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The ABC's of Breastfeeding



Areolas.


The Areola is the dark area that surrounds the nipple. When you are breastfeeding the baby the best and proper way to latch involves getting as much of the areola as possible in the baby’s mouth to allow proper sucking strength for baby. When baby has a proper latch this will make breastfeeding more comfortable for baby and for mom.

Bonding.


When you breastfeed with your baby this creates a wonderful bond between you two as you are spending good quality time together during feeds. Cherish these moments and make eye contact when they nurse this will also comfort them.

Colostrum.


Colostrum is known as the first milk that comes into the breasts right after the baby is born. This milk this thick, sticky and has a yellow color to it. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.

Diet.


You want to make sure you have a healthy diet when breastfeeding to make sure your baby is getting all of the proper nutrients when they eat. Not only that a healthy diet is good for mom as well as staying healthy is very important.


Every journey will be different.


Not every breastfeeding journey is going to be the same and you have to remember that you cannot compare yourself and your baby to others and their experience. We all want to be able to feed our child the way that we hope, but sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned. However your journey takes you make that exactly that, your journey. Be proud of it.

Foremilk.


Foremilk is the first milk that comes out at each feeding that tends to be more watery in consistency and has the least amount of nutrition. As baby continues to nurse the milk thickens and has more nutrients which starts to fill the baby's stomach.

Gather support.


Support is the most important thing you need on your journey to breastfeed. There will always be people who will make you feel down about your choices but ultimately it is your choice and you need to feel loved and supported. If you feel that constant support your journey to nurse will be smoother and you will feel more confident.


Hindmilk.


Hindmilk is the milk you will find towards the end of each feed. This milk is thicker and has more fats and is more nutritious.

Immunity.


Breastfeeding can impact your baby’s immune system in a positive way as when they are born they do not have an immune system. Breast milk provides proteins, sugars and fats to help your baby stay healthy and helps your baby’s immune system to improve each day.

Journey.


Breastfeeding is a journey from start to finish and we have to remember each day will always be different. We will have our ups and downs and many frustrations along the way and we have to remind ourselves that is part of the experience. We have to keep pushing and to stay strong when it feels hard and to never give up. And when you feel that your journey is over that is your choice and you should always feel good about it.


Kindness.


Be kind to yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself when things may be feeling less than positive. You are doing the best that you can, keep positive and remind yourself that you are only human.

Letdown.


Letdown is the release of milk from the breast. You can usually feel it and each experience is different. For me it is a tightening and tingling feeling as the milk begins to release and then my breasts feel full. Letdown is triggered by baby suckling or when the nerves in your breast are stimulated in any way.

Mammary glands.


If you look at your breasts and examine your nipples there will be bumps surrounding the nipple, these bumps contain oils. The oil cleanses the nipple and prevents cracking during breastfeeding.

Nipple.


The nipple is the protruding part of the areola, this part of the breast secretes the milk for breastfeeding. Nipples contain duct openings which is where the milk comes out of during a feed.


Oversupply, oh my!


Being able to successfully breastfeed is already a huge blessing. Not everyone is able and it can be a tiring, exhausting part of the postpartum period. Some are able to produce a little and some are able to produce a lot. I have been on both sides. One is definitely more discouraging than the other but at the same time I felt fortunate to produce any at all. Oversupply can have positive and negative outcomes. The positive is that you are able to pump and store and save plenty of milk if you choose. A slight negative of having an oversupply is that the flow can be so overwhelming that it pumps out faster than normal while baby is eating, causing choking. Something that I do with my oversupply is pump in between feeds that way when baby is ready to nurse, the flow is a lot slower.

Pump.


Pumping is a great way to remove the milk from your breasts and to store your breastmilk. Pumping is usually for when you are ready to go back to work, go on a date night, or even just take a break and let someone else feed your baby. There are many different types of breast pumps, find one that works for you and feels comfortable so each pumping experience feels right.

Quiet time.


For many nursing mothers breastfeeding can feel like part of their quiet time. They are able to relax and take a breather as they feed baby. Grab a snack, get your water bottle and breathe as you feed baby and get that time to yourself.


Rest.


Breastfeeding can be exhausting and very time consuming, especially in the first few months. You are trying to find a schedule that works with your baby, work around new routines and help baby figure out what works for them. You have to remember to rest in between feeds. I am guilty of nursing then just hanging out which ads to my lack of sleep then by the time I am ready to lay down, it is time to nurse again. Find that balance so you are feeling confident in your breastfeeding journey as well as nice and rested.

Shields.


Breast shields are wonderful because a lot of mothers have a hard time getting baby to latch for various reasons. The shield is most commonly used when baby has a lip or tongue tie but there could be other reasons for need as well.

Tongue-Tie.


Tongue tie can be common but most of the time it is missed which aids in frustration for baby and mom, this can be discouraging and breastfeeding usually ends. When the baby is born mention it to their pediatrician, a quick check and save a lot of time and stresses as the months pass by.

Understand.


As I have mentioned before, breastfeeding is one crazy ride for everyone. Understand that it can be great or negative but you are doing the best job you can for yourself and your baby.


Very healthy.


It is no secret how healthy breast milk is for your baby. But remember just because it is healthy and the optimal decision when it comes to feeding your baby, don’t feel discouraged if you cannot breastfeed or choose to feed your baby another way.

Weaning.


Weaning can be extremely difficult as usually nobody is really ready so it can feel abrupt and you can have many emotions. Weaning can also be a slow process which means you have slowed down on the pumping and nursing to slow down your supply. This can be difficult or a positive experience for yourself.

eXpress.


Expressing breast milk is removing the milk from the breasts either by hand or by using a pump. Sometimes if you feel engorged and need a quick release of pressure you can hand express the milk. Sometimes hand expression is nice to do in the shower as the heat helps relieve some achiness as well as you can let the milk fall into the shower.

YOU know what’s best.


At the end of the day the choice on if/how/when you choose to breastfeed is ultimately up to you and nobody else. You can read all of the books and talk to all of your friends but you will always know what is best for your baby.

Zzzz’s.


I use this one often...sleep. In between feeds, sleep. If you have a friend of family member feeding baby, sleep. If you have a few minutes to sleep when baby is sleeping, just try. I know it is hard. I am guilty of watching a show or having an hour of me time, but sleep can also be great me time.