GLUM MUMS I Top 10 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding


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Breastfeeding may be natural, but in my experience it doesn't always come naturally!!

I am now an experienced breastfeeder- being Mum to a 2 year old girl and a 3 month old baby boy, but am still learning! I breastfed my 2yo until her 2nd birthday when my son was born. However,  both experiences were completely different and each with their own issues. Here I give you some tips based on what I have learned. Hope it's helpful!

First my story:

Both my kids had tongue ties cut, and my son also has a lip tie and unusual palate.

My daughter couldn't feed for the first week as she was in special care for a respiratory infection, so I had to (painfully) hand express to get my milk going and they fed the colostrum to her via tube. We had her tongue tie cut privately at about 6 weeks after seeing a private lactation consultant, as it was causing painful feeding and the NHS gave me no help to resolve it. The pain caused nipple thrush for me and oral thrush for her which took forever to get rid of using various horrible medicines (nystatin and miconazole).

I found out that tongue tie is a genetic trait passed from my Dad.  After the tie was cut, her feeding improved vastly, but she always preferred feeding laying down on the bed parallel to me rather than sitting, which was difficult for going out to visit people or going to classes. I tried every type of bottle for expressed milk to solve this but she always refused a bottle until she was about 9 months old. This also meant I could never go out and leave her with anyone else.

When my son was born, I flagged up the tongue tie which he appeared to have with the paediatrician, who said it was mild, and to see how things went. Unfortunately he found it difficult to feed, despite me going to several 'breastfeeding cafes' where they said I have a good latch.

Through my local South London La Leche League Facebook group I managed to make contact with a midwife who referred me for a tongue tie division. This didn't resolve the problem.  I then went to a private lactation consultant a few weeks later who advised that it hadn't been cut back enough and he had to have it cut further. She also said he has upper lip tie but it's not common practice to cut these due to lack of research.

He also has a palate not condusive to feeding. He was in a lot of pain after the cut but yet still feeding no better. Thrush again an ongoing battle solved in the end by putting probiotic powder on his tongue. Again he only feeds laying down. He also had green, vinegary smelling poo and lots of wind since the start, so I googled it and came across this article about lactose overload and oversupply:

It fits perfectly with what is happening and when I express I can see tons of watery foremilk gushing out! After trying not to feed him full boobs I seem to be making headway and his poos are more yellow although am still having to lie down to feed, very awkward with a 2 yo.

So the moral of my story is: breastfeeding may not be simple and things may not always be what they seem or what you are told.  It may be worth it though if you are able to persevere, both as a bonding experience and for its nutritional benefits.

Here is my little boy feeding

Here are my top 10 tips for new mums wanting to breastfeed:

1. Take your own expressing machine to the hospital to get your milk going in conjunction with gentle hand expressing- I use  a Medela Swing.

2. Immediately check for tongue-tie, (which apparently affects 3-10% of newborn babies) and if present push for a referral- see

3. Don't leave the hospital until you have established breastfeeding and been shown by a breastfeeding specialist- make sure you have a good latch (see here for video of a good latch)

4. If you are having any problems after coming home seek help immediately,  do not wait until you get sore thinking that's what breastfeeding is about- it's not! Go private if necessary (if in London, Kathryn Fisher in Croydon for example charges only £30 for a consultation and can do referrals to Kings Hospital)

5. Join your local La Leche League group for support

6. Try different breastfeeding positions such as lying down or the rugby hold to see if that helps or works better for you, see here

7. If baby seems unsettled during a feed try winding them several times during a feed and re latching

8. Keep an eye out for nipple and oral thrush where baby will have a very white tongue and it won't rub off, and may be rubbing his mouth- more info on the NHS site here

9. Maybe try mixing in some bottled expressed milk once a day to get baby used to both boob and bottle to give you more freedom- and maybe give at the 11pmish late feed to see them through the night longer

10. Every woman's breastfeeding journey will be different and possibly with each child, and sometimes it can seem impossibly difficult, but hopefully if you can get help through the hard bits the journey will get easier along the way. If you end up needing to bottle feed expressed milk or formula then accept that you tried your best. You're doing great. 

Good luck!

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