HOW MIGHT THE OPINIONS OF THOSE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, AFFECT YOUR BREASTFEEDING EXPERIENCE?
Your partner, family and/or friends may have strong opinions about what they think is best for you and/or your baby. Often it is helpful to talk about options of how to feed your baby and you should find great comfort in getting support from people around you for your choices around feeding your baby.
Sometimes opinions of the people around you, may include suggestions or advice on whether you should breastfeed or formula feed your baby, how often you should feed your baby, and how quickly you should react to your baby when your baby cries. Sometimes others’ opinions may differ to your own, or contradict what you have been told by somebody else and you may end up confused. Although you may not be aware of it, this may cause you to feel less confident when deciding how to feed and respond to your baby when they are hungry/full.
It is important to realise that some of these opinions, although often come from a place of kindness, are not always based on the latest evidence and research. Some opinions are based on information that is now out-of-date. Here are some myth busters for you and links to the most up to date evidence around infant feeding.
“Your baby should be sleeping through the night by now!”
Sleep patterns vary between babies and there is a lot of conflicting evidence that suggests when babies ‘should’ be sleeping through the night. If a baby is not sleeping through the night this does not mean that they need something other than milk or that there is anything wrong with the breast milk that they are getting.
“They are hungry.. they might need more than milk”
Your baby should not need to be weaned until 6 months of age. If your baby is hungry then offer them the breast again after they have finished feeding, and react appropriately to their cues. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby.
“I don’t have enough milk to breastfeed”
Some women feel that they cannot produce enough milk to feed their baby. Sometimes, if a baby is going through a growth spurt it might take a day or so for your body’s supply to ‘sync’ with your baby’s change in appetite. This does not mean that you are not producing enough milk. It may mean that your baby has to work a little harder to access the milk. You should not need to supplement your baby during this time. The more you offer your baby your breast, the more milk your body should produce.
A small percentage of women may experience some difficulties with milk production. There are a number of methods that are recommended to boost milk supply. If you do have any real concerns, then contact your midwife/Health Visitor or GP.
Breastfeeding should not hurt. It is common for some women to experience sore nipples during the early days of breastfeeding. This is thought to be caused by your baby’s latch and you should be able to relieve the discomfort with a good quality approved gel or simple warm compress.
If you are experiencing some discomfort in your nipples during or after breastfeeding then talk to your midwife/health visitor or infant feeding specialist.
“Your baby doesn’t need to be active”
It is important for your baby to be given the opportunity to be active. It is recommended that you put your baby on their tummy. You can position them next to a brightly coloured toy to encourage them to move so that they can see/reach the toy. Tummy time has proposed health benefits for your baby and can encourage their physical development.