Breastfeeding Awareness Month
Baby photographer Hampshire sharing breastfeeding awareness….As a new mummy, it can be a daily learning curve of becoming a mum and getting to know your baby. Taking each day as it comes with your newborn bundle of joy is so important. When mummies come to my lovely newborn photography studio at Cams Hall, I find that most mums will try to breastfeed if they can. It’s not always right for some mums for a variety of reasons and I really feel that parents shouldn’t feel pressured into thinking that they should breastfeed. It’s about seeking the right help and support when you need it. I truly believe that at the end of the day, it is what is right for both mum and baby. From a newborn baby photographer perspective, I find that some breastfed babies can cluster feed and need a few more milk top ups during their newborn session. Whereas bottle-fed babies tend to get into a milk ‘coma’ quicker than breastfed babies.
August is National and World Breastfeeding Awareness Month which aims to ‘highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to both the health and welfare of babies, as well as a wider push for maternal health; focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security.’
Speaking to a Doula
In support of Breastfeeding Awareness week, I contacted a birth and post-natal doula specialist, Sally from Solent Parenting https://sally.solentparenting.co.uk/ so I could share with you her knowledge and experience in helping you with breastfeeding your baby.
I asked Sally whether most mums will make the decision to breastfeed before their little one arrives, and whether Solent Parenting provides help to them coming to a decision or advice before baby arrives.
“In my experience, most women and other birthing parents have already thought about how they might want to feed their baby.” However, what I tend to hear a lot is, “I’d like to breastfeed if I can” or, “I’d like to give breastfeeding a go”, but without much other preparation or thought.
Sally shares, “There are a whole host of antenatal breast courses and workshops available online and in person. It is common for your local maternity department to offer something, as well as other free options from charities such as The Breastfeeding Network and paid for courses from the NCT, The Positive Birth Company, doulas and more.”
“As a birth and postnatal doula, I offer both antenatal breastfeeding preparation sessions and postnatal planning sessions, which also include infant feeding discussions. I see my role to be one of signposting to non-biased, evidence-based information and practical resources to support parents in making the right decisions for them and their baby. Helping to normalise infant behaviour and prepare those I work with for the realities of what to expect and when, where and how to seek additional support once baby has arrived. “
As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, what I have found as a newborn photographer in Hampshire, some mums feel pressure on them to breastfeed and may become upset if it doesn’t work for them and their baby. I asked Sally to provide some tips to reassure new mums.
“In order to make the right choice for you, you do need access to accurate, non-biased evidence and know how to recognise that when you see it.
Ensuring you are informed about the realities and potential challenges of infant feeding, reading and especially knowing how and where to find good breastfeeding support postnatally is key. Breastfeeding may be natural, but for many it can be difficult at first – a skill that needs to be learnt and worked at – but with time and patience, can be such a wonderful joy.”
The Importance of Support
Lack of good feeding support postnatally is the main factor in parents having to end their breastfeeding journeys before they would have liked to. This can have a massive impact on wellbeing, mental health and even your relationships with baby, partner and the other people around you. One thing I would say is, it’s never your fault and your body has NOT failed.
A postnatal doula and/or a lactation consultant can be a great way to help have a more positive impact on your feeding journey. These people can, and will support you through the rough and the smooth; helping you perfect positioning and attachment, listening to you offload on a bad day, help you with rest and recovery, and normalise infant feeding behaviour to help you adjust your expectations and manage those early days and weeks of feeding. The following websites can help you find practitioners near you:
From Sally’s experience, there are some typical difficulties that mums may experience during breastfeeding.
“Positioning and attachment are key to successful, comfortable breastfeeding. If you aren’t positioned comfortably and/or baby’s latch isn’t right, this can lead to a whole host of problems from sore and/or damaged nipples, to poor milk transfer, slow weight gain and supply issues. Getting support early is important.”
I’ve found that there is so much information available on breastfeeding, so in my next blog I’ll be sharing more details that I’ve found on the subject, and I think you’ll find interesting.