It might surprise you that breast feeding has many ups and downs, this is by design. If you are wondering if you can breast feed, well the answer is yes you can. Learn as much as you can about breast feeding while you are still pregnant. Just as with anything in life the more you learn and prepare the better equipped you will be once your baby comes.
Fortunately, there has been an increase in the amount of antenatal online classes or face to face workshops for pregnant women and couples. These are great to help you prepare for birthing and care for your baby once born. Breast feeding focused classes are so important to prepare you. If you think about it, it might be the most important topic as you will be feeding from day one and often throughout the day.
My Breastpump has compiled a list of 10 important facts to know about breast feeding:
1.You will have milk
During your pregnancy your body has grown your baby/babies and will continue to be able to look after and supply nutrients for them for the first 6 months of life. This is amazing that your body will continue to be able to support your baby’s growth without any other food. After the first 6 months your baby will also need solids.
2.Your body starts to make milk in your 2nd trimester
In preparation for your baby’s arrival your body starts to make a very small amount of milk in your 2nd trimester. This is your first milk, and it is called colostrum. Colostrum is a specialized milk that is designed to transition your baby from the womb onto the more mature milk as your baby learns how to feed. It is very high in nutrients, mineral, antibodies and surprisingly is only found in small amounts. This very precious milk is present in the pregnancy and the first few days after birth. Thereafter your milk transitions to a mature milk.
3.Hormones are responsible for milk production
There are a few different hormones that are involved in the production of breast milk. The most important 2 are oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin is responsible for the squeezing of your milk grands, that are found deep inside your breast. This helps to push the milk from inside your breast towards your nipple. Prolactin is responsible for making your breast milk. Both hormones are produced by your brain when your brain feels stimulation at your breast. This can be cause by a baby suckling, hand expression, or use of a breast pump.
4.Understanding supply and demand is essential to successful breast feeding
The key to understanding how breast milk is made is that you need to stimulate the breast to increase the body’s hormone level. The more stimulation that you breast experiences the more hormones and thus more milk. This is so important in the first few weeks and even more important in the first few days. By feeding your baby on demand helps your body to increase the amount of milk that it is making for your baby’s needs.
5.Your body does not waste
Making breast milk takes up energy and valuable nutrients, so it only makes sense that your body would not want to waste a single drop. Therefore your body actually makes the most amount of breast milk while your baby feeds. In-between feeds your breasts will make small amounts of breast milk and this is they you may start to feel a bit full before your next feed. Most of the breast milk is made after the breast has been stimulated. It may take the body a minute or two for the prolactin level to increase and start to make lots of milk, but once it starts it will make as much milk as your baby needs. Your body will not continue to make thee large amounts without the stimulation at the breast because then you would end up leaking the whole time and what a waste of breast milk that would be!
6.Natural flow of breast milk in your first week
In the first few days after the birth, the first milk, Colostrum, is found in small amounts. This is because Colostum is fully loaded with energy, nutrients, and antibodies. In fact, 5ml of it has the same energy content as 30ml of mature breast milk. Your baby’s stomach is also very small and it can only take a few mls of breast milk at a time. These are just two reasons why your body starts off with small amounts of breast milk. It is by design to help your baby learn to breast feed and also because your baby does not need more.
After a few days you will notice that your breasts are starting to feel fuller and that they may even get a bit hard. This is a great sign as it means that your mature breast milk is starting to be made. Continue to feed on demand and your body will start to regulate the correct amount of milk for your baby.
7.Natural flow of mature breast milk
After about a week or two your breast may start to feel softer and less full. This is totally normal and is a fantastic sign that your breasts are now able to regulate how much milk your baby needs.
8.Deep latch is key
A deep latch is so important to a comfortable breast feed and to make sure that your baby can get enough milk. The deep latch helps you to stimulate your breasts to trigger your hormones to make milk while not causing any trauma to your nipples. Many breast-feeding issues stem from not having a deep enough latch.
9.Find a support system
Support, Support, support is key to being a mom and one of the most important parts of breast feeding. Find a friend or family member that has been successful at breast feeding and ask them questions: look for online breast feeding groups or find breast feeding support groups near you. My Breastpump would love to join with you on your journey and to provide you with breast feeding support. You can follow us on our insta and facebook pages, where we share information on breast feeding and pumping.
Remember to sign up for a class or two on breast feeding. Get to learn as much as possible about how breast-feeding works. Find a breast-feeding partner that is there to help you along the way so that you can reach out for help if you need it. Let us know which the most interesting fact was.