The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

Breastfeeding and parenting blog

Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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Category: Breastfeeding

  1. Surviving the First Week: Navigating Breastfeeding Post Birth

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    The first week of breastfeeding your baby is a crucial time for both you and your little one as you establish a strong breastfeeding relationship. Understanding the different stages of breastfeeding post-birth can help you navigate this emotional, challenging and rewarding journey.

    1. The Early Days
    In the beginning, you and your baby are just getting to know each other. Your newborn may feed frequently, often every 1-3 hours, as they work on establishing your milk supply and their own feeding rhythm. It's normal for your baby to feed for varying lengths of time during each session.  Colostrum is the first milk produced by the breasts after giving birth. It is rich in nutrients, antibodies, and white blood cells, providing essential nourishment and immune protection to newborns. Colostrum is thick and yellowish in color and is low in fat but high in protein and carbohydrates. It acts as a natural laxative to help the baby pass meconium and clear out their digestive system. 

    2. Engorgement and Adjustments
    Around day 3-5 post-birth, (although it will vary) your milk supply may increase, leading to engorged breasts.  This is when your "milk comes in", it can be uncomfortable but is usually temporary. Ensuring proper latch and feeding frequently can help relieve engorgement.  At this time, colostrum transitions into mature breastmilk, which has a higher fat content and continues to provide important nutrients for the baby's growth and development. The composition of breastmilk changes throughout your breastfeeding journet to meet the evolving needs of your baby, making it a unique and powerful source of nutrition.

    3. Cluster Feeding
    Cluster feeding, where your baby feeds more frequently for a period of time, is common during the first week and again when your baby has a growth spurt. This can be exhausting but is your baby's way of increasing your milk supply and meeting their growing needs.

    4. Seeking Support
    Breastfeeding is bloody hard work and let's not forget that as a new mum you've also just given birth, are quite likely sleep deprived and adjusting to life as a new parent.  It is intense which is why it's important to ask for help .  You can reach out for support from a lactation consultant, breastfeeding support group, or your healthcare provider. They can offer guidance, reassurance, and practical tips to help you through any challenges you may face.
    Remember, every breastfeeding journey is unique, and it's okay to ask for help when needed. Stay patient, trust your instincts, and cherish these precious moments bonding with your baby during their first week of breastfeeding.

  2. Breastfeeding - Why is it so awesome?

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    Breastfeeding is bloody hard work(Did you know that on average, one year of breastfeeding equates to around of1,800 hours feeding time. Let's compare that to a 40-hour work week with holiday which comes in at 1,960 hours and we can see that breastfeeding alone is equivalent to a full time job and that's before we even begin to add in any other parenting responsibilities)But breastfeeding can have some amazing benefits for both mum and baby. 


    Breast milk is the perfect meal to meet your newborn baby's nutritional needsBreast milk is packed with essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that aid in the baby's growth and development. It is easily digestible, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues and allergies The NHS recommends giving nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months (26 weeks) of your baby's life.  After that, you continue breastfeeding but also introduce solid foodsThe amazing thing here is that your breast milk will adapt as your baby grows to meet your baby's changing needs.  Breastfeeding has also been linked to lower rates of childhood obesity, infections, and chronic diseases later in life.  

    The bond 

    Breastfeeding also fosters a strong emotional bond between the mother and child, promoting feelings of security and closeness .For mothers, breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and can facilitate emotional well-being.    


    However, many mothers face challenges when it comes to breastfeeding, which is why breastfeeding support is crucial. Support groups, lactation consultants, and education about breastfeeding techniques can help mothers overcome obstacles and ensure successful breastfeeding experiences for both mother and child. 

    Fast food 

    Breastmilk really is the perfect fast food.  As long as you are with your child they will always have a ready supply of food whenever your baby is ready to eat.  Breast milk is always fresh and exactly the right temperature. It is ready for your baby whenever they are ready to eat. You do not have to heat it, boil water or sterilize bottles and many mums find this makes feeding so much easier! 

    Environmental wins 

    Yep, you guessed it as breast milk is completely packaging free and doesn't require energy for sterilizing bottles it's a great option for the environment too. 

    Budget friendly 

    Not having to purchase bottles, milk or sterilizers means onless thing to buy for a new baby. (Sure there are other costs to breastfeeding, like the time commitment for mum to feel and I’m passionate that this isn’t overlooked as simply free work from mum!) But when it comes to your weekly shopping bills breastfeeding can be a cheaper option. 



  3. World Breastfeeding Week 2023

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    World Breastfeeding Week 2023
    The 1st-7th August is World Breastfeeding Week. Every year is a different theme, this year it's...
    “Enabling breastfeeding: making a difference for working parents.”
    Did you know?
    Workplace challenges remain the most common reason for women to never breastfeed or stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended.
    Parents need adequate time and support to breastfeed. Parents with less than 3 months of maternity leave reported shorter breastfeeding duration than those with 3 or more months of leave.
    A workplace needs adequate breastfeeding facilities to become a breastfeeding-friendly workplace. Only 42 countries mandate workplace breastfeeding facilities.
    Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding addresses inequalities that stand in the way of sustainable development (source: WABA, 2023).
    Read more about World Breastfeeding Week here
    Objectives of #WBW2023
    Inform: Inform people about working parents’ perspectives on breastfeeding and parenting
    Anchor: Optimal paid leave and workplace support as important tools to enable breastfeeding
    Engage:  Engage with individuals and organisations to enhance collaboration and support for breastfeeding at work.
    Galvanise: Galvanise action on improving working conditions and relevant support for breastfeeding
  4. Breastfeeding Glossary

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    Breastfeeding glossary  

    A quick round up of some essential breastfeeding terms, perfect for new breastfeeding mums: 



    The dark, round area that surrounds your nipple. 


    Blocked milk ducts 

    When the milk ducts become clogged or blocked and milk is unable to flow freely. This condition may lead to mastitis if left unresolved. 


    Breast pump 

    A specially designed machine that draws breast milk from the breast using suction. There are a few different types of breast pumps available: 

    • Manual or electric 

    • Single or double – so you can pump one or two breasts at a time 

    • Cord-free or plugin 

    • Commercial or hospital grade 


    Breast pads 

    Small absorbent pads that can be tucked inside a bra to help absorb any leaked breast milk to prevent this seeping through to your top. You can buy disposable or reusable breast pads, have a look at our reusable bamboo ones here. 



    A thick, creamy, yellow substance that is produced by the breast post birth and for the first 3 or so days after the baby is born. This is the baby’s first feed/s and is jam packed with valuable nutrients and immune boosting enzymes designed to give the baby the best start in life. 


    Cluster feeding 

    When your baby wants a lot of food in a short amount of time. Usually occurs prior to a growth spurt. 



    When the breast becomes sore, swollen and feel very firm. This is a result of the breasts being overfull. This can occur at any time during breastfeeding; most often within the 36 hours after delivery when milk supply is being established or when mums first wake up in the morning if their babies don’t feed at night 



    When you pump or hand express to produce breast milk. 


    Feeding on demand 

    Baby is fed when they are hungry. Feeding is not timed to a clock or specific schedule, but to your baby’s appetite. 



    If you’ve been using a breast pump you might have heard of this one. It fits over your nipple and areola to form a seal, helping to pull milk through your milk ducts and out your nipple. 



    This is the first milk released by the breast at the beginning of every feed. This milk is much more watery and will quench baby’s thirst. 


    Fourth Trimester 

    The 12-week period immediately after you have your baby. Not everyone has heard of it, but every mother and their newborn baby will go through it. It is a time of great physical and emotional change as your baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and you adjust to your new life as a mum. 


    Hind milk 

    This is the milk the breast produces during the middle of the feed. It is much thicker and richer and contains the beneficial nutrients and fats that baby needs to develop and grow. 



    The secretion of breastmilk. 


    Lactation consultant  

    A trained professional who specialises in breastfeeding support. 



    Extracted from the wool of sheep, this cream has soothing, moisturizing and healing properties and is often used to help ease painful nipples after breastfeeding. 



    This is the attachment of your baby's mouth to your breast in order to feed. A good latch is important for comfortable and efficient feeding. 


    La Leche League 

    Breastfeeding support group 


    Liquid gold 

    A nickname for breastmilk given because of the high concentration of nutrients contained in it. 


    Let down 

    This is the initial sensation felt when the milk is released from the breast. Sometimes you can feel it (occasionally it may be painful) and sometimes you can’t. 



    A painful infection in the breast caused by blocked milk ducts. A woman can become very unwell and suffer from flu-like symptoms and a rash and should seek medical assistance. 


    Milk blister 

    When a blocked duct appears close to the skin on your nipple and cells form over the top of it making a bubble or a blister. 


    Nip lash 

    When your baby gets distracted and turns his head to look around but he still has your nipple in his mouth and he clamps down so it doesn’t fall out but stretches your nipple and areola area. 


    Nipple shield 

    A protective plastic cup used to shield the nipple when the baby breastfeeds. Some women use it to aid in protecting the nipple against damage caused by breastfeeding in the early weeks. 


    Overactive Let-Down

    A forceful ejection of milk from the breasts during feeding that may cause issues while breastfeeding. 



    Hormone that is released from your brain when you breastfeed. Oxytocin is also known as the ‘love’ or ‘feel good’ hormone. Oxytocin is important for creating a bond with your baby, decreasing pain and stress in both parent and baby, and helping you recover from childbirth. 



    Infant reflux occurs when food backs up (refluxes) from a baby's stomach, causing the baby to spit up. Sometimes called gastroesophageal reflux (GER) 



    The natural instinct of a newborn to try to seek out the breast. You baby will snuffle around your chest looking for milk. 


    Tandem breastfeeding 

    When a mother breastfeeds two children at once. 



    Thrush is a yeast fungus that often flares up in babies. A possible sign is white patches in your baby’s mouth and fussiness that makes feeding difficult. You and your baby will likely both need to be treated with antifungal medication for thrush since you can pass it back and forth. 


    Tongue tie 

    A condition where the tissue connecting the baby’s tongue to the floor of the mouth is short and tight. This can restrict a baby’s breastfeeding ability as they may not be able to properly latch. It can be difficult to see if your baby has a tongue tie yourself so it’s worth talking to a lactation consultant to advise on this. 



    When a baby is weaned from its mothers breast milk and introduced to solid foods. 

  5. What is mastitis?

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    What is mastitis?


    Breastfeeding is a bit of a minefield, all of a sudden you find youself faced with things you've never even hear of before.  Mastitis might well be one of them.  It's an inflammation of the breast, usually caused by a build up of milk in the breast leading to an infection. It often happens while a woman is breastfeeding, especially during the first 6-12 weeks.


    - A swollen area on your breast that may feel hot and painful to touch – the area may become red but this can be harder to see if you have darker skin. It usually only affects one breastand symptoms can begin rapidly.

    - A wedge-shaped breast lump or a hard area on your breast

    - A burning pain in your breast that might be constant or only when you breastfeed

    nipple discharge, which may be white or contain streaks of blood

    -  You may also get flu-like symptoms, such as chills, nausea, aches, a high temperature, tiredness or even vomiting.


    What can you do?

    - Soak a cloth in warm water and place it on your breast to help relieve the pain – a warm shower or bath may also help.

    - Rest and drink lots of fluids.

    - Continue to breastfeed.

    - Start feeds with the sore breast first.

    - Express milk from your breast in between feeds.

    - Make sure your breast is completely drained after a feed. You may need to check your baby's latch as a poor latch may mean your baby struggles to do this.

    - Massage your breast to help clear any blockages – stroke from the lumpy or sore area towards your nipple to help the milk flow.

    - Apply heat prior to feedings to promote breast drainage.

    - Wear comfortable clothing and a wireless bra.

    - See a GP if you do not feel better within 24 hours despite continuing to breastfeed, they will usually be able to prescribe you antibiotics. 


    (Sources, LaLeche League, NHS, Medela)

  6. Why breastfeeding clothes?

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    Why breastfeeding clothes?
    Breastfeeding your baby wherever and whenever is a right and a freedom that no one can deprive you of. However, you must also have the freedom to choose how do it whether that may be popping a boob out in the middle of a busy supermarket or in a quiet corner.  Many mums feel more comfortable breastfeeding in clothes where they can feed discreetly, perhaps because they feel more secure or perhaps just because it's warmer having something over your chest! Breastfeeding can be a hard journey and sometimes making it a little easier on yourself can be the difference between continuing to breastfeed or not. Or perhaps even the difference between breastfeeding confidently in public or not. So many mums have found that wearing specific breastfeeding clothes can help make breastfeeding easier, more comfortable and quicker.  As we come into autumn and winter months we're wearing more and layering up.  Fussing with lots of layers to get breastfeeding access can be frustrating and tiresome, especially if you end up spending a whole feed holding your clothes out of the way for baby or even taking ages to find your boob to give baby access under multiple layers whilst jostling a hungry baby. Specific feeding clothes like ours have been purposefully designed to make the process of latching on and breastfeeding so much easier and for you and for your baby to give you one less thing to worry about.  Lots of our customers are say that wearing clothes with quick access to whip about a boob wherever and whenever has really boosted their confidence especially in the early days of a breastfeeding journey where mums are coping with a whole host of other post partum changes. No, you don't need a whole new wardrobe to breastfeed in (although it you want that, that's cool too!) However, integrating a few key pieces into it to support your breastfeeding journey can really help:
    A basic breastfeeding vest is a classic and can be paired with dungarees, or worn under a shirt or cardi for the ultimate fast food access for your baby. Our vests are the ultimate multi use product too as our mums love wearing them as pyjama tops to keep the chill off during night feeds and even when running or doing yoga for that fast feed access pre or post workout.
    A snuggly jumper makes winter feeds on the go comfortable, quick and easy for both you and baby. 
    Perhaps you loved a dress pre baby but your finding that unless you're confident lifting a whole boob over the neckline of your dress, and hey, not everyone has big enough boobs to do that, then a breastfeeding specific dress is for you!