What exactly is ‘normal’ in breastfeeding? – Medela giveaway

When I began breastfeeding my first newborn baby girl, I approached it with a plan like I do with any new project I take on.

I kept a notebook and pen beside my feeding chair and jotted down the time of each feed, the duration, and which breast I used. (I have filled books and books with breastfeeding notes throughout my breastfeeding career).

feeding

My friends and family thought I was a little crazy doing this, but it helped me keep track of what breast I was up to for one, helped me work out patterns with her feeding and sleeping, and made me feel like I had some semblance of control, I guess.

For the most part, our first-born was an efficient feeder. She would mostly have super-fast feeds of approximately 15 minutes long and would occasionally have a slower, snoozy feed of 35 minutes.

I remember my sister and other breastfeeding friends telling me how lucky I was having the feeds finish so quickly. Their babies would feed for an hour or more. By the time they’d finished it was almost time to start again.

The short feeds did worry me at times though. Was she getting enough milk? Why does she take just one breast per session? Why does she like leftie and not rightie? Is she hungry? How do I even know how much she is getting?

One thing I know now though, is that I’m not the only mum who had these questions or at least a version of them.

While breastfeeding has been one of the most special, amazing and beautiful experiences I have ever had in my life, it was also fraught with stress at times.

When Medela contacted me about some new breastfeeding research, I knew I had to share it with other breastfeeding mothers to help them with their journeys. Plus, Medela has played a huge role in my breastfeeding career with their bottles being the only ones my babes would take to begin with.

The new research from leading lactation researcher Jacqueline Kent was presented for the first time at Medela’s 9th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium in April this year.

Her studies confirmed that there is no breastfeeding norm or benchmark for breastfeeding.

Each breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby is unique and adapts and changes throughout the breastfeeding period. The differences between one mum to the next, like me and my sister, can seem extreme, but this is normal.

The results showed that breastfed infants control their milk intake to match their appetite and growth rate, taking what they need. Plus, exclusively breastfed infants normally show a wide variety of breastfeeding patterns.

Between one and six months of lactation, breastfed babies take fewer, faster, larger feeds, but their total daily milk intake is constant. Kent’s studies highlighted that a breastfeeding baby’s patterns can sometimes change monthly.

Research showed a significant variability in frequency and volume intake of healthy, exclusively breastfed infants ages 1 to 6 months.

Check out this cool infographic for more detail.

Infografik_Kent-Breastfeeding_Madrid 2014-page-001The take home for me from this research, is that changes in your baby or toddler’s breastfeeding behaviour are normal, as are differences between babies and toddlers.

Medela hopes that sharing these results with more mums, breastfeeding can become a more enjoyable process for both mum and baby.

logo_medela_colorMedela provides real solutions for breastfeeding mothers to get over any hurdles in the early days and to support their long term breastfeeding goals. Through its extensive range of breast pump products and other breastfeeding products, Medela is committed to promoting the benefits of breast milk and encouraging long term breastfeeding. For more information visit http://www.medela.com.au and http://www.facebook.com/medela.au

Thanks to Medela, I am giving away one $100 Medela voucher to spend on any Medela product purchased through Medela Australia only.

Congratulations Pip Macdonald!! You are the winner of the $100 Medela voucher. Please look out for an email from me with the details.

To be in the running, Like Mummy, Wife, Me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mummywifeme and leave a comment on this post sharing with me what your breastfeeding experience was like and if you’re a new mum please tell me about your thoughts on feeding.

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is only open to Australian residents

Closing date for entries is midnight Sunday, 13 July 2014

The winner will be contacted via email Monday, 14 July 2014

If the winner does not respond within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Entries will be judged on merit and decision of the winner will be final.

*Mummy, Wife, Me received aΒ  $50 Toys R Us voucher for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

27 comments on What exactly is ‘normal’ in breastfeeding? – Medela giveaway

  1. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    July 7, 2014 at 6:43 am (3 years ago)

    Great post Renee. Firstly I am VERY jealous. Both of my boys fell into the ‘slow feeder’ category and one hour feeds were very common. When baby boy got to around 10 months and would only feed for 10 -15 minutes at a time I began to get worried he was getting enough!
    You are not alone in your note taking, I also kept very thorough notes on feeding times/lengths for both of the boys. This was my normal, a carry over effect from keeping track of how much/often I was expressing when the boys were first born and in NICU. I would sit in the darkness at home all alone and look at the pictures I’d taken of the boys that day to help with my let downs. My notes when I was expressing alone also reassured me, I’d work out the daily amount of milk the boys need (150ml per kilo – yep I still remember that!) and as along as I pumped more than that each day, I felt I had succeeded.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh Lauren! You did an amazing job for those little boys of yours. I used to look at the pics to help with the let downs too. I’m glad your notes were able to help you through it too.

      Reply
  2. Erin
    July 7, 2014 at 7:12 am (3 years ago)

    I would agree, all different, each mother, each baby. Just worked out in the 20.6 years I’ve been breastfeeding, I’ve been breastfeeding for 12.6years of those years. Kept a few notes occasionally but nothing detailed like you! well done

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Well done to you, Erin. You are amazing!! That is really impressive πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Megan Mallen
    July 7, 2014 at 7:59 am (3 years ago)

    I also had super quick feeders whilst my sister with a similar ages baby looked at me with jealousy as her son feed for hours at a time. Currently breast feeding my third and final baby and trying to savor the experience! I will be so sad when this one is done.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm (3 years ago)

      Ahh Megan, yes it is a little sad isn’t it. I definitely had mixed feelings. I hope you can enjoy it as long as possible πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Ahh Megan, yes it will be sad. I hope you can both enjoy it for as long as possible πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Neets
    July 7, 2014 at 8:30 am (3 years ago)

    I’m feeding as I read this wondering when my 9 week old will break his 2 hour feeding cycle. With my first I did exactly what you did recording every feed. He only fed for 9 weeks before I ran out of milk. My second fed for 5 months & this time around, it seems like this little warrior will be feeding until he’s 21! Lol I’ve always used Medela products. They’re fab x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:25 pm (3 years ago)

      They sure are fab, Neets!! So glad to hear things are going well with the little warrior. You are definitely super mum doing all that you do xx

      Reply
  5. Pip Macdonald
    July 7, 2014 at 10:03 am (3 years ago)

    Oh, I’m about to embark on this breastfeeding journey again, and boy do I remember my first experience. It was the hardest ‘learned’ skill I’ve ever adopted. I was in tears the first 3 weeks not understanding her attachment problems and working through the sheer pain as my body adapted to the constant demands. I’d already joined the ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Ass’n) before I gave birth and they were such a fantastic resource to bounce ideas off. She fed really quickly, I had no idea about timing, then I felt like she took too much milk, then in the evenings not enough – so many questions and their incredible hotline was the best support a mum could have had. I did use a Medela pump first time round but it was quite a few years ago and sadly I think Miss 3 may be using the pieces to funnel sand through in her sand pit! Thanks for the chance to win. I love this infographic – there is no ‘normal’!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh your poor pump!!! At least it’s getting used though, I suppose :/ I’m glad you found the ABA to be a great support to you. It can be a difficult and emotional time. I had some serious problems with my second. It was a very different experience to my first, but thankfully with support from my local GP I was able to work through it. Good luck, Pip πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Elisha Ross
    July 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm (3 years ago)

    It was a weird thing to learn off the bat with number 1. How to hold, (what is with that football hold), sore nipples and the like but I had awesome support throughout my stay at the hospital and got the hang of it before I got home. As far as actual feeders go, I have been very lucky in the breastfeeding department. Both mine were good feeders and did so pretty quickly (20mins) every 4-5 hours. #2 was even more efficient as she only had one side each time and still had 3-4 hr gap in between. I b/fed Hugh for 6 months and tried to ween at the same time for Edie, but she kept me going until 10 months. I thought she would never get off me…Had a bit of wind/ reflux with both and only after 3 months with Edie, realised I was giving her wind through eating stone fruit each morning on my muesli. Poor kid!! Lesson learned for #3 happening in approx 4 weeks time. It’ll be interesting to see how it all goes again, all the things I’ve learned already and how the other 2 behave so I can feed. Lordy Lordy!!! I haven’t tried Medela products before so would be interested to see what they have to offer.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Oooh congratulations on number three, Elisha. Not long now. I hope you will be just as lucky with him/her. And yes, that football hold is totally random and difficult!! I could never do it :/

      Reply
  7. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting
    July 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm (3 years ago)

    I love it when research confirms that everyday experience is normal!:) I breastfed my first son for 16 months but my second son self weaned at 5 months. I found that emotionally difficult but they’re both healthy boys now!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm (3 years ago)

      I can imagine you finding it difficult seeing your first breastfed for considerably longer. I’m glad you worked through it, Bec πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Andrea
    July 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks Naisy, very timely information for me! Really good to know that if #2 is feeding differently it’s probably very normal. xxxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes little one, it probably is. I’m so excited for you. Not long now xx

      Reply
  9. Emma Fahy Davis
    July 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm (3 years ago)

    I had a mixed bag – number one would feed for 45 mins to an hour at each feed, taking both sides. Two and three flat out refused to have anything to do with the breast and a good ole Medela double electric pump kept them in bottled breastmilk for weeks. Number 4 approached breastfeeding the way she approaches everything else in life – like a bull at a gate. The nurses would tell me three or four minutes wasn’t enough for a full feed but she’d take as much as she’d take then no amount of coaxing could convince her to take so much as a mouthful more. She thrived on those three minute snack feeds and even now at nearly-6, she’s a snacker rather than a stuffer. Number five was a leisurely but efficient feeder as a baby and is now a frustratingly acrobatic toddler nursling!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 8, 2014 at 6:12 am (3 years ago)

      Wow, Emma. So interesting. That really is a mixed bag. Funny how their personalities shine through from such an early age πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Stephanie Veljanovska
    July 8, 2014 at 11:34 pm (3 years ago)

    With my First baby it was exhausting he was in NICU and had a poor suck so I had to express all his feeds in amongst hospital runs and a very stressful time . I kept it up for 3 months even whilst spending so much time with my mother who was dying in hospital until I could no longer possibly do it.
    This time around when my baby was handed to me I was shocked that she knew how to suck straight away it really was an amazing experience for me as my son had issues with feeding.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm (3 years ago)

      Gosh, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing. So sorry to hear about your mum xx

      Reply
  11. Bec | Mumma Tells
    July 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm (3 years ago)

    I love reading tales from boobin’ land… is that weird? It sounds weird now that I’ve put it out there in the open? Hmm… Anyway, I do. There is such diversity in experience, just like motherhood. Much to read and learn. X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 11, 2014 at 6:39 am (3 years ago)

      Haha boobin’ land. Love it. Yes, I love hearing all of the different stories too! x

      Reply
  12. Robyn Biggs
    July 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for this great post Renee! I loved reading it and about your experience with breastfeeding. A huge thanks for sharing this and highlighting that there is no normal when it comes to breastfeeding. I think it is so so important for mums to realise this and then get all the support they can get, as it is such a life changing time.

    I am a mum to a 20 month old girl, a little younger than Smiley. I have been extremely lucky and fortunate to have a wonderful, lovely breastfeeding journey with her. I went into it knowing I wanted to breastfeed or atleast attempt to but I had no idea what to do or expect. In hindsight, I wish I had of attended an information course, like ABA’s breastfeeding education classes prior to my daughter’s birth. Despite this, after a few weeks/months we both seemed to get the hang of it and have had a lovely time together which I am extremely grateful for πŸ™‚

    I am now much the wiser and a lot more educated about breastfeeding. I know initially I was like you, Renee, and determined to get some sense of control during those first few weeks/months when my whole life seemed out of control and as if it had been thrown out the window! I wasn’t quite as dedicated as you with recording everything, I have many a started list but never seemed to follow through. Eventually I just tried to trust my gut, listen to my mummy instincts and believe that I was the one that knew my baby best and to listen and respond to her needs. I am so so glad I did this because this proved to be invaluable. It is extremely hard in those early days with so much advice, pressure, expectations, etc to trust you instincts but it is really important you do. It is also invaluable to have great support through organisations such as ABA – they are amazing, especially the counsellors! πŸ™‚

    I now hope I can give back and help other new mums giving them support, especially during their early days. It is great to see companies like Medela supporting breastfeeding and “promoting” the fact that there is no normal when it comes to breastfeeding. There is no one size that fits all because all of us and all babies are special and unique. The more we can promote and realise this, hopefully it helps mums to trust themselves and have a lovely, positive breastfeeding journey, no matter how short or long it is.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 13, 2014 at 12:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Robyn, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I think trusting your gut and listening to your mummy instinct is the greatest advice. I always reminded myself with my first that both baby and I were learning and new to this and eventually we would muddle through and find our own rhythm. Thanks again!

      Reply
  13. Lauren - Gold Coast Mum
    July 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm (3 years ago)

    It’s all trial & error isn’t it. After successfully breastfeeding my firstborn til 15 months (first 6 weeks were tough – nipple shields/bleeding nipples etc) I expected it to be pretty straight forward with my second, but it was like learning all over again.

    And then with my twins, it was a whole new experience again with both with tongue ties, bad latch, wind, colic, silent reflux & constantly feeding x 2. So I was exhausted but persevered.
    Now they’re 8-months & still tandem breastfed. Yay! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm (3 years ago)

      Wow, Lauren. That is amazing! Well done you. Those tongue ties really do cause a world of trouble don’t they?! Glad you’ve found your rhythm with them now.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *