What They Don't Tell You About Breastfeeding

What They Don't Tell You About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is an amazing journey. One that can be hard and with plenty of tears, but one that is so rewarding and provides for special bonding time with your baby.

It is important to remember that what works for one mum and her bub, may not work for you. Every mum and every baby is different, so their breastfeeding journey will be different too. By the time you are ready to bring your newborn baby home you will have read, seen and heard most of the common things about breastfeeding. But what don’t you commonly hear about breastfeeding?


Cluster Feeds

Breastfed bubs can feed anywhere between 4 and 13 times in a 24 hour period, with each feed lasting anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour! This is normal. Some babies will even “cluster feed”, where your newborn baby will try fit what feels like all 13 feeds into a few hours! Again, this is normal for some babies!


Is my baby getting enough milk?

This is a very common concern for many parents! If only we had X-ray vision so we could see how much milk we have and how much little baby is getting.

If it seems your baby is feeding all the time and you are worried about your supply, simply think about these few things:

  • Is my baby having at least 5 wet disposable nappies or 6 cloth nappies per day?
  • Is my baby having 3 or more runny poos per day?
  • Has my baby gained weight?
  • Does my baby have good skin colour?
  • Does my baby appear content when awake?

Your baby will also provide physical cues that they are full. When they have had their fill of milk their little arms are like noodles they are so relaxed! However, if they are still hungry they may make a fist or tense their arms whilst feeding.

If you are still concerned, chat to your Maternal Child Health Nurse. They are an amazing support and source of information for any new (or experienced) mum!


Breastfeeding is a learned skill!

Whilst breastfeeding is touted as one of the most natural things in the world, it is a learned skill. You have to fumble with this tiny little infant who cannot support their own head, who at feed time seems to have grown extra arms, not to mention trying to bare your breast! To some people it may come naturally, but to others we have to practice and fumble until we get the hang of it.

It won’t take long before you’re a whiz at nursing, thanks to all those newborn feeds. Before you know it, you will be able to hold baby without feeling like your about to drop them and soon enough they’ll latch and feed contently whilst you binge Netflix or read a book!


Breastfeeding hurts! But it shouldn’t last for an extended period.

Breastfeeding does initially hurt. Your nipples may even become cracked and bleed. This is not that unusual in the first week, however, if you are still having a lot of pain and discomfort several weeks down the track then this is not normal. It could be baby is not latching properly, or maybe they have a tongue-tie. These are things you need to talk with your Maternal Child Health Nurse about. Do not be afraid to call them and chat to them about it.

So yes, whilst some pain can be common, it should not last for an extended period of time.


Breastfeeding is thirsty work!

Breastfeeding makes you thirsty and hungry. It takes energy and calories to produce milk and look after a tiny little human! One handy tip is to keep a few bottles of water and snack stashes around the house in places you typically breastfeed. In your bedside table. Near your breastfeeding chair. On the coffee table next to the couch. Anywhere that is in easy reach for when you are stuck under a feeding baby.


Breastfeeding makes you sleepy.

You may find each time you feed your baby you struggle to keep your eyes open….that is not just the sleep deprivation! When you breastfeed you release oxytocin, which has a calming and relaxing effect.


Your breast milk does not look like cow’s milk!

Your breasts are so clever and change the composition of your milk day to day to meet the needs of your baby. The colour will vary from the almost pale blue and watery colour of foremilk to the creamier colours of hindmilk.


There is more than one way to breastfeed a baby!

You know you see all those perfect photos and Hollywood movies of mothers cradling their baby across their body and feeding comfortably. This is not the only way! You can try the “football” hold (tuck them under your arm and against your side), you can lean right back with a cushion behind you, and you can even lie down on your side! Talk to your lactation consultant or Maternal Child Health Nurse about other ways you can juggle feeding time. This way you can find a position and hold that is comfortable for you and bub!


Breast isn’t always best

It is true that breast milk is like liquid gold. It is a nutritional gold mine and provides immune support for your baby. However, sometimes breast is not the best.

If you are struggling with low supply or latching issues that are unable to be resolved, if baby has an intolerance to breast milk, or perhaps it is not the right thing for your emotional, physical or mental well being, there is nothing wrong with giving baby a bottle of formula or expressed milk.


A happy mum, and a well-fed baby are best!

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a fantastic source of information, for before and after you have had your baby. They run different nursing classes and also provide phone support.

Your Maternal Child Health Nurse, midwife and lactation consultants are also invaluable sources of support and information.

Reading next

Nursing Clothes 101

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.