So you may ask why I am talking about natural birthing in regards to breastfeeding. Well this is where it all starts your baby’s transition into the world is an important step in breastfeeding.
A natural birth is obviously our goal but in our western society with laws and time frames and litigation, birth has become so sanitary and medicalised. Now I don’t want to go into how the system is failing women (which I believe it is) but how we can address help the situation.
It is very important to know what birth a woman had when dealing with breastfeeding problems. For example, an epidural is very common in our society, but what with an epidural comes IV fluids. This is to prevent your blood pressure from dropping in response to the epidural. This all seems harmless but all that extra fluid has to be processed by your body at some stage.
Your body carries 50% extra fluid load while you are pregnant and this is filtered through your kidneys and wee’d out over the first 2 weeks after your birth. This is a big job for your body and usually you will have puffy hands and feet until it clears.
With extra IV fluids you body has a bigger job and can have an accumulation of fluid in your breasts as well as these hang. Fluid in your breasts travels backwards to your lymph nodes in your arm pit which is a big job. This extra fluid can make it difficult for your baby to latch and can cause damage to your nipples. Fluid engorgement can also cause low supply.
It is important to distinguish between fluid and milk engorgement. The best way to do this is to look at your areola, if is puffy and pitted it may be fluid. Try pushing in on your areola and if it leaves an indent that stays for a few seconds then it may be fluid. You can push back on your entire areola before your latch and it may make it easier to latch.
This type of engorgement is usually more prevalent in the first few days of breastfeeding when the fluid in your body is at its peak. Seek advice from your midwife or lactation consultant for a plan to remedy this. You can also try the massage steps in the mastitis section.
Other types of birth such as vacuum, forceps and C/sections can cause problems usually due to your baby’s head being uncomfortable. Again, all these types of births cannot be changed once you have had your baby; it is understanding what happens in your birth and then making a breastfeeding plan to combat any problems. It is all treatable it just may take a few more weeks of assistance to create a plan and head in the right direction.
If you would like to read more about natural birthing and how to give yourself the best information on this then have a read of my blog Natural Birth Plan, there is also a free mini course at child-birth-options that will get you prepared for your birth.
I offer antenatal breastfeeding education if you would like to discuss any issues you have or discuss previous breastfeeding problems that you would like to avoid. I am here to help you transition from pregnancy to breastfeeding successfully.