Create a feeding experience that makes your heart sing

shutterstock_32195170One of the many great things about breastfeeding, is that it is flexible and you can really create a breastfeeding experience that works for you and your baby. Many mums have asked me for breastfeeding and expressing tips, so I hope this blog helps you too. Here is a frequently asked question about breastfeeding and expressing tips.

“I’m really tired and seem to have very little milk at the end of the day when my baby seems hungriest. Baby feeds continuously in the evening and then frequently at night. I need to get baby to bed so that I can have dinner and a break, so wonder how and when to offer a bottle feed. I don’t want to introduce formula but don’t know how or when to express to get the milk baby needs.”

It is natural to have less milk in the afternoon and this can often lead to baby feeding frequently and feeds being close together. This is called cluster feeding and many other mums are experiencing a similar feeding pattern, so it is not something that you are not alone and definitely not doing wrong.

Here are seven breastfeeding and expressing tips

When to express – Your milk supply is typically higher in the morning, so express after the first 2 feeds of the day – say 7am and 10am, and use this milk for an evening bottle. Remember to express in place of the breastfeed, so that you maintain your supply and don’t develop congestion. If baby is being offered a bottle at 10pm, you can express both breasts at 9pm and go to early.

Offer a split feed – Offering baby a split feed at bath time encourages baby to take in more calories. The more calories your baby takes in during the day, the less he or she will need at night. You can also consider doing a breastfeed before bath – both sides, bath, breastfeed after the bath – both sides and then offer a top up.

Offer a bottle feed when it suits you – Many mums think that they can only offer a bottle feed in place of a breastfeed at 10pm or the last feed of the day. This is certainly a popular time since the introduction of baby routines, but you can offer a bottle at a time that works for you. If you struggle in the evening, you can offer baby a bottle feed of expressed milk after his or her bath as suggested above. Some mums find that offering baby a bottle of expressed milk at 4pm when supply is lowest and expressing both sides instead, fills baby up, takes less time and set everyone up for a great evening. The 10pm is popular but doesn’t always lead to longer periods of sleep.

Boost your supply – You can also boost your afternoon milk supply by having 3 fenugreek capsules at lunchtime. Fenugreek will boost your supply, so that your baby is able to get more milk and will be more satisfied. There are many other galactogues (milk producing agents) so have a read online and find one that works for you. (Always check with GP)

Smart top ups – If you feel that your baby just isn’t getting enough milk at feeds, you can use the milk you express in the morning, to top your baby up during the day. Offer both breasts at feeds and then a 20 -30ml top up of expressed milk afterwards. This will make the evenings less frantic and lead to a calmer bedtime. (Have your positioning and attachment checked to ensure baby is draining the breast effectively)

Know what’s normal for your baby – Your baby may have a small tummy which is why he or she needs to feed frequently – frequent feeds are not always a ‘sign of low milk supply’. The more frequently your baby feeds, the higher the fat content. Use breast compression to ensure that the breast empties well – the better drained it is, the quicker it will refill and the more satiated baby will be.

Formula is not the silver bullet it is made out to be – Breast milk is easily absorbed and utilised by your baby. If your baby’s feeding is all over the place, there will be improvements you can make to get breastfeeding on the right track. Breastfeeding is often wrongly associated with lack of sleep, but I usually find that mums just haven’t been given the right advice, so if you don’t want to introduce formula, you don’t have to.

More breastfeeding and expressing tips

Check that your positioning and attachment works for you and your baby, is suited to your unique anatomy, baby’s oral cavity and your birth history.

Ensure that your feeding pattern reflects your breast size and your baby’s weight and age.

Remember that a pump won’t get as much from the breast as baby does and expressing is not a sign of how much milk you produce.

Express from both sides after the morning feed, rather than just one side.

Ensure that there is at least an hour between finishing expressing and your next breastfeed.

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This is a wonderful book. The format is super helpful and means you can easily find the relevant section at 3am when you need help feeding your baby! Advice is practical and realistic. If you want to breast feed, buy this book!

Find out why your baby is snacking and how to enable better feeds

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Snacking is great for some mums and babies but you may find you simply don’t have the time to sit down and feed frequently, especially when if you have other little one to look after. So what is normal and how can you help your breastfeeding baby to get what he needs easily so that you both enjoy some down time between feeds?

There is no ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ feeding pattern a breast fed baby should follow, as they will feed according to their needs, their tummy capacity and calorie requirements. However, you can enable your breastfeeding baby to feed more effectively really easily.

Here are some elements to consider and tips to play with.

 

 

How to tell the difference between snacking and normal feeding patterns?

You may question whether you produce enough milk if your baby wants to feed every 45 minutes to an hour. If this is happening late in the afternoon or at the end of the day, it is considered ‘normal’ and pretty standard as this is when your milk supply is low and baby isn’t able to get as much milk, as easily as he or she can at the morning feeds, when your supply is naturally higher. Consider feeding from both sides at these feeds, ensuring that your positioning and latch are right, so that your baby can get as much milk as possible, without hurting you or working too hard.

How big is your baby?

If your baby is tiny, he or she will only have a small little stomach which fills up really quickly, so in order to meet daily (24 hourly) calorie requirements, he or she will need to feed little and often until it gets bigger and is able to accomodate a bigger feed. Your baby is not snacking – just feeding according to size and in time, this will be less frequent.

If your baby is not so small – you may need to consider changing your feeding pattern, so that baby is able to get more milk at each feed. This may mean that you do a nappy change mid feed to wake baby or maybe even offer the second side, if you feel that baby is not getting much milk from the first side. Your baby is snacking so improve your feeds so that he or she can get more milk at feeds and go a little longer.

Is your baby going through a growth spurt?

There are certain age groups that need to feed more frequently to increase your milk supply and this is often misinterpreted as snacking. If your baby has suddenly started to feed more frequently and is close to 3 weeks, 5 weeks or 10 weeks, he or she is probably going through a growth spurt. Instead of trying to restrict feeds, you can encourage them and help your baby to boost your milk supply. The sooner you boost your supply, the sooner your breastfeeding baby will stop snacking or feeding frequently.

Ensure that your baby drains the breast well at each feed

When your baby first starts feeding, the milk will be quite thirst quenching and not very calorific. As your baby continues to feed, your milk becomes creamier. Use a nappy change mid feed or when your little one becomes sleepy, to wake baby and keep him or her interested in feeding for a bit longer. The more calories your baby gets at each feed, the more satisfied he or she will be and this will lead to less frequent feeds.

More often than not, snacking or cluster feeding is just a phase that will pass as soon as it has begun. Small changes can lead to big improvements but if you are struggling, know that there are more practical tips available to help your breastfeeding baby stop snacking.

As always, know that we are here to help you get the breastfeeding experience that you dream of … so just get in touch and let’s make it happen.

Breastfeeding and expressing tips

shutterstock_73471273

One of the many great things about breastfeeding, is that it is flexible and you can really create a breastfeeding experience that works for you and your baby. Many mums have asked me for breastfeeding and expressing tips, so I hope this blog helps you too. Here is a frequently asked question about breastfeeding and expressing tips.

“I’m really tired and seem to have very little milk at the end of the day when my baby seems hungriest. Baby feeds continuously in the evening and then frequently at night. I need to get baby to bed so that I can have dinner and a break, so wonder how and when to offer a bottle feed. I don’t want to introduce formula but don’t know how or when to express to get the milk baby needs.”

It is natural to have less milk in the afternoon and this can often lead to baby feeding frequently and feeds being close together. This is called cluster feeding and many other mums are experiencing a similar feeding pattern, so it is not something that you are not alone and definitely not doing wrong.

Here are seven breastfeeding and expressing tips

When to express – Your milk supply is typically higher in the morning, so express after the first 2 feeds of the day – say 7am and 10am, and use this milk for an evening bottle. Remember to express in place of the breastfeed, so that you maintain your supply and don’t develop congestion. If baby is being offered a bottle at 10pm, you can express both breasts at 9pm and go to early.

Offer a split feed – Offering baby a split feed at bath time encourages baby to take in more calories. The more calories your baby takes in during the day, the less he or she will need at night. You can also consider doing a breastfeed before bath – both sides, bath, breastfeed after the bath – both sides and then offer a top up.

Offer a bottle feed when it suits you – Many mums think that they can only offer a bottle feed in place of a breastfeed at 10pm or the last feed of the day. This is certainly a popular time since the introduction of baby routines, but you can offer a bottle at a time that works for you. If you struggle in the evening, you can offer baby a bottle feed of expressed milk after his or her bath as suggested above. Some mums find that offering baby a bottle of expressed milk at 4pm when supply is lowest and expressing both sides instead, fills baby up, takes less time and set everyone up for a great evening. The 10pm is popular but doesn’t always lead to longer periods of sleep.

Boost your supply – You can also boost your afternoon milk supply by having 3 fenugreek capsules at lunchtime. Fenugreek will boost your supply, so that your baby is able to get more milk and will be more satisfied. There are many other galactogues (milk producing agents) so have a read online and find one that works for you. (Always check with GP)

Smart top ups – If you feel that your baby just isn’t getting enough milk at feeds, you can use the milk you express in the morning, to top your baby up during the day. Offer both breasts at feeds and then a 20 -30ml top up of expressed milk afterwards. This will make the evenings less frantic and lead to a calmer bedtime. (Have your positioning and attachment checked to ensure baby is draining the breast effectively)

Know what’s normal for your baby – Your baby may have a small tummy which is why he or she needs to feed frequently – frequent feeds are not always a ‘sign of low milk supply’. The more frequently your baby feeds, the higher the fat content. Use breast compression to ensure that the breast empties well – the better drained it is, the quicker it will refill and the more satiated baby will be.

Formula is not the silver bullet it is made out to be – Breast milk is easily absorbed and utilised by your baby. If your baby’s feeding is all over the place, there will be improvements you can make to get breastfeeding on the right track. Breastfeeding is often wrongly associated with lack of sleep, but I usually find that mums just haven’t been given the right advice, so if you don’t want to introduce formula, you don’t have to.

More breastfeeding and expressing tips

Check that your positioning and attachment works for you and your baby, is suited to your unique anatomy, baby’s oral cavity and your birth history.

Ensure that your feeding pattern reflects your breast size and your baby’s weight and age.

Remember that a pump won’t get as much from the breast as baby does and expressing is not a sign of how much milk you produce.

Express from both sides after the morning feed, rather than just one side.

Ensure that there is at least an hour between finishing expressing and your next breastfeed.