Feeding problems: Breastfeeding in Ireland 288 Friday, January 06, 2017Kate O'Reilly Lack of support in the community is often cited as the main reason for Ireland’s low breastfeeding rates but that is slowly starting to change, lactation consultant Orla Dorgan believes. “In other cultures the mums, aunts and friends all breastfed and it is part of the norm but we don’t have that here, it’s a very new culture to us,” says Orla, a practice nurse who qualified as a IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) last year and is based in North East Cork. Rates are increasing she says particularly in areas where mothers have better access to support groups run by the HSE or parent-to-parent support organisations like Friends of Breastfeeding. The two weeks paid paternity leave for fathers, which came into effect last year, is also making a difference, she feels, while the new interactive HSE website, breastfeeding.ie, which provides online support from lactation consultants is a good resource. “A lot of mothers think that breastfeeding is going to be too hard and yes, it can be tough going for the first six weeks but that’s true with any new baby. There’s usually no reason why you cannot breastfeed — if that’s what you want to do. “Though breastfeeding is natural, it is also a learned skill. There can be challenges along the way, I call them ‘speed bumps’ but most are easily fixed.” Like most Irish women, Orla had no experience of breastfeeding growing up. After qualifying and working as a nurse in London, she moved to Australia where early breastfeeding is the norm. Her interest grew as she observed nursing mothers while working as volunteer nurse in a rural community in Guatemala. “It all seemed so normal and natural and easy, the mothers and grandmothers were there to provide support and advice and I thought: This is how it is meant to happen.” Moving to Cork and working as a practice nurse with new parents and then breastfeeding her two little boys, gave her the incentive to set up her support service Lactation Talk. “It’s not really work to me, it’s about helping other people. It’s about empowering women to make choices about feeding their baby, to have the confidence to know that what they are doing is right and also to know when to reach out to the support services that are available when something is not right, or just when they need reassurance.” Orla offers a one-and-a-half hour home consultation which addresses common difficulties and concerns with breastfeeding, such painful nursing and attachment difficulties, or worries about the frequency of feeds and if your baby is getting enough milk. Tongue tie, a condition which affects about 10% of babies and causes feeding difficulties for some, can be diagnosed by a lactation consultant. She can give advice on increasing a low milk supply or if your newborn is slow to gain weight. Evin O’Keeffe’s first little boy was born early and she was unable to breastfeed. When she became pregnant with her second child, she was determined to try again. Aidan, now four months, also arrived early and needed to be given formula. It took 10 weeks but with Orla’s support, Evin was able to reach her goal of breastfeeding Aidan during the day, with bottles at night. “It was a very different experience this time, thanks to Orla listening to what I wanted and troubleshooting my breastfeeding and latching issues. Orla’s pragmatic approach, not just her medical expertise but also her calm compassion as a mother, is very reassuring.” Orla recommends that couples who are considering breastfeeding spend time preparing before their baby is born and suggests take a breastfeeding class to get things off to a good start. “You wouldn’t start driving a car without taking a few lessons,” she says. Her three-hour class covers the basics, such as different feeding positions and how to tell when your baby is hungry. In the early days when mum is exhausted, it’s often the dads who are better able to recall her advice she says, although the class includes a 36-page booklet to take home. “Breastfed babies don’t always need winding and that is the part of the class when I like to hand the doll to Daddy. There is a lot more to looking after a baby than feeding. Dads can change nappies and their strong arms are great to hold baby securely in the bath. It gives Mum a break and when Daddy does skin to skin, it’s just as good.” Orla Dorgan will give an Introduction To Breastfeeding in Mahon, Cork on Jan 14 and in Fermoy on Jan 21, cost €75; www.lactationtalk.com Feeding tips Continue to eat well and often, as during pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible. Oats, for example, a bowl of porridge and some fennel tea — up to three cups a day — will help to increase milk supply. Put a little bag together to have within easy reach during a feed. Include a bottle of water and some snacks and, if you wish, your phone. This is especially useful when you are on your own at home and there is no one to fetch anything for you. Soothe and protect sore nipples with Lansinoh lanolin cream, €14.99. It is safe for baby and does not have to be removed before a feed. Multi-Mam Compresses, €14.99, can be used after a feed to ease any discomfort. The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump, €19.99, is a one-piece hand pump for expressing milk as your baby gets older and for relief if engorged. Useful websites: www.breastfeeding.ie www.friendsofbreast feeding.ie www.cuidiu-ict.ie www.lalecheleagueireland.com www.alcireland.ie
What's in my Hospital Bag
I often get asked by Mums-to-be, that I meet in the GP Practice I work in and in my Antenatal Breastfeeding Classes, what should be bring in to the hospital. So, I will show you what is in my bag.
Finally, they are packed..you would think I would have them packed at 30 weeks, like we are all told but no... 37 weeks here, I finally got around to it!!!
I found a list I had, when packing for Oisín and Daniels births and I really haven't altered it too much, Just that this time I know for sure I will be in for 5 days. And maybe I'm more organised with not bringing in things I didn't even use!
I'll start with the baby...
I have always had ziplock bags!! So, handy for partner to pull out. In it for labour ward/theatre is a nappy, vest and babygro.
5 x babygro's and 5 x vests. I have all newborn babygro's and vests in the bag. I also have put these into ziplock bags and titled them, Outfit 1 etc.It just makes it easier, when I will have limited movement and not able to bend too much that hubby can pull them out. I like to have all of the baby clothes washed before they wear them, I wash them in Fairy non-bio.
Both boys were decent weights. Oisin was 8lbs and Daniel was 8lbs 14ons. I have 0-3 months washed and in a ziplock bag at home just in case newborn is too small!!!
Essentials - Nappies, cotton wool balls, muslins and a little pot from a top and tail set. I don't really like using wipes for the first few weeks. Water and cotton wool balls are ideal.
I will have a theatre gown on so, it will probably be much later in the day, when I get to freshen up. I will have had a spinal anaesthetic so, will be bed bound for pretty much most of the day.
So, I just want a nice comfy nightie on me. Anything with pop buttons are good for when breastfeeding. I had these for Oisin and Daniel as very hard to get popper buttons. I also wear these during the night as handy when baby co-sleeping. And I wear the pyjamas during the day with a light gown if I need it.
Pyjamas after C -Section
I have walked the streets of Cork and browsed every maternity and breastfeeding website looking for 'rolldown' pyjamas. I have a pair I got in Dunnes Stores for when I had Daniel so, they are old but so comfy. They are ideal after a section as they don' t rest on the wound. Anything with a waistband or elastic may be uncomfortable so, I find roll downs very comfy.
The excitement yesterday when I popped into Mothercare to see roll down pyjamas. I picked them up in a 'medium' size and they are E36.99. 95% cotton too. Nice colours too.
Yoga Pants for backup...
I purchased 2 x yoga pants for hospital as they are roll down...can you see my obsession! Now that I have found the mothercare Pyjamas, the old pyjamas might be left at home! I picked up one yoga pants in Mothercare and 1 x pair in Aldi.
Breastfeeding & Nursing Bra's...
In the picture below, this nursing bra is new from Aldi, I have found their range good before. I like nursing bra's from Debenhams. If you can wait until you have baby/when milk comes in to get measured properly as you will increase and you will want good support. Bra's I got before from Pennys and Mothercare weren't great.
In the pic below with my nightgowns, you will see a 'night nursing bra'. I bought these online and are brilliant for at night. (You can leak at night and will need nursing pads and also, you are quite full and will need support for extra comfort). You can get these online and I did see them in Mothercare. Make sure it is a pullover style as opposed to a sports bra where you cant pull it to the side.
Before Feeding...Lanolin is excellent for putting an extra layer on over the nipple. Mash it up in your fingers and layer it on the nipple. No need to wash off prior to feeding.
After Feeding...Multimam Compresses are aloe vera infused compresses and are so soothing. These are used usually when your colostrum is converting to milk and baby is starting to feed a bit more and your nipples may start to become sensitive.
Breast Pads are essential for when colostrum converts to milk.
Slip on slippers as I won't be able to bend down!
Flipflops for the shower.
Hair turban - so handy
Granny black knickers - yes needed or you can use disposable knickers (Boots) but I prefer these cotton one's from Tesco.
Travel Shampoo & Conditioner
nice shower gel - nothing too powerful smelling as I find my skin is quite sensitive aafter the c section...nt sure why.
Body moistuiser - I like Aveeno
whatever face products you use. I will put these in the morning I'm going in.
Hairdryer and brush
A nice facecloth, hair bobbin and grip. It can get hot in hospitals so, these bits are handy.
I was gifted this lovely Benefit box from a friend and it has all the essentials you may need. Remember you are going to have a 'baby glow' when baby is born due to high levels of oxytocin so, minimal make-up is required really unless you do wear it. I just like some lip balm and something to sort the eyebrows out!
So, thats whats in my hospital bag...oh would you believe I have a book packed!!! You think I'm going to get time!!! You never know. i never have too many visitors so, i may get time.
Other things i bring too are healthy protein snacks for that 10pm time, when you need just need something.
I will also pack fruit that morning too as it is the one thing you don't get in hospital.
I'm going to bring peppermint tea too as sometimes after a section, you can have wind pain which I found so painful after I had Oisin. I don't remember it as bad last time but peppermint tea works a treat.
Hope you have found this post helpful.
Best of luck to all the Mama's to be & Enjoy the 'Love Bubble'
Following on from my last blog when I was 20 weeks, I am now 32 weeks. I was breastfeeding Daniel at night and I had noticed my milk supply had dropped significantly when I wrote the last blog.
Daniel was just feeding at night at this stage and it really was only for a few minutes. I love putting the boys to bed and enjoy those snuggles. Id feed Daniel, read some books and he’d snuggle in and we’d sing our songs. He’d happily go into his cot then with his teddy and was now sleeping the night until about 5.30am-6am. Yes, an early riser! And to remind you all, he didn’t sleep the night until about 18 months. This is normal. My first boy Oisín was sleeping the night at 3 months. He was breastfed and we did nothing differently. So, each baby is differently. Don’t ever get hung up on it, especially when people ask you ‘And how is your baby sleeping?’…my answer is ‘like a baby’!!! As that phrase confuses me!! It should be ‘Like their Dad’ if you have a good sleeper but ‘like a baby’ can mean anything!!!
I had also increased my calories in my diet both healthy and unhealthy!! The girls in the GP practice, where I work as a Practice Nurse too, can vouch for my daily scones and any chocolate around, I was the taster. I also increased good fats e.g. daily avocados, homemade granola, so, I was getting lots of extra omega’s and calories. I was after all, supporting a growing baby and feeding a toddler. Daniel had also increased his food intake. He is a good grubber.
The feeds were pretty short now at this stage and I can’t remember exactly the last night of the last breastfeed, it just happened. I don’t get hung up on it. It’s nature. It’s our body. The last few nights or maybe even a week, he was doing a lot of eye contact with me as much to say ‘mummy, I think there is no milk there’. Why does milk production usually decrease during pregnancy? Progesterone levels gradually rise during pregnancy. One theory for the cause of decreased milk supply during pregnancy (Flower 2003) is that the progesterone makes the alveoli permeable, or “leaky,” so they can’t store milk well.
He would tap my chest when he wanted a feed. I may have missed a night feeding him if I was away or not at home. The next night I remember putting him to bed and he didn’t look for it and I didn’t push it. It was totally Daniels decision and I respect that. He did snuggle in, in the same position as I would feed him after we read your books and we sang our songs and had cuddles and he was happy with this but never looked for it.
I would have being about 24 weeks when our breastfeeding journey came to an end. I would have liked to have tandem fed but that wasn’t part of our breastfeeding journey with Daniel. I am happy with this. I’m not upset by it as it, was Daniels decision and I would never force him to feed especially when my milk supply had stopped. It is a relationship between 2 people and there has to be respect. I never set out when I started Breastfeeding saying, ‘I’ll stop now at 12 months, 2 years etc.’ For me, it’s a natural progression. He was still getting all the comfort and attention he needed in other ways. We still did the same routine at bedtime. Cuddles, books and more cuddles and made it lots of fun with lots of smiles and chats. He is a very happy and healthy little 21 month old so, he was not deprived.
Approximately 6 weeks now since our last breastfeed and I have noticed my breasts have enlarged and I am producing a small amount of colostrum from one of my breasts. This is normal and natural. Our bodies are amazing and should be regarded as temples during this special time… wouldn’t you agree!!!
I hope to blog a bit when my new nursling arrives or maybe snap chat might be easier, if all goes to plan with the birth and early weeks. So, keep in touch and any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Practice Nurse & Lactation Consultant
Facebook: Lactation Talk with Orla Dorgan
Mob: 087 403 3352
I recorded this after Night 2 for Keela and myself while in CUMH. I recorded it for Facebook Live.
It explains what to expect and my experience.
It can be a hard night and most healthy babies will experience this. It's good to have lined up support for this night whether you are at home or in hospital.
Hope you find it helpful. xx