Harry and I had a tricky start on the breastfeeding front - as he was in NICU we weren't able to have an immediate attempt at feeding after he was born (first 6 hours are recommended) that would have been important in order to stimulate my milk supply. On the morning after he was born Mark found me on the post natal ward sobbing as I had no idea what to do in order to feed my baby as he was somewhere else in the building and I couldn't get there as I was still full of epidural and spinal block from the emergency c section. . And no one to help me do it either. Fortunately Mark wheeled me to NICU where the staff were only too happy to help and I was provided with a breast pump, steriliser and bottles to start expressing. Great I thought, (only no one told me I wouldn't have anything to express at that point - there was me expecting it just to happen...) and so started our journey to establish breastfeeding.
I'm really lucky now - well part of me's lucky and the other part has worked bloody hard to get a milk supply that's established enough for Harry to start putting on weight. I'm lucky because of the support I've had - a good friend who knows what she's doing, rocked up at the hospital with fruit, nipple shields and photocopied explanations of what we were going to do. I was instructed to eat plenty, drink lots and keep on expressing. And my friend sat with me, distracted me, and kept me going - because it wasn't easy. I expressed, I tried to feed, I fed, I slept, I ate, I drank all the water and I started the whole shebang again. And nearly fifteen weeks on it's getting much easier but my milk supply has needed some help so I just thought I'd note down some foodie things we've found helpful in increasing my milk:
- Fenugreek - God I hate this stuff, I won't use it when I'm cooking currys because I can just smell it everywhere for ever. However, in capsule form (I got mine from Holland and Barrett) it's a great supplement to help with breast milk - 2 capsules, 3 times a day. And if you swallow them quickly you can't taste them.
- Fenugreek water - half a cup a day of the recipe in tomorrow's post (I dilute it in strongly flavoured juice as it's really strong tasting)
- Oats - porridge, Hobnobs, flapjacks, Orange barley water.
- Lots of fluids - I have a sports bottle that is permanently full or being drunk from so about to be refilled. I have no idea how much water I'm drinking a day, but lots is a good estimation
- EAT - largely healthy, but factor in treats also - but mainly just eat. You need to, otherwise milk production will suffer, and I just wouldn't have the energy to feed at all. It's tiring. Amazing, but tiring.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. And keep asking. I ask everyone if my latch is OK. I get Harry weighed at every opportunity. And I keep going to breastfeeding group. Tenacity and stubborness are good skills.