In our monthly online meetings of the East Devon Positive Birth Stories group, the discussion often turns to the realities of new parenthood. As is often the case, this month’s speakers were in the throes of the ‘fourth trimester’, the first three months of their baby’s lives. Early parenthood is a rollercoaster of emotions and new experiences, a very steep learning curve!
One of the new experiences many of our expectant parents want to hear about is breastfeeding*. Our new mums and peer supporters had some useful tips on how to increase your chances of achieving your breastfeeding goals.
If you are able, it can be helpful to watch a baby being fed at the breast. It can be really useful to see a new-born’s hunger cues, watch them ‘latching on’ to the nipple and seeing the position of their jaw and the movements of their cheeks as they drink. You may be able to see what a deep latch looks like as opposed to a shallow latch that may lead to challenges. There are some amazing videos showing normal breastfeeding as well as suggestions of positions you could try at https://globalhealthmedia.org/videos/breastfeeding/
There are also some excellent free antenatal courses available through the Devon Maternity Voices Partnership here: https://www.devoncommunities.org.uk/devon-maternity... as well as a preparing to breastfeed course from La Leche League GB here: https://www.laleche.org.uk/antenatal-courses/
One of our new mums talked about harvesting colostrum in the run up to her baby’s birth. Colostrum is the antibody-rich first milk that is produced towards the end of pregnancy. It is small in volume but huge in benefit! She was able to collect syringes of colostrum to store in the freezer as an ‘insurance policy’ should she have experienced difficulties with breastfeeding. There’s some useful information on harvesting colostrum as well as a demonstration of how to hand express here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwTtEeed2Tk
*I have used the terms ‘mum’, ‘mother’, ‘breast’ and ‘breastfeeding’ here, however East Devon Positive Birth Stories is an inclusive space welcoming of all pregnant people and new parents. We’re happy to change the language that we use if that makes you feel more comfortable, just ask!
East Devon Positive Birth Stories is a discussion group. We are not health care professionals and do not offer advice or diagnoses. All the choices available to you in pregnancy, birth and parenthood should be researched so that you can evaluate the benefits and risks for your individual circumstances.