You might have seen me on Channel 7’s House of Wellness last Sunday (episode 11) talking about breastfeeding and answering a question from a pregnant mum – “What will happen if I can’t breastfeed? I am worried about how I will feel about myself.”
At She Births® we believe, like science does, that ‘breast is best’ but of course if for any reason you are not able to breastfeed, or simply choose not to, then absolutely ‘fed is best’!
Breastfeeding brings many benefits (both nutritional and emotional) and it’s a topic we cover in our course to help mums and their babies have the best possible start.
It’s so important to start to consider your perceptions of yourself and perfectionism before your baby arrives. Feeding will always have a few bumps in the road – for everyone. Whether that’s an occasional bout of mastitis, over supply, under supply, attachment, tongue tie, lip tie, the work / pump juggle, weaning, conflicting advice, etc. The journey is fraught with learning and is unique to us all. Just like birth – you will find your way that works for you and perfection is never 100% everything we want it to be in our minds.
This week, we chat to Melbourne-based Midwife and Breastfeeding Consultant Amberley Harris to get her breastfeeding tips for new mums.
FREE SHE BIRTHS® COURSE FOR MELBOURNE COUPLES
We have an opportunity for two couples in Melbourne to attend a 2-day She Births® Course FOR FREE with Emily Morter who is in the final stages of her She Births® Educator Training.
If you (or someone you know) are 24-36 weeks pregnant and available for 2 full days midweek, between now and end of January, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily is available throughout the holiday period and is based in Reservoir in the northern suburbs.
Emily is an osteopath, doula, remedial massage therapist and a mother. As a fourth-generation birth worker (her mum, nanna and great grandma were all midwives!), Emily is excited to bring She Births® to more couples in Melbourne.
HCF FUNDED SHE BIRTHS® TRIAL
In case you missed our exciting news…
We have partnered with HCF to offer She Births® Weekend Courses in Sydney for eligible members – at no charge.
As part of this ground-breaking HCF Funded She Births® Trial, HCF will be collecting data on the couples who register to determine whether She Births® can improve outcomes for mothers and babies and increase maternal satisfaction levels.
EXPERT INTERVIEW: BREASTFEEDING CONSULTANT
What inspired you to launch your business in breastfeeding support, and how do you support women?
I’ve worked as a Midwife in both public and private hospitals for the last 10 years where I’ve always absolutely loved helping mothers learn how to breastfeed. In recent years I came to realise that the support most Australian women receive with breastfeeding in the early days falls extremely short. This is where my breastfeeding consultancy business idea came to life. I work with women during the first six weeks of their journey, in both hospital and then in their home, teaching them how to breastfeed. My ethos is to provide the right balance of evidence-based knowledge, instrumental recommendations and uplifting encouragement to allow mothers to learn the artistry of breastfeeding.
At She Births® we talk about the importance of skin to skin as soon as possible after the birth, to allow the baby to find the breast themselves. What are some other ways to establish breastfeeding in the early days?
Great advice! Skin to skin is sooo powerful. Others ways to establish breastfeeding is aiming to have a spontaneous physiological birth (so your baby is more likely to use its instinctive breast seeking behaviours after birth), allowing your baby ample time to self-attach at the first breastfeed, and breastfeeding your baby on demand (whenever your baby wants to feed) to help establish an abundant milk supply.
Breastfeeding can feel quite overwhelming, exhausting, and even emotional at first, what can mums do to prepare for breastfeeding?
Educate themselves! I highly recommend mothers attend an antenatal breastfeeding appointment or do a breastfeeding class before their baby arrives. I can always pick the mothers who have done some breastfeeding education in pregnancy. They are motivated and especially quick learners when it comes to correctly attaching their baby at the breast.
Why is correct positioning and attachment at the breast so important?
If a baby doesn’t attach correctly to the breast they will cause nipple damage. This can make it difficult for a mother to persist with feeding until it has the chance to heal. There are some brilliant products to accelerate wound healing such as Aloe Vera impregnated breast pads + Calendular nipple cream if needed.
If a baby is “nipple” feeding (when we actually want them “breast” feeding) they will not be effectively drinking from the breast and will remain hungry after the feed is finished. This increases a mother chances of things like Mastitis + blocked ducts, etc. Therefore it is extremely important a baby learns the right way to attach to the breast in those early days and weeks.
What foods should / shouldn’t mums be eating while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers should focus on a well-balanced diet of fresh seasonal produce. Adequate water consumption is vital – between 2-3 Litres of water daily is recommended. Foods to avoid are caffeine (can decrease milk supply), acidic foods such as tomatoes and oranges/orange juice plus cauliflower and broccoli (can make babies windy). Some babies are fine with these items, but in the early days they should be avoided then slowly introduced to ensure baby doesn’t have a sensitivity.
For mothers with a low supply it’s worth trying lactation cookies. My favourites are by Franjo’s Kitchen. They taste amazing and work wonders!
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
There are sooo many! There are nutritional, immune, intellectual, emotional, social and many maternal benefits. Plus, the connection for the mother and baby which is second to none.
What is your number one breastfeeding tip?
It takes six weeks to establish breastfeeding, so promise yourself and your baby, you are going to give it everything you’ve got for the first six weeks. If you make it to that golden six-week mark, chances are, you have mastered this wondrous skill and will go on to have a long and incredibly fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with your darling baby.
If you’d like to know more about nutrition for breastfeeding, read our interview with nutritionist Tabitha McIntosh.
Love and gratitude,