I have had so many messages, emails and questions about breastfeeding so I thought that I would share with you what has worked for me and what hasn't.
This is just a snippet into my journey, what worked for me may not work for you. I am not a medical professional so please take what I say with a grain of salt and if you truly need help please seek professional medical advice.
To start, the truth! My journey has honestly been the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done. To me Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and most natural things in the world. You get to continue to nourish, feed and help you baby grow it is absolutely incredible. I know breastfeeding is hard but if you have the supply, the love and support you need then you can get through it you just have to persevere through the good, the bad and the ugly but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I remember waiting for my milk to come in no one ever told me how crazy those first few days are. Seriously babies are hungry when they are first born and waiting for your milk to come in is the most painful thing ever. I started leaking colostrum from 14 weeks with Henry and Theo and then at around 30 weeks with Harlow and Noah, so I started saving that liquid gold and boy oh boy did it make a huge difference. I also started hand expressing so I could save my colostrum I started doing this around about the 34 week mark. Before deciding to do this you need to consult with a health professional as this can induce premature labor. For me it did nothing except help me it was the best thing I ever did as I had so much saved for when they were born so they weren't starving while we were waiting for my milk to come in. I bought lots of storage bags and labeled them all and left them in the freezer and then took them to hospital and asked them to store them until the babies were born.
After birth it is so so important that you rest and eat and drink huge amounts so that you have heaps of calories so you can make lots of milk! I swear that I have such a huge supply because I am always eating. Sugar is a huge one for me, yeah blah blah blah I know it's not good for you and it's highly addictive but if that's what it takes to build and keep my milk supply I'm doing it and with great pleasure. Here's a little insight of what I would eat after giving birth just to give you an idea! Breakfast is huge I would have muesli with peaches, full fat milk and a yoghurt, 3-4 pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam and a milo and sometimes even baked beans on toast as well. I know what you are thinking WOW but for me it worked and the more I ate the more weight I lost. It didn't matter what I ate either the weight would just drop off. Make sure you are eating frequently and large portions. A lot of the time it was such hard work eating so much but for me it kept my milk in abundance sometimes too much. Figure out what works for you and stick with it!
I made sure I had a double electric pump. The brand I bought and still have is Unimon Forte. Honestly as soon as you can after you give birth get on that pump! It will help bring your milk in quickly, my milk came in 3 days after Henry and Theo and only 2 with Harlow and Noah and I was expressing heaps, hand expressing and on the pump whatever I needed to do I did it. Make sure you ask for help at the hospital or wherever you are make it very clear you want to breastfeed and get them to help you in anyway they can even if it means milking you LOL! Make sure you get checked by a lactation consultant if you can and always check for lip and tongue tie and this can have a serious negative effect on the way your baby feeds. I bought my expresser second hand on trade me for $150 it had never been used. I have absolutely thrashed it and it's still working the best $150 I've ever spent. I still use it about 2-3 times a day even now and the babies are almost 4 months old. This time around I was given two Haaka pumps these are silicon pumps and these are my go to when I am out and about. You just squeeze it once and it sucks your nipple in and waalaa that's it. I gently apply pressure and my milk just starts squirting out it's magic.
The supplements I take are high dose vitamin c, lecethin and probiotics. You can get these from most pharmacies and health stores. I swear by the combination of all three together. You can google all their benefits! I have tried using a Smoothie Mix by Milk Mama and I swear by the second day my milk supply had increased. I have also used Fenugreek tablets which I think help with supply as well. If your supply is low try anything and everything to get it back up. Try not to supplement with formula as you are essentially telling your body to produce less milk just keep feeding and expressing as hard as it is its definitely worked for me.
Now the hard stuff! Engorgement is the friken worst your boobies are huge and as hard as rocks I use gentle massage, hot flannels and expressing to help with that. Cracked nipples are horrible and they need to be remedied ASAP. To help with mine I used Manuka Honey Pads, breast milk and Purelan. Just apply apply apply!
There's this hideous thing called Mastitis and it is honestly worse than birth (I am such a drama queen but it is) and you need to know the signs so you can nip it in the bud as soon as you get it. The signs are fever, chills, flu likes symptoms, red patches on your breast and pain in the breast. To help with it I make sure I double dose on all my supplements, hot showers and baths, cold flannels, massage and lots of feeding and expressing. If it gets to bad or worse get to the doctor asap and get antibiotics. I was immune to one type of antibiotics so if you aren't improving in a couple of days get back to the doctor. I had it 8 times with the boys and I was hospitalized twice and I put it down to having thrush on my nipples and not being able to heal the cracks and also over supply. I also get it when I am stressed and run down so please Mama's try and take good care of yourself, rest and sleep whenever you can and if you need to ask for help!
Thrush on my nipple and in babies mouth has been a constant pain in my arse it's easy to get and hard to get rid of! You have to apply cream twice a day to both nipples and wipe it off before every feed and then you have to give medicine to your babe four times a day it's the most annoy hardest thing to do when breastfeeding especially have two! It really hurts like a sharp pain when you are feeding, jump on google to see the symptoms.
Maternity bras and breastfeeding clothes are so so important! My favourite feeding bras are my gorgeous bra Discretion by Gina (I've posted a review on it in my reviews section check it out) and I live in my Cadenshae feeding bras I have about 4 of them I rotate they are so supportive, comfy and look really good as well. I mostly wear feeding dresses as I find it easy because I only have to think about putting on one piece of clothing and that's it. I get my dresses from Rock Your Bump I have 4 I rotate they are styley and comfortable which is exactly what you need when feeding (you can use my code BLESSEDINDOUBLES to get 10% off your order) and I also love my Addison Clothing dresses, I have a couple of them and I love the way they feel and bonus they look good to!
My final words. Breastfeeding is not for everyone but if you can stick it out then it's honestly so worth it. The first three months are the hardest but with lots of determination, tears and sleepless nights you do get there. I wouldn't have it any other way now it is just like second nature. I have people encouraging me to use formula which I just don't get, I know I can use it and if I wanted to I would be but I don't and that's just the way it is. For me I chose to breastfeed because even though it's so hard it's only for a very short amount of time and I know its the best thing to do for my babies and I. I am extremely blessed to have such supportive husband who does more than his fair share to enable me to spend a lot of my time feeding and expressing. I know that it's not for everyone and not everyone is able to breastfeed and there are lots of women who choose to go straight to formula and honestly power to them! As a mother WE get to decide what's best for OUR babies and that's our right and no one can ever take that away from us. Use that motherly instinct and do what's best for you and your family. I so feel for women that aren't able to breastfeed and truly want to but please don't ever feel ashamed or feel like you are any less of a mother because you are not. I hope that you feel at peace with your decision whatever it may be.