekend snuggling your baby skin-to-skin. Nurse on demand, rest and bond.
Try different positions. Is baby picky with when they are willing to latch? Mine will only nurse if I am sitting in a specific chair in the family room. The room has to be silent and lighting needs to be dim. If not, I find I have to pace the house while he nurses in the cradle or cross-over position. If you find one position doesn’t work for you, try out another position. In addition, pay attention to the mood and tone in the rooms to which you nurse baby, could they be a distraction? Limit noise and bright lights when and where possible.
Gradually switch. Once you know you have established a good latch, good supply, adequate weight gain, and have been given the go ahead by your care provider – you can begin to gradually switch from bottle to breast. Your care provider may help you come up with a game plan of how to transition back to breast. In some cases you may start to lower how often you top up with the bottle, In other cases you may start to only top up with 1 to 2 ounces for the morning, afternoon and evening feeds, offering the breast the rest of the time. The importance here is to follow cues and pay attention that your baby is latching properly, draining the breast with ease and continuing to soil enough diapers.
Practice patience. Transitioning from bottle back to breastfeeding will require a lot of patience. The process will be slow-going. Don’t expect the switch to be overnight. It will be gradual and time-consuming, but with dedication you will get there slowly, but surely.
Like I said above, breastfeeding is anything but easy. It can be painful, stressful, and almost feel imprisoning. However with dedication and tons of support at your fingertips you can sometimes persevere, If not – that’s ok too! All that matters at the end of the day to is that your sanity is in tact, and baby is happy and thriving.
To learn more about Orange Naturals, visit them on their Facebook page and blog. Additionally you can also sign-up to receive the O Natural newsletter; a newsletter full of health tips, tricks, recipes, and of course, real people! Just like you!
Disclosure: I am part of the Orange Naturals Mom Ambassador Program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
(Image source: Shutterstock | Breastfeeding Newborn)