Breastfeeding isn’t always as easy or comes as naturally as everyone thinks. Having a constantly hungry crying baby can make any woman feel anxious. It can sometimes be an emotional and physically painful time and good support is needed. Unfortunately there can be too many conflicting suggestions and pressures to keep up with other Mums. Breastfeeding is a skill that a baby needs to learn, and it can take time and practice to get the hang of!
Babies have a natural reflex to suckle and thrive, but it may not always be easy for the mother. To feed comfortably a baby must be able to effortlessly turn its head to both sides and gently tilt back, so it’s worth getting comfortable before a feed and ensure both you and baby are in a relaxed position. Cranial Osteopath Nargis Ahmad B.Sc (Hons) OSt, based at Vidatherapy has some helpful advice for Mums, based on ten years of expertise assisting newborn babies to feed.
‘I have seen many women in tears about feeding and giving their baby a good start in life. It is most important to have a happy Mum and contented baby whichever way they choose to feed. Having spent a lot of time with new Mums and those with second or third babies, no two babies are the same and their feeding patterns can vary as much as they’re little personalities!
Some baby’s may take a long time to feed or be a ‘lazy’ feeder. They often need to have stimulation of their tongue and correction of any imbalance in the jaw, which then enables them to suck efficiently. Often babies with ‘over strong’ necks are actually unable to relax and will favor one breast over the other, making Mum’s nipples very sore.
When you have a fast milk let down, it can make a baby cough and splutter taking in quite a bit of air. Baby fussing and pulling off the breast can sometimes be an indication of trapped wind, take the baby from the breast and wind often. Expressing milk so Dads can take over a feed can give you a couple of extra hours rest and also reassure you over how much milk you are producing.
Sometimes baby’s ‘act angry’ and hit out at the breast, a very distressing experience for Mums. One reason can be that they want to suck to relieve cramping in their abdomen and don’t want to drink milk at that time.
I have assisted Mums with some very sore and painful nipples, that once the baby has learnt to take a big enough mouthful of breast, feeding then becomes so much more comfortable and the pleasure of breastfeeding can begin! Changing the angle of the approach to the breast can also help to resist the urge to ‘drop’ only the nipple into baby’s mouth.
Once your baby has a comfortable latch for you, allow your arms to relax and your shoulders to rest back into a comfortable chair or sofa. Good posture during breastfeeding is important because whilst you are breastfeeding the hormones being released in your body will allow ligaments to remain very soft, so joints and muscles will feel as though they are working harder, especially in your neck and shoulders!
When your milk is not enough to satisfy your baby – don’t beat yourself up and don’t worry about adding formula feeds, babies are designed to thrive and can be very demanding. It is vitally important that you are taking care of yourself, and getting enough nourishment and rest so that you can enjoy your baby’s early days.
As a mother, always trust in your own intuition; use plenty of skin on skin contact to calm both your baby’s nerves and their digestion. Take naps together and play together and enjoy being the wonderful mother that you are!’
Nargis Ahmad BSc (Hons) Ost, GOSC, Cranial Osteopath at Vidatherapy Spa. For free advice and consultation call 020 8614 1199, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vidatherapy.com