Breastfeeding- When there is too little

At the very start breastfeeding is not only painful but can be difficult because of milk production. This can become a problem at any stage of breastfeeding which I have personally experienced. A lot is happening in those first couple of weeks for baby but especially for you too. So I thought I would start with some background information:

After our bundle (or bundles) of joy come into the world, what we produce is a special milk called colostrum. Colostrum is full of immune boosting ingredients for bub. Your newborn doesn’t need a lot to fill up its small tummy, so lots of small, short feeds and skin-to skin contact in those first 48 hours makes good colostrum producing progress at the start. You will produce colostrum for about 3-4 days. Most women will experience their milk “coming in” around day 4, but this isn’t always the case. The timing is purely hormonal and it’s important to remember that it’s a gradual process… the milk will slowly change in consistency from the golden colostrum to thinner, white breastmilk. You will feel your breasts get fuller, warmer and heavier, all signs milk production is changing. Skin to skin contact does help for these hormonal signals to be released so lots of hugs and kisses for bub at the start can be very useful. By the first week all this has happened you have hopefully started producing breastmilk for your little one, who will feed every 1.5-2 hours. However, some mums struggle to produce enough milk for their little one. It’s also hard to tell how much you’re producing when you cannot see it, so if bub is gaining weight well then don’t stress! And as always there are experts you can be referred to, so see your GP for a referral to a lactation consultant. Another good source of information and support is the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline 1800 686 268 – expert mums with information and advice to assist you 7 days a week!

So here are a few tips I have come up with that have helped me when I didn’t feel I had enough milk, and will hopefully help you too:

1. Look After Mum!

As I have already mentioned, breastfed babies tend to feed every 1.5-2 hours, and its important to feed on demand and have lots of skin to skin contact. Then there’s the nappy changes, washing, naps, visitors and I’m exhausted just thinking about it! So it’s very easy to forget about YOU. You need rest, you need to eat well and drink water to produce enough milk for your little one.

Now is the time to call in all the support you can muster. Make sure if you’re up all night feeding little one you’re getting a nap with them during the day. I would keep a bottle of water handy always because it’s so easy to forget to drink water. Make sure you are eating… I know it’s hard when you’re on the go to make yourself a well thought out and healthy meal but keep lots of healthy snacks and quick meal options available to you. If you don’t think your getting all those vitamins and minerals in, then taking a suitable breastfeeding multivitamin such as Elevit Breastfeeding may help.

 

     

 

 

2. Expressing Breastmilk

If bub isn’t successfully emptying out the breast, it wont refill. This can be due to a number of issues including if bub is not latching onto the breast properly or if baby gets sleepy before finishing a feed.  If you don’t feel your breast is getting empty after feeds (i.e. softer, less heavy breasts) emptying them out with a breast pump after or in between feeds can help to improve breastmilk production. I can personally recommend the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump. You can use this as a single or double. It’s compact and lightweight for when you’re on the go and has a rechargeable battery. It mimics your babies sucking by offering a 2-phase system, where it produces short faster sucking at the start (to stimulate let down) and then longer sucking for pumping out the milk. It also has a let down and pumping suction level so you can select what level suits you for both.

Medela Freestyle Pump_preview.jpeg

3. Breastfeed more and more

If bub is under 6 months then this might help you:

-          Keep offering the breast every 2 hours during the day and 3 hours at night

-          Make sure you offer bub both sides at each feed

-          Only give breastmilk and avoid solids and other fluids to increase supply

I also found trying different breastfeeding positions improved Isaacs latch and my own comfort. This can be trialled at any age or stage. The Australian Breastfeeding Association have more information about the different positions, including pictures and videos on their website: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/attachment-breast


4. Fenugreek:

 

Natures Own Fenugreek Capsules_preview.jpeg

If you have tried all of the above and are sure that you just aren’t producing enough milk, you may want to consider Fenugreek. Fenugreek is a herb that has been used for centuries to increase milk supply in women. I personally have not tried it, but it does have great reviews in working for some mums. Nature’s Own Fenugreek Tablets can be found in pharmacies and I would recommend speaking to your pharmacist before purchasing this to make sure that it is suitable for you.

Signing Out,

Sandra #everymumspharmacist

Let’s Start Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift that we are given as mothers, however something so natural can be so difficult. When I speak to other mothers, their experiences of breastfeeding and duration vary, but the difficulties experienced in the first couple of weeks are synonymous – they can literally make or break you.

I breastfed my son Isaac till he was 15 months old, but it was not always smooth sailing. I want to share with you some things I found useful to help me get through those difficult first weeks. I hope that you might find something here that helps you too.


1. Cracked and Sore Nipples:

lansinoh.jpg

This has to be the number one problem I had at the start. My nipples were so sore I would grimace each time Isaac would latch on, which was every couple of hours! I found Lansinoh saved my life here, I would lather it on religiously before and after feeds and in between too. I kept the tube in my pocket so I wouldn’t forget and carry it with me. It is totally safe for both you and bub, and definitely helps to prevent cracking which can be very painful.

2. Nipple Shields

200.1593_packshot_contact_nipple_shields_M.jpg

If your nipples are sore, breast shields are worth a try. They help to reduce direct contact with the nipple and can be used for flat and inverted nipples. If you have an over active let down, nipple shields also help you to breastfeed your baby.

3. Hydrogel Pads:

008.0058_pack_hydrogel-pads.jpg

These pads can be placed directly onto the breast in between feeds to help in healing cracked nipples and relieve soreness. They do this by providing moisture to the area and the coolness of the pads helps to relieve any pain.

4. Nursing Pads:

Nursing pads.jpg

Nursing pads are fantastic at keeping your nipples and maternity bra dry in between feeds. My personal favourite are the Johnson’s Ultraform Nursing Pads, as they were highly absorbent and when wet remained in shape and dry so I didn’t need to change them more than once a day.

These products and tips will hopefully help you soldier on in the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding. I’ll end on this brilliant quote “Breastfeeding is 90% determination and 10% milk production”.

Signing out,

Sandra #everymumspharmacist

Introduction

Blog Introduction 

At first, I was a pharmacist married to a pharmacist but now I am a mother to our toddler Isaac and another boy on the way. Within this blog I will be sharing my experiences in pregnancy, motherhood combined with my health knowledge in baby care and motherhood matters.

My 4 years of university training helped give me an understanding of baby care but would never prepare me for the challenges of raising a baby. I have depended on the experiences of friends of mine who are mums to help shed a light when I had no idea what to do next. So I hope to share some of the knowledge I have gained from my unique experiences raising Isaac so far combined with my health care point of view. Hoping that sharing this information with you will help to make your journey through motherhood that little bit easier.

If you’re about to be a mum and carrying your bundle of joy everywhere you go, you are a mum wrestling your toddler at the nappy station, have questions about common baby health issues or a concern about motherhood matters I hope you will find something in here that helps.

So take a look, have a read, share what you like, give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook, and tell me if there is anything else you would like me to talk about.

Signing out,

Sandra #everymumspharmacist

Winter Is Coming – Cold, Flu, Baby and You

There has been a chill in the air this week, and already I have had a cancellation for a playdate because mum and bub are both sick with the flu. It’s a menace and unfortunately once one of you is sick its very likely that the rest of the family will be too.

Typical symptoms of the cold are runny/blocked nose, sneezing and cough. Whilst the symptoms of the flu are fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, blocked and runny nose and headaches. Both are caused by a virus, which means that what we use to treat the cold and flu is really targeted at improving symptoms while your body fights it.

Being pregnant there are a lot of “no no’s” in terms of medicines to treat cold and flu, and so is the case for babies and toddlers. So, I’m going to try and help by sharing with you what I have found to be safe and helpful to treat the cold and flu for both my pregnant self and for my toddler Isaac. I will also make an honourable mention to the breastfeeding mums who are also limited in what they can use.

1. Flu Vaccination:

flu shoot2.png

The only way we can really try to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination which is released every year. Each year the vaccine is different, and it is your best bet for either preventing or reducing the intensity of the flu you will get. The flu vaccination is completely safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mums and for babies from 6 months of age. In fact, pregnant mums and babies (6 months to 5 years) receive a free flu vaccination at their local GP. For other mums you can either get a flu vaccination at your doctor through purchasing it via a script from your pharmacy, or you can have your pharmacist, if approved, give you the vaccination on the spot in the pharmacy. This is great because it avoids all those appointments and waiting rooms. Last year my husband Dany gave me the flu vaccination at Amal’s Discount Chemist and it was very quick and easy, no appointment necessary, so you’re welcome to come in and get vaccinated by Dany.

2. Stay Hydrated and Rest:
For all mums including even if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, drinking plenty of water and resting are the best ways to help your body fight both the cold and flu. Rest can be almost impossible when you have a screaming baby or an energetic toddler. Now is the time to call in your support from your partner or family and friends so you can get the rest you need to recover. Babies and toddlers also need to keep up fluids if they’re sick, which if they’re being breastfed keep up the breastmilk and if older milk and water. Another great way to stay hydrated is using a product such as Hydralyte. Hydralyte contains many of the salts and minerals your body loses when it becomes dehydrated. It is suitable for the whole family.

hydralyte.jpg


3. Panadol (Paracetamol):

If you’re experiencing fever, body aches or pain, the safest form of relief for mums is Panadol (paracetamol). You just need to ensure that you do not exceed the recommended maximum dose (4 grams) and be wary of any other medicines you take in case they also contain paracetamol. If you’re ever unsure check with your pharmacist. Panadol is also safe for babies from 1 month of age and is great for relieving fevers and reducing any pain.

3. Steam Vaporiser:

A handy device which is safe for both mum and bub is a warm steam vaporiser. I find this extremely helpful especially in relieving any coughs and the menthol smell also helps to open the airways. Added benefit during winter when the air is dry is that it helps humidify the air which can help with dry skin too.

vickk vapouriser.jpg

4. Vicks Vaporub and Baby Balsam:

Vicks Vaporub for mum and BabyBalsam for bub from 3 months of age, are also safe and helpful to open up the airways and relieve a blocked nose.

5. Saline Nasal Spray:

Another safe product for a blocked nose for mum and bub is a saline nasal spray, such as Fess. They have one for adults and one for babies. This can be used throughout the day to help clear the sinuses and help relieve the symptoms of a blocked nose.

Fess little noses.jpg

Another safe product for a blocked nose for mum and bub is a saline nasal spray, such as Fess. They have one for adults and one for babies. This can be used throughout the day to help clear the sinuses and help relieve the symptoms of a blocked nose.

6. ArmaForce Pregnancy by BioCeuticals:


During pregnancy the immune system is lowered making women more prone to infection. ArmaForce Pregnancy contains a unique blend of Echinacea, Vitamin C and D and Zinc as well as other vitamins to boost immunity and help reduce the symptoms of the cold and flu. I have found this product especially useful as my pregnancies have been through the winter months when getting sick is more likely. It is safe to take at any stage of the pregnancy but always double check with your pharmacist to ensure it is perfect for you, especially if you are taking other medicines.

These are some safe options I have personally found useful for mum and bub to help combat the cold or flu.  If you’re ever unsure check in with your pharmacist or if your symptoms persist or worsen its best to have a visit to your doctor. I hope you have found this useful too!

armaforcepreg.jpg