Wednesday, 3 March 2010
My every three hour routine.
Breasfeeding. We all tend to think that there is nothing more natural for a woman to breastfeed her newborn baby but actually, it does not always come so naturally. In fact, it never even crossed my mind that I would go through as much trouble to get started. The frustration was so that I almost gave up, more than once. Giving birth is so physically exhausting that in the first few days as a mother, you are not only learning how to take care of your newborn baby but also and simply trying to recover from labour. Which is not so easy when your hormones are all over the place and you are experiencing oh so many sleepless nights. In my case, it was all the more difficult because I was struggling to breastfeed. My milk did not 'come in' until six days after the birth, which made nursing extremely challenging in the first few days. Baby L. had lost so much weight I had no other choice but to give him formula milk as a supplement, meaning it was the end of my breastfeeding... Or at least it would have been, if it weren't for the amazing patience and support of the midwives, who helped me successfully overcome this unexpected obstacle. Here are a few things without which I couldn't have managed:
- nursing pillow: priority #1 on your list of purchases! I don't know what I would have done without it. Boppy feeding pillows are very popular but I adore my Big Flopsy by Red Castle. It is 170cm long, making ideal to use during pregnancy (I wish I had bought it much sooner!), for breastfeeding, to lay your baby on it, and in later months to help your baby sit up. If you prefer the smaller pillows, Red Castle also have available the Flopsy pillow, measuring 140cm.
- breastpump: which you can use a to help increase your milk supply. In France, you can rent breastpumps from your local pharmacy and the social security will reimburse up to EUR 12 a week if you have a medical prescription for the hire of the pump. I have been using Medela's Symphony model which is great.
- herbal tea: Weleda's tisane d'allaitement works wonders and is completely organic. It takes time to get used to the taste as the tea is made of fenugreek, anise, cumin and fennel (plants which favour lactation) but all you need to drink are two or three cups a day for it to be effective.
- ovaltine: (Ovomaltine in French) is made with malt extract, cocoa and whey. I drink one glass a day in the morning, also to help increase my milk supply.
- Brewer's yeast: one capsule in the morning and in the evening (again, to increase my milk supply!).
- Kaz Cooke: the sequel to my pregnancy bible, The Rough Guide to Babies and Toddlers. A fun and reassuring read about caring for a newborn and learning how to breastfeed.
-World Wide Web: there are so many great sources of information on the Internet with tips to read and videos to watch on how to breastfeed. Some which were useful to me were http://www.breastfeeding.com/, http://www.thinkbaby.co.uk/, http://www.blogger.com/www.laligaleche.com and http://www.blogger.com/www.breastfeedingmums.com.
- last but not least, "him": for the endless encouragement and support.
Today my son is three weeks old and everything has started to fall into place. Breastfeeding is exhausting but once you learn how to master it, it is the most wonderful and satisfying experience in the world.