I can’t believe Amori is now 3 weeks old as I’m writing my first blogpost post baby. It has been quite a long 3 weeks for me, for us as a family, a journey which I will share with you over the next few posts.
First, let’s talk the mummy milk making machine!
As some of you may know, there is a 5 year age gap between our two girls. Whilst some memories are etched into our brains never to be forgotten regardless of how hard we try, other memories have long been erased … like the pain of child birth, or the challenge of having had a caesarian birth, or the cracked nipples, etc etc. The challenges of motherhood bunched up into a little bag and tossed out our memory bank! Some say it’s nature’s way of encouraging us women to keep the human race going, I tend to think that to be totally true.
What I’m about to share will probably sound very familiar to you if you’ve had a baby. When I had Kalani, our first baby, I remembered being prodded and squeezed not unlike a cow getting milked by an inexperienced child at the Collingwood Children’s farm! Distinctly etched into my memory was this device suctioned to my virgin breasts, in an attempt to coax out an invisible milk supply whilst producing this dull, hum drum rhythm that neither soothed me nor eased my worries. My nipples were red and sore before milk even came and that was only day three! No one told me my milk wouldn’t come for a few more days after that as I’d had a caesarian. My toes would curl in painful anticipation of my baby latching after having been continually prodded, squeezed and suctioned! Then the hard word came that my baby has to be put on formula as she wasn’t getting any milk and was loosing too much weight. I was a clueless new mum who was learning the ropes and taking every possible guidance available, regardless of how contradictory they might be. This was me and my virgin breasts’ first experience at motherhood.
I swore to myself that second time around, I would know better! I would know better than to hurry nature up! I would know that my milk wouldn’t come straight away. I would know not to stress that my baby might be starving while we waited patiently for her milk supply to fill as she worked on my breasts, suckling away so that nature knew she needed to be fed. I would know not to let these medical professionals scaremonger me into giving my baby formula prematurely. I would know all these things right?! Wrong! The second time around, I stressed all the same, perhaps even more! I was comforted by the fact that my baby was getting this amazing liquid gold whilst her milk supply was on order. However when day 3 came along and there was still no signs whatsoever that my milk was coming and Amori was getting increasingly agitated as she pulled at my nipples, grunting frustratingly, I started to second guess myself. What if my milk doesn’t come at all? Am I a bad mum for not wanting to feed her some formula in the meantime? Then of course the usual advice of putting my baby on formula for the interim came about and I took it! Then I started stressing about the possibility that my baby might prefer formula to breastmilk?! What if, what if, what if?! What f’ing ifs!!
So now that my hormones have started to calm down, I would like to share my “words of wisdom” with you … well where breastfeeding is concerned anyway. One would think that breastfeeding, child birth, the works should come totally naturally. I mean hack, isn’t it the most natural thing to be bearing, birthing and feeding your own baby? Yes it is. However as I’ve joked over and over at various points in time, women must have angered God badly once upon a time as our jobs are certainly not made easy to fathom, grasp or carry out!
My two cents worth: mama, you have just birthed a baby (whether it be a natural birth or csection), let nature take its course .
- Day 1: First things first. Make sure your obstetrician is aware that you’d like your baby straight after birth. Have your obs or the midwife pop your baby on you so that your baby can make her way to your breasts. I still remember Kalani hitching up from my belly to my breasts and latching, she was only a few minutes old! The latch wasn’t perfect of course, that’s where the midwives come in. Get them to guide you and show you what the correct latch is! It is not as simple as ABC even though it should be.
- Days 1-4: Put your baby to the boob and let your baby suckle as much as she wants, on demand, in the first to third/fourth day as that’s nature’s way of prepping for your baby’s milk supply. Like everything else in this world, it’s all about demand and supply! I remembered especially on days 2 and 3 post birth, it was like nature has just taken over Amori. All she did was suckle and suckle non stop! Create demand and the supply will come! Remember to pack a good nipple balm in your hospital bag! Especially if it’s your first baby, you’ll need it! I love Mambino Organic’s Calendula Nursing Balm and have used it for both babies, much more with my first baby than my second as I think my nipples are now totally trained (a nicer way to put it) after breastfeeding Kalani for two years!
- Days 3/4: Don’t fret if your milk hasn’t come or if there’s no signs of colostrum when you press on your areola, especially if you have had a caesarian. I fretted but there is no need. During natural birth, your body rapidly releases a receptor cell especially during labour that communicates with the ‘hormone of love’, Oxytoxin. This hormone tells your breasts to make milk. When you’ve had a csec and haven’t gone through the normal process of birth, the release of these receptor cells is slightly delayed and hence communication with your body to produce your baby’s food is delayed. Again, fret not, the milk will come! I had a csection and milk came with a vengence on Day 5. Amori has gone from loosing more than 10% of her birth weight by day 4 to putting on 350g in the first 5 days after milk came and then another 360g 9 days after the maternal health nurse visited us at home. Her daddy nicknames her the chubby peach now.
- Most important thing to remember is to stay as relaxed as can be as that aids in milk production and let down. Your body is such an intricate mechanism you just have to let it do its job.
- Next most important thing to remember is if for whatever reason your milk doesn’t come, please don’t stress. There are so many nutritious organic baby formulas out there now. Your baby will continue to thrive and develop all the same! As much as we want to be able to breastfeed our babies and share with her the most natural and intimate of experience, you can still do the same bottle feeding your bubs. Savour every second and every minute with your newborn as this will not last forever.
I hope this has helped you in some way and please feel free to ask any questions you have in mind.