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Parenting Tips - Breastfeeding advice

Here are a few MEGATIPS to help spread the pleasure of feeding the little one AND to getting a good nights kip!

Once you both (you and baby) get the hang of it, it's a synch!

In short, your milk starts to flow once your "let down reflex" kicks in.  It's a signal sent to the brain to tell the breasts to start the milk flowing, otherwise you would be walking around like a pair of taps on legs. You may even find your milk will start to flow in reply to somebody else's baby in the middle of a supermarket! Wear good quality pads at all times to avoid embarrassment!

The let down reflex works on both breasts at the same time, so buy breast shells to wear over one as you feed baby on the other. These are hollow plastic covers, the size and shape of a donut and you place them over the nipple while you feed baby on the other side and the milk drips into the hollow. You will pick up precious drops that can emptied into icecube trays and frozen! A little bit here and a little bit there soon makes a bottle! After a while, you might be able to catch 4oz of milk per feed in the shell!

Now, once you have cracked the first 6 weeks, you will be in a position where the body should be producing as much milk as your baby needs, so this is the time to think about expressing. Buy a good kit, mine was from Avent and I found it very easy to use. It looks a bit like a flat pack cupboard when you first unpack it, but don't worry! It's not as bad as it looks.

Many ladies try expressing once or twice and if they get nowhere, they give up.....DONT GIVE UP....you just need learn how to trigger your body off with that let down reflex I talked about!

Set yourself up with the sterilised pump (mine was manual, but you can get electric too) AND a breast shell. Put the shell on one and sit comfortably on the sofa or bed. Put on a video of your new born, preferably one where they are making a bit or noise!! HEHE a good cry is perfect! Also, have some baby clothes to hand, maybe something they have just worn, so it has their smell on it. Smell the clothes and watch the video, maybe look at a few photos of baby too and before you know it, your body will think "Hey, it's time to feed". Keep pumping the handle, one pump every few seconds and the brain will eventually think it's baby. Being relaxed is the key here. Don't worry if it doesn't happen straight away. Try again another time. If you can manage it (and you can, it's just practise) express WHILE baby is actually feeding!

The bottom line is this, if you can get a good 9 oz off, your partner can take baby for that ghost shift feed and maybe you can get a clear 4-5 hours sleep!!! When you wake up, your breasts will be nicely full because YOU have had such a great sleep!! Feed baby and express at the same time and you will have another good bottle for that night and on the cycle goes! If you get excess milk, freeze it. After a while, you could bank up enough to have a well deserved evening out. A well trusted sitter would be giving baby as good a feed as if it came from you! You enjoy your restful evening, the body is relaxed, you have more energy, make more milk and the cycle goes on!

It all falls into place after 6 weeks - speak to your midwife for any support and help you need, they are delighted to help!

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Sent in by Tracey Smith from France for 'The Mommies Contest' 2003.

Related Links:

Baby's Development - Month by Month

Developing Bedtime Rituals for Babies

Make Your Own Building Blocks

Getting Your Baby to Sleep All Night

Remedies for Diaper Rash

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