Entries in Breastfeeding (12)
Before you wean ask yourself if you are really ready to wean your baby. Are you feeling breastfeeding fatigue? Are you ready for some space? Have you stopped enjoying breastfeeding?
Or do you feel pressured to wean your baby by external factors such as culture, your mother-in-law or going back to work?
Baby led weaning
You don't have to wean your baby until and unless you want to, and some mothers choose to let their baby lead the way. All baby's stop breastfeeding eventually. World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for two years or more, so if breastfeeding is still enjoyable for you there is no reason to stop.
If you are going back to work or feeling burnt out consider partial weaning, or combination feeding. Once established, many mothers can maintain their milk supply on just two or three breastfeeds a day, which you can give your baby overnight if you are apart during the day. Partial breastfeeding has nearly of the advantages of regular breastfeeding including allergy prevention, increased immunity and increased nutrition. Some mothers find partial breastfeeding gives them a little space, so they can continue breastfeeding for much longer. For more information visit Kellymom.
Mother led weaning
If you really are ready to quit breastfeeding then you have two main options, with all sorts of variations between. Decide what will work best for you and your baby. Make sure you take it slow so your milk supply can adjust, or you may end up with engorged breasts or blocked milk ducts.
- Never offer, never refuse is the most gentle way of weaning a baby and can take a very long time. As the name suggests it involves giving your baby a feed whenever they ask, but not offering if they don't ask.
- Dropping one feed at a time is a more active way of approaching weaning and will be a little quicker. Choose the time of day when your baby is least interested in breastfeeding and drop that feed first. Once your breasts and your baby have adjusted, which could take a week or two, then you can drop another feed. Try and distract your baby at the time when the feed is being dropped by getting out of the house, having friends to play with or substitute the feed with a favourite snack or drink. You will be much more successful if you can keep one step ahead of your baby and have a distraction ready before they have a chance to think about breastmilk!
Comfort and reducing your milk supply
If your breasts are engorged and tender you can put some cabbage leaves inside your bra. Cabbage leaves are soothing and cooling, and they also reduce your milk supply so only use cabbage leaves when you are weaning.
Sage tea is a delicious way to decrease your milk supply. Brew 1 tablespoon of dried sage in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drink 1 cup between 2 and 6 times per day depending on how engorged you are and how quickly you are trying to wean.
Do not bind your breasts.
Only express a little milk to relieve fullness if you absolutely have to. Sometimes a hot shower is enough to bring comfort without removing too much milk. The more milk you remove the more milk your body will make.
Grief and depression after weaning
Some mothers feel very sad or have mood swings after weaning, even if they weaned by choice. Click here for more information.
It took me awhile to get my head around this product... what actually is it??? Yes they are real shells, from the beach, hand selected for size and polished in Paris. Yes Paris, no less.
I was still not quite convinced so Sheridan offered to send me a set of Petite Bisou breast shells to try out for myself. When my baby was learning to latch and my nipples were screaming in agony I was so glad I accepted her generous offer. Oh that cool shell against my tender nipples was just bliss! I am totally sold!
The breast shells work by keeping a few drops of breastmilk against your nipple, for moist, antiseptic healing, and they prevent your nipples from rubbing on your bra.
Only in Paris would they consider how the shell makes a womans nipple look. The website suggests they make your nipples look beauitful and are very discreet, but I'm not sure I would have worn them out under a tshirt. Though maybe those French women know something I don't...
Having said that they were easily the most beautiful and enjoyable of my immediate postpartum accessories. The shells made a lovely change from pads of all kinds, belly binding and baby spew soaked pyjamas.
My first question was do they catch leaking milk? No, you can wear breastpads over the breastshells to catch lsome drips, but to be honest you need extra large breastpads so that they generously fit around the whole diameter of each shell. Cloth pads in particular are too small to be effective, except for this extra-thirsty brand that Seridan suggested.
And my only other suggestion is a lovely box to store them in. Once I was breastfeeding in the hospital waiting room and really didn't want to put my breast shell down anywhere. A lovely little box to keep in my nappy bag would have been great. And then once you don't need them anymore you can store them away till your next baby arrives. I suggested a box to Sheridan and she said they are working on this idea.
At first I was quite skeptical. There are so many useless gadgets and gizmo's marketing to vulnerable new mums. But if you have sore cracked, dry nipples, this is a beautiful, natural product that feels luxurious and really works.
If you have sore cracked nipples wear the breast shells most of the time, but do allow your nipples some time to breath, and ten minutes of sunshine twice a day is excellent for accelerating healing.
Check out Petite Bisou breast shells here, only $49.95 with free shipping within Australia. They arrive quickly within 1-5 days so if your nipples are giving you grief order them straight away.
Fenugreek has been proven to be as effective as the drugs the doctor might prescribe to boost milk supply. However all galactagogues are only effective for 7-10 days, after that your body adjusts and is not so responsive to them.
In Ayurveda we recommend taking fenugreek as a tea to balance out it's dryness, not capsules. And also we mix it with other herbs to balance it's heating qualities. So here is my lactation tea recipe:
Mix 2 parts whole fennel seeds with 1 part whole fenugreek seeds. Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 Litre of water and sip warm throughout the day. You can make it up in a thermos in the morning and keep it by your feeding chair.
You can buy organic spices from here if you don't already have them in your cupboard.
In the longer term you need to work on boosting your oxytocin levels to promote strong flow of milk. Oxytocin is boosted by doing anything that you love. For example when you breastfeed devote that time to gazing into your baby's eyes, stroking your baby's hair and singing your baby a song. Watch movies that make you laugh. Have a massage. Enjoy some sunshine or fresh air. Have a bath. Just take some time out for you.
This recipe is taken from my book "Nourishing Newborn Mothers - Recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth"
Is your baby irritable and crying? Writhing or arching his back? Uncomfortable? Not sleeping? Are you starting to obsess over diets and allergies and wondering if your baby has indigestion? In Ayurveda we consider digestion the root of all health, but digestion holds a more broad and subtle meaning.Obviously we need to digest all the food we eat, but we also need to digest everything that touches our skin, everything we see and hear and the emotions we experience. Basically anything that we experience with any of our five senses needs to be digested by our bodies, minds and hearts.
Your baby is very unlikely to have an allergy and food sensitivites are far less common than mothers are led to believe. If you are breastfeeding and your digestion is good, your babies digestion is likely to be good too. If you have bloating, lack of appetite or gas then maybe you need to cut down on really obviously unhealthy foods like chocolate, coffee and chips. If you want to know more about Ayurvedic diet suggestions for new mums click here and for more detail still see my teachers post on reflux here. If you baby truly has an allergy the crying will be accompanied by excessive vomiting, rash or persistent congestion, for more about allergies click here.
Another common myth is that babies get bored. Newborn babies are exceptionally sensitive to new experiences and are far more likely to be overstimulated by excessive play, cuddles with too many new people, lack of sleep or even something as simple as being too hot or too cold. All of our thoughts need to be processed, which happens naturally when we sleep, or better still when we meditate, breath or find the time and space to just be. Allow your baby plenty of down time, to just contemplate the world, to absorb all her new experiences and just stare into space.
Maybe your baby is crying because of undigested emotions. A difficult birth for a baby or being seperated from his mother may cause of stress in a newborn and your baby may be crying because of emotional trauma. Sometimes small things like a fright or picking up on a mothers emotions can stress a tiny baby too. If you have met all of your babies physical needs (ie clean, dry fed etc) and your baby still won't settle then it is ok to hold your baby and allow them a safe space to express their emotions. You don't always have to stop your baby from crying, you can hold them through their suffering and reassure them of your unconditional love. In the pauses between crying you can say to your baby "I love you when you feel happy and I love you when you feel sad" or whatever else your heart moves you to say. You may even find yourself having a cry with your baby too!
If you feel like you need some more support as a mother check out my book Nourishing Newborn Mother - Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth. It's more than just a recipe book! Buy it now or click here for more info.
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