Breastfeeding is a natural process that may be difficult for some singleton (one) newborn mothers, let alone two children at the same time. According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), a majority (83%) of mothers breastfeed shortly after giving birth, but only 57% exclusively breastfeed up to 6 months, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Breastfeeding boosts your child’s immunity, prevents childhood obesity, and lowers the risk of infections and allergies at the same time helps you bond with your child. Want to hear breastfeeding tips on how to maintain a good breastfeeding latch for your baby or how to increase your milk production and don't have time to read this blog, just listen to Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 38.
How to Maintain a Good Breastfeeding Latch for Your Baby
How your baby attaches to your breast while breastfeeding is called breastfeeding latch. Getting a good latch makes both you and your baby comfortable during breastfeeding. Your baby will also be able to get the most milk with adequate nutrients for growth and a steady weight gain. A proper breastfeeding latch is when your entire nipple and some surrounding areola is in the mouth of your baby. Your baby’s tongue should be down and the lips turned out against your breast. When done correctly, you shouldn’t feel pain while breastfeeding but you should hear your baby swallow and there should be no clicking or smacking sound.
When you are breastfeeding two or more siblings of different ages in the same period of time it is called tandem breastfeeding. Normally, you are required to breastfeed your baby exclusively for 6 months after which you can introduce complimentary meals for your baby in addition to breast milk up to 2 years of age. But the following situation may likely make you to tandem breastfeed your babies:
- You get pregnant soon after the delivery of your older child, and your older baby is under two years of age.
- You strongly feel it is not the best time for your older child to stop breastfeeding
- You consider child-led weaning the best option for your baby.
- You don’t feel to cut the emotional and psychological benefits you provide for your baby.
Whatever the reason, tandem breastfeeding has numerous benefits. It helps you produce more milk for your babies, reduce breast engorgement and plugging of ducts, and creates a connection between your toddler and baby.
You are left to choose how to breastfeed your children. You can breastfeed them at the same time or one after another. But, generally, you should breastfeed your older child first. This is because your older child will ease engorgement in the breasts making it easier for your younger child to access breast milk.
You should not be worried about your babies sharing the breasts when one of them is sick, because breast milk has antibodies and other ingredients that protect the healthy baby from getting infected.
What to Eat During Breastfeeding
During breastfeeding, you should ensure you eat a healthy diet because your body demands more nutrients and energy. According to the foods and nutrition board, it is estimated that breastfeeding increases your daily energy requirements by 500 calories. Thus a properly planned diet is important for optimum nourishment of your baby. You must have a diet with whole grains, soups, vegetables and plenty of water. Below are some foods you should eat during breastfeeding to ensure a proper diet:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables: Berries, tomatoes, cabbage, kales, garlic, broccoli
- Whole grains such as oats, rice, cereals
- Potatoes, pasta, and couscous
- Beef, chicken, fish, pork, Liver
- Plenty of water
- Seafood like seaweeds
On the other hand, there are foods that should be avoided during breastfeeding because they are not safe for your baby. These include coffee, alcohol, and tea. These may end up in the baby through breast milk. Your baby’s body has not developed fully the necessary organs that aid in the digestion of these substances.
Most Frequent Breastfeeding Questions
What to eat when breastfeeding?
Stay healthy and eat foods that are good for you. Make sure you are taking a multivitamin, eating meals that have lots of fruits, vegetables, and high in fiber. Non-starchy vegetables, like carrots, spinach, kale and mushrooms are great sources of fiber.
How to breastfeed newborn?
Get comfortable while nursing, do whatever makes you feel comfortable before you start. We discussed the 5 best ways to position your baby to latch appropriately. Your baby will help you find the right position and don't forget the size of your breast determines which angles are better for you. Don't forget to relax, some like it quiet, others like to listen to music or watch TV.
How to use a breast pump?
Apply the breast pump cone around your clean areola, and place it on the lowest setting. Your breast tissue will surround the cone and your nipple will pull up and down by the machine or hand pump breast pump. Make sure your baby is near, so they can give you the oxytocin and other hormones to make you produce more milk. Never apply local anesthetic gel or cream to sore nipples as it can not adequately let you know if the skin is being removed on too high of a setting.
How to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle?
Certain bottles are better than others to mimic the breast. We will discuss this later in the blog, but I will say that the bottle gives the babies milk faster and will prefer the bottle over the breast if introduced frequently.
How to make more breast milk?
Anticipate Your Baby's Desires, let them decide when to breastfeed. Let your your baby determine how often and how long they want to nurse. If you pump after you breastfeed it will train your breasts to produce more breast milk.
How do I Increase the Milk Supply for my Baby During Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses and the amount that your baby consumes lets your body know how much milk is required. You are always advised to exclusively breastfeed your baby, frequently and efficiently so that it gets a signal to produce milk that is sufficient.
During breastfeeding, offer the baby one breast first before going to the other. As a mother, ensure that you get a balanced diet with plenty of water. Get enough sleep as the baby sleeps. If you still not expressing enough milk, consider the use of drugs and supplements that will boost milk production (Galactogogues) like fenugreek. Always seek medical advice before you start using any galactagogues.
- Drink more water. Breast milk is made from water, so a dehydrated mama won't be able to produce enough milk. Drink 128oz a day! That's 16 x 8oz cups, I promise you can do it by adding fruit, tea, etc
- Lactogenic Diet (Foods to eat when your trying to increase your milk supply)
Oats, carrots, spinach, nuts, salmon, flax seeds, and garlic are all lactogenic foods, meaning they will produce more milk hormones so your body will make more breast milk. Recipe for lactation cookies included at the bottom or if you get a headache or migraine, make sure you click below to grab a NoMo Migraine Band.
- Natural supplements
Fenugreek and blessed thistle taken together can help boost milk supply rapidly. Take THREE Fenugreek 580mg-610mg capsules THREE times a day. Do not take more than 12 capsules a day. Fenugreek and blessed thistle taken together can help boost milk supply rapidly. Take THREE Fenugreek 580mg-610mg capsules THREE times a day. Do not take more than 12 capsules a day. For Blessed Thistle take THREE 300-450mg capsules THREE times a day. Do not exceed 5000mg = 5g per day. Warning you will smell like pancake syrup which is a side effect of take Fenugreek. For Blessed Thistle take THREE 300-450mg capsules THREE times a day. Do not exceed 5000mg = 5g per day. Best results occur when you are consistent and take them both in combination.
- Sleep produces breast milk
Easier said than done doctor, and I completely understand, but milk is produced while you sleep. You need at least 8 hours of sleep a night, or try napping.
- Power Pumping
Also called cluster pumping is when you pump in a series of 10- minute sessions. 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off to increase your breast milk production. Used in NICU mothers.
- Increase your nursing
Nursing or pumping more often tells your body to produce more prolactin, a hormone responsible for communicating the increase in breast milk production. The smell of your baby produces oxytocin, a happy hormone that will in turn communicate with your body that they will be wanting to feed soon, so your boobs will make more milk. The let down response is stimulated by the babies cry, so the more you are around them the better.
- Warm up the girls
Heating your breasts with a cloth or warm water helps to vasodilate your milk glands so the milk will be able to come out faster.
- Listen to some old wives tales
Hops, found in dark beers, has been shown to increase milk production. I don't like telling my patients this one because I do not condone drinking alcohol while breastfeeding, but they do make non-alcoholic beers, teas, and sparking waters containing hops so go for it.
How to Make Lactation Cookies
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons brewers yeast
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks, I like ghirardelli
- feel free to add: unsweetened flaked coconut chopped almonds, 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond butter
Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.
Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds (I use an ice cream scoop so the cookie balls turn out around the same size) and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
Best Bottles for Breastfeeding Babies
With a variety of bottles in the market, it is definitely difficult to choose the best one for your baby. Here are some of the best bottles you can acquire for your little one.
- Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Complete Feeding Set
- Philips Avent Newborn Baby Starter Pack
Breastfeeding while Getting Pregnant and Getting Pregnant while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding while pregnant is safe. Although some hormones that are used to induce labor are released during breastfeeding (Oxytocin), the amount released is not sufficient to induce preterm labor.
You should ensure that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months. After 6 months and up to 2 years, you should introduce complementary feeding in addition to breast milk.