Yesterday evening as I was nursing my baby girl to sleep, I realised that she isn’t actually such a baby anymore. Her feet are growing and not so fat and puffy anymore. They’re little girls feet. Her fat rolls on her arms and legs are not so prominent anymore. She speaks in sentences (in 2 different languages too!) and learns something new every day. But she’s still my bby. When she cuddles up to me to drink her milkies, she doesnt look quite so big anymore and I’m reminded that she’s only 27 months old That’s not very old! And have you ever wondered about that drunk or doped look that babies get when they’ve finished a nursing session? Turns out, that “based on the findings of several major scientific studies, that human breast milk naturally contains many of the same cannabinoids found in marijuana, which are actually extremely vital for proper human development.” http://www.naturalnews.com/036526_cannabinoids_breast_milk_THC.html
Often new moms are worried that the milk that their body is producing is not enough and are tempted to top-up feeds with formula milk. When a baby has unrestricted access to the breast and is allowed to nurse as often as needed, top up feeds are not needed. Less than 2% of women have a true lack of supply. A new mom produces colostrum. A rich, creamy substance which is extremely concentrated (think condensed milk). Because it is condensed, babies only need a tiny amount at a time. Perfect for new tummies. Colostrum also helps the sugar levels in babies to stabilise and as a gentle laxative to help babies pass that first sticky, black meconium poo. I believe this is also why moms have such calm babies for the first few days, all that rich colostrum keeping babies full and content, then suddenly they get to day 3 or 4 and the mature milk starts coming in and there’s milk everywhere and your boobs are rock hard and baby can’t latch and you feel awful! My mantra…just keep nursing. I remember that in the first few weeks Skye used to nurse almost constantly. Every 1 – 2 hours she would be at the breast, nursing for 30 – 45 minutes at a time, then dosing until she stirred looking for her next fix! By responding to her as soon as possible, she never needed to cry, so she was almost always able to latch on easily, with no stress or frustration. Then, just as you think she’s settling into a nice pattern, she has a growth spurt and wants to nurse constantly again for 2 days. Growth spurts happen quite regularly in the first 6 months, usually at 3,6,9,12 weeks and somewhere between 4 and 6 months. The best thing to do at these times is just to keep nursing. A nursing womans body is an amazing thing. When baby needs more milk, she tells your body she needs more milk by suckling more often. This stimulation tells the brain to produce more milk and voila, next time baby latches on, the brain remembers and produces more milk. That’s right, milk is produced in the brain (well, sort of!). The hormones needed for breastmilk production are secreted in the brain, which in turn tells the milk ducts to produce more milk. Therefore the more baby sucks, the more milk you make. Your milk is perfect for your baby. No other womans breastmilk will be quite the same as yours. In fact, breastmilk changes by the hour depending on what your baby needs and some of the most creamy, fatty milk is produced in the early hours of the morning which is when babies are doing majority of their growing. So enjoy those 2am feedings, you are giving you baby’s brain an extra boost of essential fatty acids and immune boosting nutrients.
So moms, keep nursing, it is such an amazing thing you are doing, nourishing your baby with ‘designer’ milk, perfectly made for YOUR baby by YOU! As my favourite t-shirt says “I make milk, what’s your superpower?”