Jess Avey: What I’d do differently
Things Jess wished she'd done differently when breastfeeding.
Hi! My name's Jess and I'm a parenting and lifestyle blogger and vlogger documenting my honest journey through motherhood. I'm step muma to Rhys aged 3, and muma to Jasper aged 2, and our newest bambino Jenson who was born in August 2016. I'm so pleased to have teamed up with Lansinoh to share with you my breastfeeding experiences and for today’s post I'm sharing what I would do differently on my next breastfeeding journey.
I breastfed both my boys Jasper and Jenson for about the same length of time. With Jasper I managed 3 months and with Jenson I think I learned from some of my initial mistakes and managed to go on a little bit longer to 4 months. As grateful as I am to have been able to breastfeed them both for this length of time I do wish that I could have continued for a bit longer and have been thinking about what I'd do differently next time to try and reach 5 months or beyond.
If you've been following my most recent breastfeeding journey then you'll know that it's certainly had its ups and downs. I learnt a lot from feeding my firstborn Jasper and that experience gave me a lot of do's and don't for this time around, naively leaving me feeling like I knew it all. However even now I would definitely say there are things I would do differently given the chance of a third baby in the future to breastfeed.
1- Left or right?
Firstly I'd make a conscious effort to remember which breast I'd fed off last. I was awful the first time around at remembering this and honestly this time around I was no better. I even had a bracelet that I was supposed to switch to which ever wrist I'd just fed off to help me remember for the next feed but I would always forget to move it. I'd try and guess by which one felt fuller but it didn't always work and I think this inconsistency contributed to me getting mastitis both times around. I'd be left with sore nipples and engorged breasts (thank goodness for Lansinoh Lanolin and the Therapearl 3-in-1) and it just wasn't pleasant. Next time I really would make a conscious effort to remember which boob had been fed from so that I could give that one a proper rest and allow bambino to get all of the goodness from the 'ready breast'. Having a bracelet is a great idea if you remember to move it or you could simply use a hairband or elastic band and I'd also try noting it down on my phone or using a dedicated breastfeeding app to remind me!
2 - Better diet
If I were to breastfeed again I would make sure to drink much more water because you lose so much more fluid while feeding and a lot of the time I felt really dehydrated. When breastfeeding you need to drink more than your normal recommended daily intake and I'll admit that most of the time I wasn't achieving anywhere near this. I'd also eat a much healthier well rounded diet not only to benefit my baby but to give myself the goodness and energy that I need. Again as a breastfeeding muma you need slightly more than the daily recommended intake of calories to keep up energy levels and I certainly didn't do this. I would also include more milk supply boosting foods into my diet such as fennel, oats and fenugreek; I did try this on the days that my supply seemed lower but if given another chance I'd just make these things part of my daily diet.
3 - RELAX
I feel like a lot of my time feeding was spent balancing Jenson on my boob with one arm and either running around after a toddler, cooking, or typing with the other. Even if I was sat calmly I'd still be scrolling away on my phone and I wish I'd just relaxed a bit more. I know that having a toddler and a baby means you do need to juggle but I know that I could have taken more time to just relax while feeding as it really can be quite tiring. Most of the time I'd try to multitask, seeing breastfeeding time as a chance to get something else done and I'd end up feeling hot and uncomfortable, Jenson would get fussy and keep unlatching and it always ended up being a bit stressful. Accepting that breastfeeding time is just that - time for the little one to feed would hopefully make me relax more and have a calmer feeding experience in the future.
4 - Have a schedule
Of course feeding on demand is essential in the early days and even weeks but I'd certainly try to get a schedule on the go a little bit earlier next time. With Jasper and Jenson I got into a bit of a habit of just putting them on the breast every time they fussed and it made it really difficult to know whether they were actually hungry or simply comfort sucking. It also meant that they were feeding really infrequently and not only would their feeding duration vary massively but also their times between feeds. A typical day could be a 10 minute feed, 3 hour break, hour long feed, 30 minute break - there was no structure!
I was also guilty of letting them come off the breast if they fell asleep even if I knew they weren't finished so next time I would make a conscious effort to wake them to finish - saving myself from clogged milk ducts!
5 - Express more
I did express quite a lot with both boys but not as regularly as I would next time. With the boys I would express the day that I was due to go out for dinner or perhaps the night before I had an event to go to but next time I would maybe try to express once a day to try and build up a bit of a stock pile in the freezer. It would make it much easier for last minute plans and would also keep my supply up! I actually really enjoyed expressing both times, I used the Lansinoh manual breast pump and always managed to get quite a good amount of milk each time so making that part of my next babies feeding schedule would be really great!
6 - Appreciate it!!
Both times around I've found that my breastfeeding journeys ended before I knew it and I instantly wished I could turn back time and do it all over again (minus the mastitis). Breastfeeding really is such a beautiful thing and when I think back over the times I was willing the boys to hurry up and finish so I could get on with jobs around the house I wish I'd just sat and appreciated that closeness.
Well those are the things that I would do differently when breastfeeding my next baby; would you do anything differently next time around?
Thanks for reading,