I have piles of ideas for social media posts and blog entries. I decided to compile them into a series of “5 Random Facts”. Stay tuned for more random facts on Labour & Delivery, Prenatal Preparation, Postpartum life, and more! In the meantime, cozy up and enjoy the first entry on Infant Feeding!
1. Infant formula used to be made from cow’s milk, malt flour, and wheat.
Doctors would adapt the recipe based on additions they felt the baby needed. They would give that recipe (or “formula”) to the parents to prepare at home.
Do not attempt this today! Today’s infant formula is heavily researched, highly safe when prepared correctly, and provides all of the main nutritional requirements for healthy growth.
2. Your breasts are generally more “full” first thing in the morning because the Prolactin hormone peaks at night
It is a cruel act of mother nature that this hormone loves the nightlife. It certainly isn’t conducive to your well-deserved sleep. Treat yourself to sleep, but beware that longer nighttime sleep intervals can affect milk supply.
The more full your breasts are at any given time, the slower your body will be to continue production.
You can capitalize on this hormone peak by continuing a middle-of-the-night feed or pumping session.
3. Babies feed for hydration too!
Breastmilk or infant formula are the only sources for infant nutrition and hydration for the first 6 months of life, and remain the main source until 1 year of age.
Loving those summer heat waves? Don’t worry if your baby wants to cluster feed non-stop.
Of course, this could be for many reasons (growth spurt, illness, etc), but it could also come down to just being thirsty!
4. Foremilk and Hindmilk IS a thing, but it generally isn’t something you need to dwell on
Fuller breasts = Higher in water and lactose, lower in fat
Emptier breasts= Higher in fat, lower in water and lactose
Babies need ALL of this milk, not just the fatty stuff.
Lactose is required for brain and nervous system development
Water is required for hydration
Fat is required for overall growth
Sure, babies can experience a “lactose overload”: this is not the same thing as a lactose intolerance or allergy!
Again (and very generally), if you are feeding frequently and on-demand (10-12 times per 24h), and your baby is latching well and “emptying” your breasts each time, they will be getting the right combination of everything.
In summary: Don’t make yourself crazy by obsessing over foremilk and hindmilk!
5. The mind-body connection is HUGE when it comes to infant feeding (yes, even bottle feeding)
The inter-connection between infants and parents is insane! Yes, there are many studies (and I see it almost daily in my practice).
Feeding difficulty is one of the top contributors to Postpartum Anxiety and Mood Disorders (PMADS).
It can feel like an impossible cycle: feeding problems cause stress, which cause more feeding problems, which just continue to build and build.
I could write a million posts on this, but in short:
The right support systems can make all the difference in gaining confidence (increased confidence and self-efficacy have been shown to decrease symptoms of PMADS)
Look up ‘CranioSacral Therapy (CST)’ and ‘Coregulation’. This therapy seems crazy at first, but can do wonders for feeding woes!
Good old-fashiond skin-to-skin! Take a break and cuddle: take the pressure of for a while
Try skin to skin in a warm bath
If you are struggling, do not hesitate to reach out for support! You don’t have to be a martyr: sometimes just a little reassurance and validation is all it takes to stop the cycle of self-doubt!
Stay tuned for my next entry: 5 Random Facts an=bout Labour & Delivery!!