By Mia Von Scha
Ok, firstly, breastfeeding is not easy. It requires an enormous amount of patience and perseverance. Don’t give up. Everyone can do it, you just sometimes need a bit of help. Ask for it, but make sure you ask the right person. Most hospitals should have a lactation specialist on their staff who should help you out even after you have been discharged. Otherwise, call the Breastfeeding Association of SA: 011 883 9873
Ok, so what do you need to know………….
BREAST PADS: Best ones I’ve found so far are PIGEON… comfy, absorbant etc.
NIPPLE CREAM: The only nipple cream to use is LANSINOH. It is very expensive (about R250 a tube at Discem), but well worth it. Start using this at least a month before you’re due… it will help to get your nipples supple and primed for your little monster (which is what you’ll think it is once is clamps down on your inexperienced tits!). This is also the one nipple cream that doesn’t need to be washed off before you feed (bonus!). Apply after every feed and every bath. You can also use it before you shower if your nipples freak out from the spray!
DAY THREE: Or day four in my case, but close enough… This is the day your ‘milk comes in’, and while your tits may look hilarious (like massive implants gone wrong), it’s unlikely that you’ll be laughing. Take some pics so you can laugh later when they stop hurting! But in the meantime, there is a fabulous routine for dealing with this which is very tedious and time consuming, but it WILL help. Before you feed, put hot (as hot as you can handle them without burning), wet facecloths or towels over your boobs. Then, use ARNICA GEL and give your breasts (or get your partner to) a five minute massage each, massaging towards the nipple, but without getting the gel on the areola or nipple. This can be quite painful, but don’t go lightly… you need to massage out any lumps and bumps so that you don’t end up with blocked ducts. Then wash off the gel and feed. Make sure you have a CABBAGE in the fridge, and afterwards wrap your breasts (again, avoid the areola and nipple) in cold cabbage leaves for 20 minutes. Tuck them into your bra to keep them in place. Remove them when they’re warm. Ok, you’re gonna smell, but its worth it for the relief they bring! Use this routine every time you need to feed until the pressure eases up.
BREAST PUMP: If you can borrow one from a friend, they are very useful to have around even if you’re not intending on expressing once you go back to work etc. Sometimes it helps just to have some expressed milk to keep the baby happy while you’re out until you can get somewhere to feed. Also, for those days when your little monster decides not to feed on one boob at all, it helps to be able to relieve the pressure with a quick 5 minute session on the pump. If you’re going to buy one, MEDELA is a very good brand.
BERRY JUICE: Remember your good old Schleghen Berry Juice… well don’t forget about it just yet. Here is a recipe for a juice mix that will do two things – firstly help to increase your milk supply, and secondly give you some added energy (which, trust me, you’ll need!): Mix 25ml of Schleghen Berry Juice, 500ml of Apple Juice, 1/2 a packet of Blackcurrent Rehidrat, and 1.5l of water. Drink a couple of glasses during the day. They also suggest adding a few drops of Rescue Remedy to this. Personally, I prefer to take my Rescue Remedy separately in tablet form – it doesn’t contain alcohol, and you can take it more often, not just with your juice.
WATER: And don’t forget the water either! Very very important… you are going to dehydrate while you feed, so keep a large glass of water next to you and glug away! I like to set up a specific place for feeding, with a comfy chair, something to read, some music etc. Then you can put your water, juice and all your tablets (Arnica, Calc Flour etc) next to you and take them every time you feed so as not to forget.
CALC FLOUR: I recommended this tissue salt for stretching during pregnancy, and I suggest that you continue taking it during breastfeeding as your tits are going to grow and shrink on a daily basis, so best keep them elastic and avoid those nasty stretchmarks!
MILK SUPPLY: If the berry juice is not doing the trick and you’re just not producing enough milk, don’t panic and give up… chat to your GP, Gynae or Midwife.