Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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Nikki Adlam

Enter this Competition at your Peril!

I've become more and more curious and concerned about the never-ending free to enter Mothering Competition that mums seem to run up against sooner or later. You may have come across it yourself; "My baby doesn't really cry he just has a feed and sleeps." "I don't think my baby has ever been THAT small". "She practically goes through the night now". "I've got her to stretch her feeds out to 4 hourly now". It seems that most of the competition is about how little attention to give even very young babies; including feeding. Please don't compete! You and your baby are the perfect team. How about being the first in your group to say, "My baby loves to be held, but of course that's the hard-wiring and connection that we're growing". You may be surprised at how many other mums "come out" and join in the chorus.
Key things to remember - It takes about 40 days / 6 weeks for a baby to programme his/her mum's milk supply. This is as much milk as the mum will ever produce. Supply can drop from that maximum, but doesn't exceed it. So feeding frequently at this time is an investment for the future supply.
There's a big growth spurt (Americans call them frequency days) at 2-3 weeks. This is when babies will seem to feed like crazy as they need to lift the supply. There's another at about 6 weeks - the final push at supply enhancement. There's another 3-4 months. This last one is thought to ramp up the supply again, and by this age you'll notice how much your baby has grown in most cases.
I still hear that mums are worrying that their babies don't get enough hindmilk. The truth of the matter is that some feeds are higher fat feeds than others. We never know when those feeds are happening though. Positioning and attachment (might be boring to hear yet again) are essential for babies to get that deep latch. Offer both breasts, and trust that your baby is getting your great and perfect milk. If you have sore nipples and breasts then you probably need some help. Never worry about asking for help. 
Key points are that human milk is naturally low in fat and protein than in cache, follow, and nesting mammals. We are "carry mammals" meaning that our babies are born totally helpless and defenseless, and compared to calves and foals for example, slow to grow and develop. With this in mind as a species, we have arms to carry, breasts to feed often, and if needed, legs to carry our infants away from danger.
I'm really going now but one last thing - cultures across the world really care for their new mums. The first 40 days / 6 weeks are a time when mums just care for their babies, and connect with them through holding and feeding frequently. Others do everything else needed to run the household. We could learn a thing or two here. Getting "back to normal" will happen - just give yourself and your baby time. 
For private IBCLC consultations with me or Nikki please get in touch, and for the free of charge West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre drop-in session - just come along to see us Thursdays 10.00-12.00, NR2 4BX.
Believe how wonderful you mums are. With all good wishes to you. Jan x