What is 'normal' when it comes to breastfeeding?

With Little Miss' brother weeks away, I have started to think how I will cope with a second bub but also if I will have a different breastfeeding experience this time around. I was all for it before Little Miss arrived and within an hour of a birth, I was breastfeeding her (colostrum). I thought to myself 'wow this is amazing, my body knows what to do, this is very natural I won't have any problems' - how wrong I was!

When I had to breastfeed little Miss after a few hours of rest, it became apparent that it wasn't going to be easy. She wasn't latching onto one of my breasts, she was falling asleep during the feeds and my milk hadn't arrived. Being exhausted from labour didn't help the cause. This continued for a few days until a nurse suggested I use one of the breastfeeding pumps to encourage my milk supply. If it wasn't for the Medela pump provided by the hospital, my milk wouldn't have arrived so soon and I would have probably given up. 

After my milk arrived, things got a little bit easier and we got the hang of it and things were ok but I did feel that after a few months of breastfeeding my milk supply wasn't as good. I used some advice from the Tizzie Hall book 'Save our sleep' but was never able to express as she suggested because I never had enough milk after each feed and one breast was providing less than the other. 

At the four months mark, maternal nurses told me that Little Miss' weight wasn't on par with the 'normal' chart and had to start her on solids. That didn't help my confidence or milk supply but I persevered until little Miss was eleven months and some 'biting' freaked everyone out and I stopped breastfeeding. 

Throughout my whole breastfeeding journey, I had no idea what was considered 'normal' and worried that Little Miss wasn't getting enough milk. I wish I had known what I recently found out through Medela's recent infographic below.


This handy infographic was produced for all mums and health professionals explaining recent research and can also be downloaded here.

It was based on research by Jackie Kent and the Hartmann Lactation Research group at University of WA who looked at many mums and bubs from the ages of 1 to 6 months and found that there were great variations of normal.

They also found out that 96% of Australian mothers start to breastfeed their bub from birth however the rate drops dramatically after the first few months. By 2 months, full breastfeeding (no other food or drink is fed to bub) rates drop to 57% and by 5 months rates drop down to 30%. Mothers stop breastfeeding in the early months because they believe they do not have enough milk, often because their bub feeds frequently or more than other bubs. 

I am so glad that research was conducted on this topic and there is now some info for mums out there like me worrying if their breastfeeding journey is 'normal'. I will be referring to this infographic when I have to do it all over again in the few weeks, wish me luck!

To help you on your breastfeeding journey, Medela and Melbourne4Bubs are giving away a $50 The Pharmacy voucher to one lucky subscriber. Simply write us a quick comment below why you would like to win the voucher - good luck! Entries are now open and close this Friday 11th of Dec at 4pm AEST.

This is a sponsored post by Medela and Kids Business.

Medela supports mums with their breastfeeding journey by providing the most technologically advanced, superior-quality breastfeeding products, conducting ongoing research and by working with community groups and charities on innovative programs assisting breastfeeding mums.  For more info, visit www.medela.com.au