Many mums often say to midwives in a passing comment at the end of an appointment “oh, by the way I think I may have something wrong with my nipples!”
Having spoken to many women in my role as a lactation consultant I know that unfortunately lots of women are embarrassed if they think their nipples or breasts do not look “model perfect.”
Firstly we need to visualise the inside of a lactating breast. I think the best way is to imagine the inside is like a bunch of grapes:
Every mum is different and will experience the weaning phase in her own personal way. There are some things which all mums may recognise:
Babies feed really, really, frequently in the first few days after birth. This is very normal and nothing to be concerned about. At first your baby has a very tiny tummy and only drinks a small volume of colostrum from your breasts.
This is a really common question for many parents. Often it is the question asked by the partner in the first or second week after birth.
This is because usually at the end of the first week a new mum is extremely tired, probably the most tired they have ever been – especially when they don’t listen to well-meaning advice to sleep when the baby sleeps!
Sometimes babies are not yet ready to feed in the first hour after birth. This may be for several reasons:
Hi mum! I know you are in the middle of a wonderful dream, enjoying a sunny vacation on an exotic island and yes, that seems to be me in your dream, perfectly silent, wearing some totally spotless designer outfit. I am swinging quietly in a white baby hammock floating gently over a beautiful lush tropical garden. It is so quiet mummy – where is everyone?
For the first six months of life, a baby does not need any food or drink other than breastmilk – it is the perfect food! However, around six months of age, babies tend to become curious about solid food.
One of the biggest preoccupations for new mums and dads is trying to figure out how to get a baby to sleep. It is true that infants sleep a lot – but not always when you want them to! Some babies sleep through the night from an early age, while others are restless, irritable sleepers who require constant soothing and breastfeeding throughout the night.
When you think about it, breastfeeding is an amazing process! For starters, breastfeeding is the only way to give your baby the unique rich blend of nutrients and immune-boosting elements that provide life enhancing benefits. Even the process of breastfeeding is fascinating.