Your breastfeeding journey should be as long or as short-lived as you want it to be. However, many women feel like they are forced to stop breastfeeding due to external factors which are well within their control. Unfortunately, Ireland has yet to catch up with the rest of Europe with the uptake of breastfeeding but we have certainly taken a step in the right direction.
Many women will feel initial discomfort while breastfeeding. Although discomfort is somewhat expected during the earliest phase, this should subside over time. There are a number of products which are available to help discomfort such as the Medela Purelan 100 cream which offers relief for sore and cracked nipples.
However, for instant relief, the Medela Hydrogel pads are an invaluable asset to any new mum. When nipples are sore and cracked, it is sometimes advisable to use Medela Nipple Shields to avoid any further trauma to the nipple. This offers a barrier between the mouth and nipple whilst allowing milk to flow freely between mum and baby.
When women experience pain during breastfeeding this is generally an indicator of an underlying issue. Issues such as tongue-tie may need to be identified by lactation consultants but could result in an early end to an amazing journey. Some women may experience inverted or flat nipples which does not allow the baby to latch correctly and can cause pain, the Medela Nipple Formers helps to draw out the nipple using gentle pressure. The nipple formers can be worn discreetly under clothes meaning that nipples will be ready for any impromptu feeds.
A number of women may feel that they simply do not have enough milk to satisfy their baby’s appetite, but in reality this is extremely rare. A great way to promote milk production is to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as this increases the amount of prolactin and oxytocin. Another great way to improve your milk supply is to add some pumping sessions in between feeding sessions as this will encourage the breast to produce more milk once the milk has been drained. The Medela Symphony hospital grade pump is the only pump on the market designed with 2-phase expression technology for the initiation and maintenance of milk supply. The Medela Symphony is recommended for expression needs during the first weeks of life.
Unfortunately, maternity leave does not last forever and eventually mum and baby must depart but this does not mark the end of the road for the breastfeeding journey. In Ireland, a breastfeeding mum may be afforded one hour per day to express breast milk for their baby where there are no facilities available to do so in their place of employment. This is governed by law under the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 for a period of 26 weeks post birth. This milk must be kept in a refrigerator or in a Medela Cooler Bag6 to ensure proper storage. There are a number of Medela convenience pumps which are available to mums who work outside of the home.
Public perception on breastfeeding is changing. Ireland has seen an increase of 10 percent in breastfeeding rates in the past decade. Albeit a step in the right direction, women have often been the subject of disapproving looks or comments. Breast milk offers a baby the best start to life and should be something that is embraced rather than disgraced. Legislators have ensured that every mother can breastfeed their babies anywhere in public ensuring that the babies needs are prioritised. The emphasis on this point is not to be underestimated with Scotland having made it an offence to ask someone to stop breastfeeding which is punishable by a hefty fine.
In the wise words of Thandie Newton;
“This is what my body is made for and the rest is my choice.”
There are wonderful offers available to mums from Medicare right now:
Medela range (including all breastpumps) 15% off. Excludes pump replacement parts. (BFW2019)
UMamma Stress Buster – 90mins massage (Pregnancy / Postnatal Full Body & Oasis Facial) for €89
Antenatal Class with Assistant Director of Midwifery National Maternity Hospital on November 9– 15% off (large segment on breastfeeding)