Happy World Breastfeeding Week and Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
I’m all for breastfeeding and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to nurse both of my girls. There are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby as well as several benefits for us moms too which is why I chose to breastfeed my girls. I just love doing it and I still nurse 16 month old Scarlett.
I’ve had different experiences with the girls when it came to breastfeeding.
With Vahna, after I gave birth, I had a hard time getting her to latch properly. She would half latch as I call it – she’d get on but since the latch wasn’t properly done, she would get a few sucks in then basically slip off. I came to realize the reason this was happening was because I had flat nipples. As a result, breastfeeding was a challenge as she would get frustrated with not being able to drink properly. To solve the problem, I discovered nipple shields which really helped with getting her to latch, however they are not considered a long term solution.
After a week of nursing through the nipple shields, my midwife suggested I visit a breastfeeding clinic to see if they could help getting Vahna to latch properly without the use of the shields. The consultant at the clinic was amazing and she gave me some really great advice. Two tips that stuck with me and I found the most helpful were 1) really smashing Vahna’s head into my breast and 2) knowing when to switch breasts during a feeding.
Being a first time Mom, my little girl was precious and I didn’t want to hurt her in any way. What I thought was the correct way of latch her on (casually lifting her up to my breast and allowing her to latch on her own) wasn’t working because of my flat nipples. To help with that, here’s what the consultant told me to do to get a good latch:
- Get into a comfortable position. If you’re sitting, don’t lean over baby. You can also use a pillow to help prop baby up.
- Hold the nape of your baby’s neck with one hand and steady your breast with the other hand if needed.
- Once your baby opens their mouth nice and wide, aim for just above their bottom lip and quickly pull baby closer to you basically smashing the baby’s mouth and your breast together.
Ideally, you should see nothing but skin on the outside of you baby’s lips. This keeps them from sucking on your nipple (which will get painful trust me) and allows your baba to get the deep sucking action and compression of your actual breast.
Here’s a great video for a visual on how to get your baby to latch on.
The other tip that helped was understanding when it was time to switch breasts. This is when you really get to know your baby. You can tell when your baby is drinking by looking and listening to them carefully. When your baby swallows you’ll hear a soft “k” like sound along with seeing a slow ripple under your baby’s chin and lower jaw. If you see your baby’s jaw doing a chewing like motion (some call them”butterfly sucks”) but it doesn’t look like they’re swallowing, that means that they are sucking for milk and time to switch!
There are other useful tips for breastfeeding out there but these points particularly helped me when I just started nursing. Once I mastered my issues it was smooth sailing. you will find as time goes on, you learn your little one’s cues and eating habits and it becomes easier day by day. I continued to breastfeed Vahna until she was 18 months, that’s when I was well into my pregnancy with Scarlett!
Breastfeeding Scarlett was much easier in the beginning as I recalled my issues with Savannah. However what was different was Scarlett LOVES to nurse. Don’t get me wrong, I love it too but Scarlett loved nursing so much, she took a bottle for about two weeks at 6 weeks and decided one day that she wasn’t a bottle girl. This meant she was attached to me almost all the time, and when I wasn’t around, she wasn’t a happy camper for whomever was watching her while I was away.
For months we tried about different types of bottles, different ways of feeding her and different people feeding her but Scarlett refused all of them up until she was 11 months when she finally took the Lanisoh mOmma bottles (you can read about our experience here).
Now that I’m back at work, I breastfeed her in the mornings and in the evenings while she takes bottles during the day. At this point it doesn’t look like Scarlett will wean herself off the breast anytime soon. She loves it and as long as she wants to nurse, I hope to continue as long as possible.