Breastfeeding is hard work and in those first few days, weeks and months you want to do all that you can to meet your baby’s needs.
Some woman struggle to get enough supply whilst others are like a leaking cow- it just keeps on coming! For some they are left on a solo journey to try and navigate their way through the jungle of breastfeeding.
The BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION offered the below advice which we found beneficial. Remember there are also lactation consultants that are only just a phone call away.
How to make more breastmilk: Demand = Supply
To build your breastmilk supply, the following ideas may help.
- Provided that your baby is correctly attached, you will find that the quickest and most successful way to boost your supply is to breastfeed more often. Offer a breastfeed every 2–3 hours during the day, for a few days, or increase the number of feeds by offering the breast in between your baby's usual breastfeeds.
- Here is an easy way to do this. If your baby does not settle after a feed, try offering another quick little ‘top up’ breastfeed. Those few minutes of extra feeding and cuddling may be all that is needed to soothe and satisfy him.
- Let your baby finish the first breast before switching to the second breast.
- Or, you may find it helps to change sides several times during a feed, whenever your baby's sucking seems to become less strong. Some people find that this encourages the baby to suck more strongly and stimulates a good let-down reflex.
- You can also try massaging your breast. Stroke it towards the nipple on all sides as your baby feeds. Take care not to disturb the nipple in your baby's mouth.
- If your baby is awake you can offer little ‘snack’ feeds without waiting for baby to cry for them.
- You can try offering the breast to soothe your baby for a few days, instead of other comforting strategies (eg a dummy).
- You may find that your baby has fussy periods when he wants to breastfeed more frequently. There is more about this in the Fussy periods and wonder weeks article on this website.
- Although they vary greatly, many new babies need 8–12 or more feeds in 24 hours. Babies generally feed less often as they get older. Babies also generally feed more efficiently as they get older.
- To increase your supply, you will need to fit in more feeds than is usual for YOUR BABY. Feeds do not need to be very long, just more often. In each 24 hours some feeds may be only 5–10 minutes long, others may be 30 minutes or longer, particularly when baby feeds to sleep slowly and contentedly.
- Help your milk to let-down quickly. Relax and enjoy feed times. Try to remove distractions (turn your phone off, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door), then settle with baby into a comfortable chair. Breathe deeply, relaxing each part of your body separately as you may have learned to do at antenatal classes. Have a drink on hand, a book or a magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV. For more ideas, see the let-down reflex article on this website.
- Babies vary greatly in the amount of sucking they seem to need. There is no need to worry if your baby is contented with a fairly short feed. Some babies however love to continue sucking long after the flow of milk has dwindled to a trickle. This is fine too. Your baby will let you know how long his feeds need to be.
- A baby who is well attached and positioned is more able to drain the breast well. For more information, see the Attachment to the breast article on this website.
MORE FREQUENT FEEDING MEANS MORE MILK!
- Feed your baby more often than usual.
- Check that baby is well positioned at the breast.
- Allow the baby to decide the length of a feed.
Struggling with a low milk supply can be very upsetting and frustrating. Remember that any amount of breastmilk you provide your baby is valuable. If you have tried these ideas and are still finding low supply to be a problem, speaking with an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor on the Breastfeeding Helpline , a lactation consultant or your medical adviser may help.
She is the founder of ADOFitness and is an accomplished fitness industry professional, personal trainer, nutrition/prep coach, posing instructor, competitor, endorsed athlete, NPC judge, and cover model. Although her career began in the financial business world, this transitioned to full time personal training after her introduction and newly discovered love for bikini bodybuilding competitions in 2010. After extensive misguided nutrition and training advice, she was left with an unhealthy relationship with food and a damaged endocrine system. Her real passion then developed into helping herself and others reach their fitness goals in a healthy and sustainable way. Knowing she wanted to have children, she decided to stop competing and seek out an endocrinologist and hormone specialist. She began healing and restoring her body to a healthy state through proper nutrition and exercise. While she and her husband still had unexplained infertility challenges, they were blessed to conceive their son via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Her miracle baby was born in December of 2016, which she proudly says is her greatest accomplishment to date! Her goal now with ADOfitness is to help others optimize their health with sustainable and realistic nutrition and exercise programs that focus on internal AND external health.
We wanted to check in with Amber and see what her pregnancy and Breastfeeding journey was like to help other Mums....
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
Due to some complications up front, I was on medical bedrest for about the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy. After that time, once I was cleared to workout, I didn't perform HIIT or direct core work any longer. I also lifted a little lighter than usual. Other than that it didn't change a whole lot.
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
The only thing that held me back was fear of miscarriage due to complications with a subchorionic hemorrhage. Once that cleared up, nothing held me back other than understanding that direct core work and HIIT should be avoided part the second trimester.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Strength training, yoga, walking, and some jogging.
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Listen to your body! Understand when you need to slow down, maybe eat a little more, or not push as hard!
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, 30 months!
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
No, I think a lot of factors affect supply but keeping water intake high, eating enough of the right foods, and properly bonding with your baby to establish your supply is key.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
I would pump if need be and that way my son could be fed by our nanny or my husband if I was working out. I took it slow at first and made sure I didn't see a dip in my supply with my expenditure increasing. I noticed the biggest dip when my stress was high and when my water intake wasn't high enough. If I focused on those two things I didn't have any issues!
Wow what an incredible lady with so much knowledge in the fitness industry to share with Mums at all levels whether you want to get back into activity or you want to compete on stage.
If you want to check out more of Amber’s amazing journey head to https://www.amberdawnorton.com
Push-ups are the best way to work that upper body while you're pregnant. Push ups are a great way to build strength so you are better equipped to hold and lift your little one.
Muscle Groups Trained & Benefits:
The push-up strengthens the muscles of the upper body including:
- deltoids (shoulders)
- upper back
- triceps (back of arms)
- Upper body strength may be utilized during labor and delivery for support and stability in some squatting positions.
- Upper body strength will most certainly be utilized postpartum as you care for baby!
- Upper body strength helps to maintain alignment and core stability.
- In combination with core activation and diaphragmatic breathing, TVA (transverse abdominis) and core are strengthened.
Some ask is it safe to do push ups during pregnancy or early postpartum?
Anytime your abdominal wall is “loaded” i.e. putting extra pressure on the tissues by doing pushups or planks, you can worsen your diastasis recti. We still do pushups, but in a functional way so as not to load the abs. Below is a general guide as to each trimester and then postpartum we suggest working backwards once you have the all clear.
First Trimester Push-Ups
- Start in a modified push-up position with hands and knees on the ground.
- Be sure your hands are directly under the shoulders as you lower down towards the ground.
- Push back and return to starting position and repeat.
Second Trimester Push-Ups
- Start in push-up plank position.
- Reach the right hand sideways during the push-up.
- Alternate sides bringing one hand to the center between reps
Third Trimester Push-Ups
- Stand facing a wall and extend your arms onto the wall just wider than shoulder width apart.
- Bend your elbows until your nose almost touches the wall.
- Reverse the movement and push your body back to the starting position. Continue for 15 reps.
*exercise in pregnancy should be checked with a qualified physician
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
– James Baraz
"When we stay in the present, we make wiser choices and take things less personally."
- Saki Santorelli
“There could not be a better time to learn mindfulness than during pregnancy and early motherhood. For one thing, this is a time when most people have a strong motivation to become the best person they can be in a relatively short period of time. When you realize the full enormity of the responsibility you have taken on by becoming a mom, the primary source of care for another whole human being, not to mention one that you love more than you thought you could ever love, there is a really high level of motivation to try your best to get yourself into the best mental and emotional shape possible. I've talked to so many pregnant women who have for the first time in their lives encountered within themselves a deep and very sweet drive to learn new ways of being-quick! They don't want to pass on negative patterns to their child, and want to do everything possible to transmit a healthy foundation for the rest of their child's life.
Also, this is a great time to learn mindfulness because you are already open and somewhat vulnerable. The downside of this can be feeling off-balance or a little exposed, needing more help from others than usual and being at the mercy of your body's functions and your baby's needs. The upside is that this state of being provides a sort of malleability-some of your defenses are down, you may be feeling more sensitive than usual, and this is a great time to learn new skills! It makes you open-minded in a way that perhaps you are not when you've got everything under control. Since mindfulness has a lot to do with being in touch with the sensations in your body, and being aware, new moms are in a prime state to learn it! In fact, pregnancy and early motherhood, nursing and sleep disturbance, weight gain and weight loss-these all in some way force you to be in your body. For those of us who live most of our lives above our necks, this can actually be a great blessing.
Let me tell you a bit more about how mindfulness transformed my experience of motherhood!
Several years ago, as I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, I began to read about mindfulness.
Of course! I thought, I just need to be more mindful! Thank goodness I read this book!
And then I tried to be mindful.
Without any of the meditating….
I didn’t want to waste my precious time sitting on a cushion doing nothing! I mean, I had all this parenting I had to do!
But I realized that mindfulness didn’t work if I just read about it and liked the idea of it.
Once I started meditating...
... my life started to change.
I discovered a peace and stillness at the core of my busy life.
I smiled more. I laughed more.
I found a new way of being and doing and mothering.
I realized I could respond much more skillfully to my children ~ even when they were driving me crazy!
I learned to be kind and compassionate to myself.
I knew that mindfulness had transformed me as a mother.
I knew I should start teaching this to others.” By Cassandra Vieten
Over the coming weeks we will share ways to practise mindfulness no matter what stage of motherhood you are at. (Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Postpartum, menopausal- we all deserve a bit of time out...) These practises should be short and not impact upon your day and be an extra chore to do...
Nursing or Breastfeeding is hard enough without having to coordinate the juggle of stripping clothes off or trying to hold up the top to access the breast. How exactly do you dress to make breastfeeding easy while still feeling confident about how you look?
Many new mums find themselves struggling to find clothes that make them look and feel good, but also allow easy access to breastfeed or pump. Luckily, nursing clothes have come a long way. That is why we put our creative juices into action so that you can find pieces you love to wear that are fully functional.
When you are sweaty from a gym class or exercising in public the last thing you want to do is try to wrestle with a normal crop whilst trying to appease the screaming/hungry baby.
The breastfeeding or nursing crops are designed for a one hand easy drop down action to allow for you to easy access the breast. The inner modesty panel allows for some coverage of the breast if feeding in public so that there is little need to cover yourself and the baby. Once the baby is attached to the breast the appearance is the same as if you are wearing a normal crop.
Our nursing crops are also designed with a larger/sturdier underband to offer more support. The engineering of a supportive crop requires anchor points as well as the straps to harness/reign in the breasts or secure them. By having a band that is just large enough to offer a decent anchor point though not too big to make it impossible to get out of is our mission. As each collection is launched we try to offer a different aspect as we know that everyone is different some people have big breasts and a small rib cage or small breasts and a large back. We also know that each woman changes during the pregnancy and postnatal period so we are endeavouring to offer a big range of choices. With the new NAUTICAL nursing crop the back adjusts up to 3 sizes and the straps also adjust allowing for changes in the body to occur without having to purchase a new crop.
The breast size also changes when you are breastfeeding. Up until about the three month mark the breasts are quite engorged whilst the milk supply is establishing itself. Also before and after a breastfeed the size of the breast; as well as the shape changes. To allow for these changes the crops come with removable breast pads. By taking them out there is more space for the breast allowing for that slight difference.
An individuals activity or exercise choice also affects their choice in what they want from a crop. For our runners they prefer the sweetheart crop which offers more support and coverage with the razor back design, our yoga/pilates and weightlifting Mummas prefer the String It nursing crop whilst the Mums who like a little bit of everything go for the Nautical.
As you can see the science to designing a fashionable and functional nursing or breastfeeding crop is not so simple. The breasts are an ever evolving part of our bodies that changes with puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding and after- MUMMACTIV’s mission has always been to provide fashionable and functional activewear to keep Mums stylishly active no matter what stage they are at.