During each first year of breastfeeding (I have three babies), I had an oversupply of breastmilk, especially foremilk, and it often felt like I was feeding for hours on end. I remember one particular incident when I breastfed my eldest for almost three hours while watching two movies back to back. Two hours later, he was hungry again.
If you’re breastfeeding and you feel like a human milk bottle, then let me introduce you to Jacqui Nancey who is a Registered Midwife, Lactation Consultant and Baby care/Sleep Specialist!
Jacqui has created Nature’s Four Course Beginner Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks, which are simple breastfeeding latching tips to help your nursing baby feel full for longer. As well as teaching mothers how to breastfeed successfully, Jacqui also offers advice on the following:
- General breastfeeding advice
- Breastfeeding tips for new mothers
- Breastfeeding tips after C-section
- Breastfeeding tips for more milk
- Breast pumping tips
- Tips to stop breastfeeding
Over to you, Jacqui!
Nature’s Four Course Tips in Breastfeeding
“How do I satisfy my breastfeeding baby? Why does my 6+ week old keep waking every 45-60 mins after feeding for ages on both breasts, yet he wants to feed again each time I think he is asleep and I try to settle him down in his crib? I am exhausted from feeding him constantly and totally sleep-deprived, yet my baby’s appetite keeps growing every passing day and week.”Walking robotic mum
This mum’s reality of accruing mental stress, daily sleep deprivation, and psycho-social fatigue, is a major risk factor for:
- recurring negative mood swings which could lead to postpartum depression, or even escalate to maternal psychosis should the mother be susceptible to mental health risk factors if not properly supported
- slow postnatal recovery, or even morbidity after childbirth
- the potential for marital conflict and challenging family dynamics
- poor mother and baby parenting skills and emotional attachment…
Does stress affect breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding for new moms can be stressful, but increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol can also reduce overall breast milk supply, and delay the let-down reflex of milk release.
Mental, physical, and emotional stress can also have a negative impact on breastmilk supply and quality, as well as hinder the normal function of your breastfeeding hormones, prolactin, and oxytocin, which are produced by your brain’s hypothalamus. Stress can affect the delicate balance between your milk production, milk release, breast milk supply, and the quality richness of your milk.
Benefits of a stress-free experience when breastfeeding a baby
Breastfeeding is meant to relax the mind, soothe the body, and be a comfortable experience overall for mother and baby.
However, if you are feeling moody, tired, or mentally fatigued, then the actual quality and volume of your breast milk will eventually be compromised, from a creamy baby milk texture to a very light and unsatisfying breast milk quality. You may also find it difficult for your baby to latch-on easily at the start of some feeds throughout the day or night time feeding sessions.
Therefore, the more relaxed nursing mothers are, the better their mood and psycho-social well-being will contribute to the creamy QUALITY density and volume of breastmilk, which increases the chances of breastfeeding success.
Being happy has a positive impact on breastmilk supply and quality
Happy hormones in your bloodstream are released into your breastmilk, which can directly contribute to your baby’s sense of relaxation and satisfaction from the creamy density of your milk supply. Plus, the sleep-inducing effect of the natural morphine hormone is found in your HIND-breast milk, so you need to make sure baby is feeding for longer enough to get to that back milk.
Follow a good breastfeeding diet and encourage positive family dynamics
Your breast milk volume plus rich quality in terms of its nutritional value, creamy density and baby satisfaction can be improved and sustained by ensuring you are:
➢ Well rested and psycho-socially at peace with your inner self and home environment
➢ Practically well-supported by your immediate family
➢ You eat and drink nutritional meals, foods and snacks
The following brief will focus on three breastfeeding tips (for first-time mothers especially), to experience relaxed breastfeeding from day one:
1. Soothing Breast-Softening massage
The best mind and body-relaxing pre-feed preparation tools for mums
2. Pain-free baby latching
The latch is extremely important to encourage the baby to suckle and enhance breast milk let-down. Latch also ensures breastfeeding enjoyment, so the milk comes easily
3. Satisfying baby at every feed
Use the four-course breastfeeding tricks to satisfy your breastfeeding baby
1. Breast-softening massage
- Always start your day with the side your baby does not naturally seem to prefer. By nursing this way, you will naturally ensure that both breasts have a good supply on both sides of your breasts.
- Start the breast-preparation massage to relax, soften and ease the breast skin and ducts into pain-free breastmilk release and nursing
- Sit comfortably in a well-supported comfy chair. Have a clean hand towel on your lap, plus a bowl of edible sunflower or olive oil next to you if there are no familial allergies
- Half-strip only by taking the blouse and bra off on one side of your chest. Start with the breast that produces the lesser from the two. This is because one breast always seems to have bigger ducts than the other, which explains why most babies naturally prefer the faster-flow breast side than the one with the slower flow or narrower ducts
- Use a gentle oil salve and rub some oil in both your palms. Gently salve all over the breast tissue
- Place one of your wrists within the crest of your torso – to provide leverage with your open palm for the breast to be massaged. ALWAYS MASSAGE ONE BREAST AT A TIME, as massaging both will leave you soaking in breastmilk from the side your baby would not be suckling on.
- With the other palm, use the ball of the palm to gently massage the side of your breast from the arm-pit to the areola five times
- After these initial 5X armpit massages, use that same palm as leverage on that side of the breast. Then proceed the same gentle massage 5X with the other palm from crest to the areola
- Move one palm to support by cupping the underside of that same breast. Then use the other palm to gently massage – always using the ball of your palm – from the shoulder blade to the areola X5
- For the finale, simply use the shoulder blade massaging palm to support the entire top-side of the breast. Then use the other ball of the palm to likewise massage the entire underside of your breast by starting from the rib-cage muscle, breast underside right up to the same breast areola
Best times for your breast massage
You can massage your breast any time you feel full and engorged, i.e. from your 3 am – 11 am feeds, as this is usually the time when your breasts will be full, hard, engorged and probably painful to touch
Soft breast skin and a pliable areola means that it is a lot easier for your hungry baby to suckle from your areola
2. Pain-free baby latching
Pain-free breastfeeding starts with the correct attachment of the baby’s mouth around your areola, instead of the baby’s lips and jaws clamping onto your tender nipple tissue.
A good breast-feeding latch-on means that the soft and massaged breast tissue, makes it a lot easier for your baby to open their mouth much wider around the areola, instead of focussing on the nipple alone.
Babies are clever and will quickly notice when the breast is hard to suckle. They will get frustrated because they will find it difficult to fit a hard and engorged balloon into their mouth, hence why they seem to naturally clamp onto your nipple alone, each time you try to nurse them – with full and hard breast tissue.
Parenting Tip: Baby Gas or Colic Relief
Should your baby suffer from the two tummy discomforts, you could offer them some Woodwards gripe water tonic.
- Mix 5mls in 3oz of warm boiled water and offer your baby 1oz 30 mins before the 6/7 am feed, 10/11 am and the 5 pm feeds.
3. Satisfying baby at every feed
The Four-Course Breastfeeding Approach is the easiest way to make sure the baby gets to the rich HIND milk during and after every breastfeeding session. The result is a baby who feeds lustily from start to finish and is satisfied after every feeding session. Thus, they have a full tummy and is happily settled plus sleeping well during the day or night breastfeeding sessions. Otherwise, when the baby keeps waking up for small, frequent and short breastfeeding feeding sessions, this type of commonly adapted breastfeeding approach is known as the:
SNACK breastfeeding method.
SNACK-breastfeeding means that although your baby feeds frequently, their overall appetite is not fully pacified, hence why they keep waking up every 45-60 mins throughout the day or night.
Yet for most healthy six-week-old babies, born at term gestation and with no compromising psycho-social risk factors, you would expect to start sleeping for at least 2-3 plus hour intervals in between their day or night feed, which can result in an ongoing cycle of stress and parental sleep-deprivation, the older their baby gets.
However, the Four-Course Breastfeeding Approach is nature’s way to satisfy your baby’s appetite from day one.
If you have ever expressed breast milk and left it to settle for later use in the fridge, you can see the three stages of your breast milk quality ‘titrate’ or separate themselves into three noticeable layers.
When breastmilk is made by the breast milk-making cells known as the acinar cells, the result is a release of breastmilk supply which comes as a combination of three types of breastmilk densities as follows:
Stage 1 – TOP milk
This is the thirst-quenching feed-starter
Stage 2. MIDDLE milk
This is the semi-skimmed milk appetiser
Stage 3. HIND-milk
This is the toffee-rich super creamy nectar
Significantly, even though ALL breastmilk is nutritious, it seems like it is naturally released in three stages, which naturally changes from Stage 1 to Stage 3, as the feed progresses to pacify your baby’s appetite.
Mothers who use the Four-Course Breastfeeding Approach, find that from start to finish, a typical breastfeeding session would naturally last at least 45 minutes of the active baby nursing, taking burping breaks after every 10 mins when needed.
Stage 1 – TOP milk -Thirst-quenching feed-starter
Have you noticed how most babies wake up in a feeding frenzy? This is because they aree feeling both thirsty and super-hungry at the same time.
So nature designed this initial Stage 1 milk to assuage their thirst first. Stage 1 breast is found at the very base of your milk ducts, located at the front of your breast anatomy/areola. This TOP breast milk is very light in colour, thin in density and often has a chalky-greyish hue.
Although it makes up as much as 60-70% of your entire breast milk supply and is very nutritious, its thin density is NOT very satisfying for babies. Which explains why switching sides at the moment your baby stops nursing, will leave most exclusively fed nursing babies feeling constantly peckish – hence the frequent baby-feeding bouts and very limited sleeping episodes.
Quick Tip – COLIC-Relief baby-burping Massage
Once your baby starts falling asleep on the breast after the first ten minutes of their thirst-quenching initial feed, it is your cue to wake them up gently by applying the COLIC-Relief baby-burping massage.
As soon as you have applied the baby-burping colic-relief massage, your baby will immediately wake up and route for a feed. The baby-burping massage naturally quickens the release of breastfeeding into the stomach, instead of the usual 45+ mins it normally takes for this milk to reach the baby’s stomach from the feeding tube.
The beauty of the colic-relief baby burping massage is that it will keep your baby avidly interested, happy, and awake throughout your entire breastfeeding session from start to finish – hence why it is naturally done in-between each of your baby’s breastfeeding sessions.
Stage 2 – MIDDLE milk – Semi-skimmed milk appetizer
Instead of switching sides, you are encouraged to latch your baby onto the same side for this second time.
You will also notice that your baby will not be as frenzied in their suckling as in the initial Stage 1 milk intake. This is because your baby is at least 3/4s full from the Stage 1 milk.
Also, Stage 2 milk is creamier in density than the skimmed density of Stage 1 milk. As seen by its light yellowish colour and it is also more satisfying for the baby’s appetite than Stage 1 milk.
Stage 2 milk is therefore called the semi-skimmed breast milk appetizer, since it’s quality of milk richness falls between the very light Stage 1 milk quality of skimmed milk density and the very rich Stage 3 toffee milk.
It is not only the QUANTITY and VOLUME of breast milk that satisfies baby, but it is the QUALITY and RICHNESS of any given feed that pacifies both your baby’s hunger and feeding urges.
Hence why adapting the Four-Course Breastfeeding Approach, results in your baby starting to calm down after another 8-10 mins of taking the Stage 2 milk.
Usually, your baby’s Stage 2 milk intake will last between 8-10 mins of a medium-slow baby feeding pace, unlike the frenzied rapid feeding, pace witnessed at stage 1.
Towards the end of Stage 2 milk, your baby’s feeding pace will eventually slow down significantly until they get to what we call the intermittent baby feeding pace when you will notice your baby begin to feed in bits of tiny suckles in a drowsy state before literally falling off the breast half asleep.
If your baby is unwell, dehydrated or on any kind of medical fluid balance assessments, then very often the volume aspect of your baby’s feeds will be the priority to follow as per your paediatric advice.
Stage 3 – HIND-milk – Toffee rich super creamy nectar
Have you ever noted how thick and creamy this milk density is!
Every single baby loves this Stage 3 milk quality and though every breastfeeding session has it in different measures throughout any 24hr time frame – you can get most of this Stage 3 milk between the 3 am – 12 pm breastfeeds.
It is generally full fat in density, has a sticky texture and is super-sweet, hence why its called ‘toffee sweet’. It also comes with a natural dose of ‘morphine’ properties that are naturally designed to make your baby have a deep sound sleep after every Four-Course breastfeeding session.
Given the rich density and satisfying quality of this Stage 3 breast milk, this session usually lasts only 5-8 mins in total, before your cherub looks pretty dazed and super sleepy.
This is also your cue to change your baby’s nappy immediately after the burping massage. A soothing and gentle warm water nappy change will immediately wake up your drowsy baby enough to keep them contented and alert, before your Fourth Course breastfeeding finale – which will occur from your second breast.
If you try to feed your baby straight after the aesthetic nappy change, your baby will be reluctant to feed so soon, or simply spit up when fed that soon. Hence the 15-20 min mini-break.
Therefore, settling your baby in a recliner, while you grab a snack, shower, or check on your emails gives you that much-needed break away from the feeling of constantly feeding over the last 30 minutes.
Settling your baby in a gentle recliner will ease your baby’s digestion for about 15-20 mins
Fourth Course – Change Breastfeeding side
Generally, most babies from age 0-3 months post-partum can only stay awake for 1-hour in-between feeds before falling into a deep 2-3 hour sleep, depending on your breastfeeding technique and family home psycho-social dynamics.
This way we start the 3-stage breastfeeding technique on one side A, to begin with, which normally lasts for 30 minutes. By the end of this 30 minutes on breast A, your baby would be at least 80% full and looking like they are ready to sleep soundly.
After 15-20 mins mother and baby take a break, and your baby will start to get visibly restless, sleepy, and unsettled. This is your baby’s cue to let you know they are now ready to resume the Fourth-course stage of their entire breastfeeding session.
You can now SWITCH sides by offering your baby the now massaged Breast B, because it would be naturally so full and engorged by now. Besides, after taking the rich density of the HIND-milk quality, your baby will naturally need the thirst-quenching milk to wash it.
This final stage will only take 5-10 minutes on the new side before your baby is ready for a good two+ hour’s sleep.
While we understand how draining the reality of exclusive breastfeeding can be for most postnatal mums’ mental and physical faculties, we hope that the practical breastfeeding for newborn support tips shared in this brief will offer you a much easier breastfeeding experience instead of the chronic weariness when trying to satisfy a ‘snack-fed’ baby.
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- Simple breastfeeding tips to keep baby feeling full for longer - Tue 4th Aug 2020