Which is why we asked around our pregnant pals for their most common feeding questions, then handed them over to certified lactation consultant Kristy Newnham to weigh in.
Kristy tells Mamamia her aim is to eliminate the doubt new mums feel that’s brought on by unrealistic expectations placed on child development and breastfeeding. Instead, she wants to empower mums through education and most important of all, “build their confidence to listen to their intuition.”
Of course, the opinions expressed in this piece won’t apply to all situations. As Kristy says, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to feeding your baby and every parent will have a different experience. We’re firmly in the fed is best camp, and breastfeeding won’t necessarily be an option for all new mums.
But if you want to know what other women are asking about feeding, pumping and managing your milk supply, read on.
If your boobs aren’t leaking before you have your baby, does it mean you have less chance of creating milk? Heaps of mums in this group I’m in on Facebook are already leaking colostrum…
Many women do leak colostrum before they have their baby but a lot don’t, and the amount of colostrum that you can express before you have your baby plays no part in your ability to make milk once you have had your baby.
During your pregnancy, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone help to grow and develop your breast tissue and the structure of your breasts to enable you to breastfeed. From as early as the 16th week of pregnancy your body has the ability to make colostrum (baby’s first milk jam-packed with immune building properties) but until you birth your baby and your placenta the pregnancy hormones hold back your body’s ability to make copious amounts of milk.
After you have birthed your placenta and with your baby frequently sucking and stimulating your breasts, the breastmilk hormones prolactin and oxytocin kick into gear and start to bring your milk supply in. So really the amount of colostrum that you can express before you have your baby plays no part in your ability to produce milk.
Psst, there’s a really good pod on this subject. On Year One, the team discuss expressing, bottle-feeding and what to do when everything goes tits up. Post continues below.
Should I pump before I give birth to help get my boobs ready and stimulate milk supply?
There is no current research that looks into using a breast pump before you have your baby so it is a practice that isn’t recommended. Some women with risk factors such as gestational diabetes may be recommended to hand-express before they have their baby so that can have some colostrum to give their baby if they experience problems with their blood sugar levels after birth.
Milk supply is brought in by hormones and the frequent feeding of your baby at your breast, so pumping or hand expressing won’t help stimulate your milk supply
If I want to breastfeed but also want my baby to take a bottle, what’s the best day to introduce a bottle (with breastmilk or formula?) If I introduce the bottle too soon is it true that they won’t take the breast properly?