Some thoughts about breastfeeding

It's not always straighforward...

I believe that breastfeeding is within the grasp of the majority of mums and babies.... but I also know that it's not always straightforward...

Breastfeeding is the normal, natural way to feed and nurture a baby. When breastfeeding is going well, there is an easy, symbiotic flow between mum and baby and it is a mutually joyful, sustaining experience. However, there are a number of things that can impact on that flow and some new mums and babies find that the early days of breastfeeding are confusing or a struggle – perhaps painful too. How could something so 'natural' prove to be so demanding and difficult?

Breastfeeding is like a dance that both mother and baby learn together. It doesn't always 'just happen'.

It is:

  • part instinct..... part learned skill.....
  • part confidence... part patience and practice
  • part determination... part help and support
  • part science..... part art.

By choosing to breastfeed and sticking with it, you and your baby have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

In the early days, breastfeeding is the perfect way to get to know each other. A new baby’s needs for food, warmth and comfort, can all be satisfied at the breast. This will reassure him that the outside world is a safe and secure place while his tummy is filled. For mum, breastfeeding releases mothering hormones, so she connects with her baby in a special way and it helps her to relax.

As the weeks go by and breastfeeding becomes a regular and easy activity, mum and baby can get out and about without the need to bring along lots of equipment. Breastfeeding is convenient, totally environmentally friendly and provides a complete nutritional package as well as continuous support to baby’s developing immune system.

Older babies continue to benefit from breastfeeding too. Even once your baby is eating ‘proper’ food, they can still enjoy all the ongoing benefits of breastfeeding - nutrition, immunity and nurturing - until they are ready to wean completely. Many parents find that breastfeeding becomes an indispensable parenting tool and a guaranteed source of reassurance and comfort for their crawler/walker as they start to explore their world.

 

A word about formula and bottles

There are times when it may be important to offer baby an alternative or a supplement to breastmilk.

Times, too, when it can be a relief for mum to be able to do so. Sometimes, formula or expressed milk is a helpful tool in the process of improving breastfeeding.

Using formula is never my first thought unless it is clear that your baby is really hungry, but it may be something that we can consider together. Also, I should reassure you that I will never criticise or judge you if it is something that you are already doing.