Helen Borg is a senior midwife and infant feeding specialist who heads up the drop-in breastfeeding clinic at Mater Dei hospital. As mentioned in the series intro, Helen will cover common issues that can arise when feeding your newborn, giving professional advice and reassurance to help make your journey run smooth.
Q. How can new mums correct fast and slow breastmilk flows?
A. In terms of fast and slow breastmilk flows, the baby can play a big a part since your milk-flow will adjust to the way the baby feeds. Picking up problems early and correcting them, especially positioning issues, is therefore essential in order to remedy the situation from the beginning.
If the baby isn’t positioned correctly, for example if he has his chin on his chest, he won’t be able to swallow freely enough to cope with a fast flow, so he will adjust his feeding style which will send a signal to the breast to slow the flow.
Incorrect positioning can also speed up your flow and make it too fast. For example, if you have the baby positioned too far in one direction, it could make it difficult for him to get the thicker, fatty milk out of the breast. In this instance, nature will adapt the milk by putting more lactose in it and thinning it out. This makes the milk easier to express but less filling because it has less fat. So, you get these breasts really full of milk, a baby that’s growing like wildflowers but, bafflingly, still needs fed more or less constantly.
Fast flows can be more difficult to manage than slow flows because there is technology to help encourage slow flows to speed up. When it’s faster, upright positioning can help, or you can also be aware of when you get that let-down reflex. This reflex has a bit of a pins and needles feel and happens when you produce oxytocin which make your breasts pump out milk. When you feel your let-down reflex kick in, try breaking the suction so your baby misses that first surge of milk, then after that he should cope a bit better. Alternatively, you can also express about 10ml of milk before you latch the baby, this can also make the flow a bit more manageable.
If you find yourself struggling or feel you need additional advice, don’t hesitate to contact the breastfeeding clinic at Mater Dei hospital. For more professional info from Helen and other experts across the island, visit our Island Experts section.
When it comes to spare equipment for new mums, the breastfeeding clinic relies on donations, so if you have any of the following that you no longer need, you can drop them off at the clinic where they will be gratefully received!
-Milk storage bags or containers