The truth about breastfeeding

Being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought it was fitting to talk about boobs. Recently I discovered that breastfeeding is not just about the benefits for your baby, but it’s also been found to lower your risk of breast cancer [1].

Before Leo even entered the world, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I’d heard so much about the benefits of breastfeeding and how it was the ideal opportunity to bond with your baby. In my head, I had this romanticised picture of how it would be—feeling the mother and son connection on another level, a bond like no other! The truth about breastfeeding? Not as simple as I imagined.

Leo was born with a tongue-tie, a relatively common condition that 5% of babies are born with and it affects some babies more than others. It threatened to derail my rosy picture of being a happy breastfeeding mum. Leo was having problems latching on and sucking. I’m sure it was just as frustrating for him as it was for me, so he underwent a simple procedure to fix this. I say relatively simple procedures,  but I mean simple for the doctor not for me. I felt like my heart was in my throat the entire time, and if I’m truthful, I shed some tears but it was a necessity.  Tongue-ties can also result in other problems like not producing enough milk for bubs, speech problems later on in life and not gaining weight.

Breastfeeding has not come as easily as I hoped. I struggled with producing enough milk. It may have been related to the tongue-tie, but thanks to my community of amazing advice from Mamas and Dr Google,  I discovered a really great range of products to help. If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you will already know how much I’ve been enjoying products like the Milky Mumma raw bars. They are made from whole foods and are great as a snack or dessert. They have really helped with my milk flow.

I also used Medela nipple shields to provide some relief. Honestly, these are sent straight from heaven.  They’re designed so you still get skin contact with bubs, but give you protection when your baby is having trouble latching on. And of course, they are BPA-free if you’re concerned about having the best for your child.  And the Medela breast pump now and then when I simply needed a break was absolutely amazing!

Some other breastfeeding tips to help your milk production:

1. Massage

I found this a bit difficult as my breasts were in enough discomfort without kneading them like pizza dough, but it did help.

2. Keep hydrated

It’s also important to drink lots of water in addition to your lactation supplements.

3. Eat well

Eating a balanced diet is hard when you’re sleep deprived and not feeling so much like supermum, so I found an easy way to supplement your diet with a range of vitality products designed for new mums from  HQ Health. They have a beautiful product called Re-Energise  that comes in powder form and comprises whole foods, vitamins, adaptogens and traditional Chinese Medicine  designed to boost milk supply, boost your energy levels and mood. It’s got no nasties and gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and soy free.

4  Hot and cold therapy.

If you’re experiencing discomfort I found the hot and cold gelpacks from BodyIce Woman were really soothing for my breasts. You can use them anywhere on your body, even those ‘sensitive areas’ after all, your entire body has been through a huge ordeal.

For more great breastfeeding tips join the Social Mama Community on Facebook to meet other mums experiencing the same highs and lows as you. There’s no judgement, this is a place you can come to enjoy socialising with like-minded people.

References:

[1] https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/exposures/lactation-breastfeeding

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