I can’t actually believe that Georgie and I have made it four months breastfeeding! It’s definitely not been an easy ride but I’m so proud of us both that we’ve managed to get this far. When I was pregnant I wasn’t fussed at all about breastfeeding I was just going to go with the flow and if it didn’t work out I wasn’t worried about it.
I breastfed Frankie until 4 weeks but he cried all the time, turns out he was a VERY hungry baby and I just couldn’t keep up so we decided to put him on the bottle. With Charlie I think I got to week 1 and gave up, I’ve touched on this before but I found having Charlie quite hard, it was quite an emotional time for me, Frankie was so little still so it just felt like the right thing to do at the time and to be honest I just didn’t feel confident with much at the time so the idea of bottle just seemed better.
Georgie has been a completey different experience, although its been tough I have loved every single second of it, the only thing thats kept me going is how much I love doing it and how much I’ve not wanted to stop. I am in no way one of these breastfeeding crazy women who thinks bottles fed is wrong as I bottle-fed both my other boys this is more about my bond with Georgie and how much stronger and confident I’ve felt this time round with him. I have to admit the first two times I never felt supported much by the midwives but having Instagram this time round has helped me through some tough times as I have so many amazing followers that have given me their experiences and advice who have just gone through it or going through it at the same time as me, thats were I think instagram is amazing for Mum’s that are at home, you can easily access mums who are going through the same thing as you.
So Georgie, when he was born he went to NICU for a few days so I couldn’t feed him on demand like normal as he was on a glucose drip, I didn’t have a pump so I kept hand expressing every two hours to make sure my milk came through. On the second day I was able to start feeding him, he wasn’t the hungriest baby due to his glucose but we kept at it and from the get go he had the most amazing latch. I think this is one of the main reasons we’ve lasted so long.
The sign of a good latch is when it feels like the baby is draining the breast with longer sucks and their cheeks are full rather than small little sucks and dimples in their cheeks, thats a big indicator as to wether they are latched on well or not.
For the first month we didn’t really have any problems with the feeding at all, he was feeding every three hours but from around 6pm to 11pm he would cluster feed a lot. Surprisingly enough my nipples hardly got saw at all, again I really think the was down to his latch.
The first month is the hardest I think, your body is still very fragile and is going through such a massive change. My boobs were so painful for pretty much the whole of this month. I had to sleep in bras every night which I hated and I went through about 100 breast pads a day. I found the most amazing bras from H&M that I could wear all day and night as my boobs were so tender anything with a wire was too painful to wear. They are the ‘soft nursing bras ‘ and I highly recommend them for when your going through this swollen engourged stage. The only way I could get rid of the pain was to latch him on to drain the milk and that helped a lot. Im not saying your in pain all the time but you just feel rather delicate.
Mastitis is no joke.. and we got it in week three. It is one of the worst things I’ve had and makes you feel like you have flu. I had a blocked ducked on my left side. I saw my GP and got antibiotics to clear it although they took a while to kick in.
Things that helped me get through mastitis,
- latch baby on as much as you can as they will help get rid of it the more they feed ( they are very clever little things)
- Have a hot bath and put a hot flannel on your boob to help relieve some of that pain.
- Feed baby when your in the bath as the steam and heat helps clear it.
- Massage the breast to try and help clear the ducked.
- Rest as much as you can.
Georgie was getting my milk out so well through month one I hardly used my pump as I didn’t feel the need to use it. One thing I wish I had known about in the first few weeks is ‘ Naturebond silicone breastfeeding manual breast pump’. I have linked this in my breastfeeding must haves. It is AMAZING! You simply suck it on to the other breast while feeding and you catch all the milk that is coming out. In the first few weeks of breastfeeding you milk is pretty much constantly being produced until your body knows what your baby needs. Its the perfect opportunity to build some milk up in the fridge as you can keep all the milk that collects in the pump for anytime you want to give a bottle, like going for a meal. Ive linked some great breastfeeding holders in my ‘Breastfeeding must haves’.
In the first few weeks when I first started going out and feeding in public it was very daunting. I was constantly waiting for someone to say something. The first time we went out I actually went and sat on the toilet in a restaurant to feed him!!! Looking back now I can’t actually believe I did that, I just didn’t have much confidence back then. That definitely comes with time and it’s completely normal to feel that way.
Month two was a great month for us. We sailed through in terms of the breastfeeding.
I really started to feel confident with feeding him so I decided to give up even trying to feed him on my left as I have an inverted nipple and it just wasn’t happening, he become so distressed trying to latch on and I just thought why stress eahcother out. My midwife also said something amazing and that some people have twins so one baby would have to feed off just one side and also some women only have one breast so that was the day I stopped stressing out about the left side.
Month three was a tough one, at about 9 weeks I started to panic about my milk production. We had a few days were he cried all the time and wasn’t latching on properly. He kept fussing on the breast and moving his head around everywhere ( which I know now that I think he was going through a growth spurt and it’s natures way of the baby telling your body you need to produce more milk…I know crazy isn’t it!).
I got so upset about it and cried for a whole night. Tom was amazing and supported me through it telling me not to panic and that my milk hadn’t gone. I panicked the most one night as I decided to express some milk to see how much was coming out, and i think i got about a ml! That was it I thought everything had dried up and I was in such a state. That night i put out on instagrma what was going on and I had over a 100 messages of support, I was so overwhelmed with all the love we got and I honestly don’t think I’d have got through it without everyones support. So if you sent me a message thank you so so much. I think what I’d done was express straight away after feeding him so he’d already drained the breast. Expressing can be different for so many people so its hard to know what will work best for you, but this is what I learnt:
- Try and express at least an hour after feeding your baby as your milk would have started building back up by then.
- A babys latch is much more efficient than a pump so your baby can probably get your milk out much better than a pump so don’t stress if not much comes out.
- We are not in love with a pumps so our body knows its not the baby so sometimes you’ll never get as much out as a baby, try and watch the tele and distract yourself when expressing. I used to sit and stare at it willing milk to come out and nothing would but if I relaxed and took my concentration off the pump I usually could produce at least 40ml ( this is pretty standard for me now)
- You don’t need to pump for more than 5 to ten minutes as you’ve usually got everything out by that time, ( A midwife told me this).
- The electric pump I had wasn’t great and I wish I’d changed it in the beginning but I now have a manual madera pump and its gets my milk out SO much better! It’s also so much easier as you don’t have to constantly sit next to a power plug. If I’d had this in the beginning I definitely think I would have enjoyed expressing in the beginning.
Increasing milk production
Through that panic few days I found out the best things to help milk production which I’ve tried myself and I know definitely worked for me.
- Eat loads of porridge, oats are a great way to increase your milk.
- Fenugreek tablets, these are MAGICAL…. I started taking one twice a day which didn’t really see any results so I upped to two, three times a day and it makes my milk go crazy.
- Drink loads of water, silly one as everybody is supposed to drink water but I’m really bad at it so now I try and drink 3 litres a day…..the days i drink more i do notice more milk.
- Lactation cookies, these are great. I was sent some lovely ones so ill link them here if you want to get them out.
We also battled a lot with his weight through this month. I can’t tell you the stress of weigh in days. Georgie was born at 7 pounds 3 ounces and by 3 months he only weighed 8 pound 2. So on dec 7th dec I decided to give him his first bottle. I don’t know why I found it so hard but I just did. It was nothing to do with that I thought the bottle milk wasn’t as good it was just that I’d fed him all that time just from me and for some reason just felt so sad about letting him have anything else. I thought I’d get a seriously drunk baby and he’d sleep for ages but he was the same really, which made me have more faith in my milk. That was the day I started giving him one bottle of formula for his 10pm feed and i would express at 9.30pm just before so my body still thought I was feeding him and didn’t decrease my milk.
Month 4 has probably been the easiest yet, the Fenugreek tablets help a lot to keep my milk up and on any days I forget to take as many as I normally do I notice so much in my night time pump. My boobs don’t really get that engorged feeling much anymore and I don’t need to wear a bra at night which is amazing as I’ve hated it wearing them at night!
If you want to see Georgie’s daily routine just clear here.
We are still struggling with the weight thing as he’s still ‘under the line’ ( hate that stupid line) but we got him to put 10 ounces on in one week by topping him up with 30ml of formula after every feed. Since then I’ve been giving him 30ml formula after his morning breastfeed and the 150ml for his 10pm feed.
MY BREASTFEEDING MUST HAVS!
These products in my opinion are all you need to breastfeed.
- Where you nervous to breastfeed? I’m a First time Mum soon and I’m really worried about it all.. Please try not to worry about it, you will do whats best for you and your baby. Always trust your mothers intuition and if something isn’t working for you then just do what you feel is right. People put a lot of stress on mothers to breastfeed which I think is so unfair and just wrong. Especially for a first time mum everything feels so daunting. Just trust yourself and you’ll do an amazing job.
- How much does Georgie weigh now? Georgie weighs just over 10 pounds now.
- My dream would be to breastfeed & express (for when I work ) for 6 months. Any advice? I would definitely get a hand held madela pump. I found they were just so much easier to use and got my milk out so much easier. In the first month definitely take advantage that your milk just keeps flowing so try and build up as much of a milk stash then for when you’re back to work as when your milk settles down to when the baby normally feeds its a little harder to express a lot and feed baby.
- Did you find it hard to get the latch right? If I’m completely honest it was all Georgie, his latch has always been great from day one, but maybe because I was more confident this time and knew how to hold him it just worked. The position and latch is the most important things.
- How many times does Georgie feed in the day? How many hours between each feed? Georgie can feed from 7 to 10 times a day. It all depends on the way he feels that day. I never let him go over three hours, so if he’s asleep or content I will still feed him every three hours apart from at night I let him wake when he’s hungry.
- What have been your biggest challenges, have you ever felt you had to stop? What kept you going? I think my biggest challenge was believing in my milk and to not worry, the second month when I stressed out about my milk going it was such a stressful time and your milk is really affected by stress so I try not to worry now and what will be will be. Georgie has definiltey kept me going, I just love feeding him so much, theres not been a day were I’ve thought I can’t do this anymore so that has definitely got me through the hard days.
- Did you find it hard at the start of breastfeeding? Im due in march and want to breastfeed? Yes the first month is tough and really demanding but I promise you get through that and it does get easier.
- Did you start using nipple cream and nipple shields before they go sore to help? I did try nipple shields for my left side to try and help latch him on but I found it really awkward. The only times I’ve had to use cream is when I’ve expressed a few times in a day, I find that’s more harsh on the nipple than babys latch.
- How do you find dressing when your breastfeeding? I haven’t struggled too much with dressing a I’m a jeans and jumper kind of girl so along as I wear a vest top under everything then I’m fine. I have bought a few nursing tops but always seem to head to the vest tops under everything. You can wear any top if you have a vest top as you can just pull the top up and leave the vest down to cover your belly. works great for me. If i wear a dress i wear on that has buttons at the from so i can easily get my bra.
- What are your favourite breastfeeding bras? My favourite ones have been from h&m and asos. I’m still yet to find one with a bit of a pad as my boobs aren’t that big so always feel so flat chested in nursing bras. I’ve linked them in my breastfeeding must havs.
I really hope you enjoyed our journey so far and found something useful or helpful to your journey. I’m not sure how long we will breastfeed for but for now we are and that makes us happy.
Love Gracie xo