Expert Q&A: Your Breastfeeding Questions Answered
Julia Daly from More Than Milk is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Paediatric Registered Nurse with over 17 years’ experience working with babies and children. Julia is also mother of three beautiful breastfed children and understands well the demands and delights of family and motherhood.
Like every other aspect of motherhood, the breastfeeding journey is different for everyone. Some mamas find it happens straight away, some mamas have problems finding the perfect latch and some mamas find it extremely painful. The important thing to know is that you don’t have to face this journey alone, there are experts out there like Julia who can help you.
We recently asked our Hotmilk Lingerie audience what their burning breastfeeding questions were and Julia kindly answered them
What’s the best way to increase your milk supply?
A combination of these are going to get the best results.
Breast stimulation is the MOST important and effective way to have a good milk supply.
Deep Latch - If you don't have a good latch you won't remove milk well and hence your body know to make enough.
Feed Frequently - Feed 2-3hrly during the day; no more than 4 hrs between feeds overnight
Double pumping after a feed - 10 mins straight after MOST feeds. The Bellema Effective Pro (hyperlink to https://www.morethanmilk.co.nz/products/bellema-double-electric-breast-pump-hospital-grade) is specifically designed to increase supply
Power pumping - This is when you pump for ten minutes, rest for ten minutes, and so on, for a total of 60 minutes making up the ‘power hour.’ (This can be done a few times a day.)
What happens if you have an oversupply of milk?
It is so important to be diagnosed before you do anything else. This can be done by a lactation consultant or midwife.
If there is a true over supply, you might want to try block feeding or just try to feed on one side
This is really common. Up to 70% of babies spill at it peaks at four months of age. As long as your baby is healthy and growing well, there is no cause for concern. When it becomes abnormal is if your baby is not gaining weight, or if the spilling is causing them distress.
When would you recommend antenatal expression of colostrum?
Antenatal expressing of colostrum is the hand expression and collection of colostrum during pregnancy. Expressed colostrum is collected and frozen and used to feed a baby after birth, if required.
From about the 16th week of pregnancy, a mother’s breasts begin to make colostrum.
Before expressing colostrum antenatally it is important to discuss this with your midwife or obstetrician.
Some potential reasons for expressing colostrum antenatally include if a mother has:
- A baby born to a mother who has diabetes during pregnancy is at risk of low blood sugar after birth. Receiving extra colostrum at this time can help a baby’s blood sugar level to stabilise.
- Conditions which may make it hard for a baby to breastfeed well, at least in the early postnatal period. For example babies diagnosed antenatally with cleft lip and/or palate, or a neurological or cardiac condition. Babies with these conditions may not be able to breastfeed well and so a mother will need to express her milk to be able to give it to her baby. Expressing colostrum antenatally can mean she has extra on hand if needed. It also gives her practice at expressing before her baby is born.
- A family history of cows’ milk protein sensitivity. A genetically predisposed baby who receives formula in the early postnatal period may have an increased risk of developing this condition.
Why is breastfeeding easy for some and hard for others?
There is no particular reason, it is a learned skill and the best chance of success is being prepared. The important thing is that if you are struggling, you do ask for help.
My top tips for breastfeeding are as follows:
- Feed your baby within the first hour of birth. Why? After this they become sleepy and have a recovery sleep. Get that colostrum in ASAP.
- Skin to Skin ++ Strip your baby down to their nappy, pop them on your chest and have snuggles. As well as it being a super lovely time having these cuddles it will also benefit you both greatly. Skin to skin helps regulate your newborns temperature and helps stimulate those hormones that produce milk. It also helps regulate their blood sugar levels and steady's their heart beat. You will notice their early feeding cues much more easily in this position too.
- Night 2 is EXHAUSTING! Feed, Feed, Feed. Cluster feeding is NORMAL during this time, go with the flow, they are bringing in your milk which is a GREAT thing.
- Get the latch right. If you are unsure ask for help! Nipple tenderness is common for the first 7-10 days and peaks day 3-4. Nipple pain that extends beyond 14 days is not normal. See a Lactation Consultant or Sign up to Julia’s FREE Online Breastfeeding Program.
- Breastfeeding support is the key to a successful journey. If it’s not going well, ask for help!
If you need any further advice or support, please don’t hesitate to contact Julia through her website.