August 10, 2023 5 min read

We have Amber, who is a midwife and lactation consultant, on the Journal with us! Not only does she have years of experience in the medical field, but Amber is also a new mum to her beautiful bubba, Winter. She’s passionate about all things breastfeeding and will be sharing some helpful information with us!

What’s one thing that makes you feel alive?  

My morning coffee, usually after a broken night of sleep being up feeding my baby!

What do you love about being a midwife and a lactation consultant?  

I love educating and empowering parents to be, and I love making a difference to people’s journeys in the postpartum period. I love visiting new parents at home with their newborn and having the time to sit down with them, answer all of their questions about feeding and their baby, work through their challenges, and leave knowing I’ve given them lots of strategies and I’ve empowered them so they feel more confident to trust their instincts with their baby. 

What are your top three tips to make breastfeeding easier?  

- Do a breastfeeding class in pregnancy- I have a self-paced online course that will really help to set you up for breastfeeding! 
- See a Lactation Consultant early if you’re finding breastfeeding painful or having any issues 
- Put things in place to make it easier for you, I call this postpartum planning, so have a freezer full of meals and snacks, know your local breastfeeding supports, have boundaries around visitors, putting these things in place can help you focus on breastfeeding your baby in the early days.  

What are some breastfeeding myths that you have encountered?  

That you need to 'toughen' up your nipples, I have heard women used to rub sandpaper on their nipples- please don't do this! You don’t need to do anything to your nipples prior to breastfeeding! 

Are there ways to boost your milk supply naturally?  

The best way to boost your milk supply is to do lots of skin to skin, demand feed your baby- so feed whenever your baby is showing cues, focus on good positioning of your baby at the breast to achieve deep attachment and ensure effective swallowing so your baby is draining your breast well. These are the best ways to boost milk supply. If you’re concerned about your milk supply, I highly recommend reaching out to a Lactation Consultant to help you with these things and to make an individualised plan for you. 

What are your must-have breastfeeding products?  

  • Silverettes- they are amazing! If they are not in your budget, get a good nipple cream that is safe for ingestion or the multi-mam compress pads 
  •  soft, comfy, stretchy breastfeeding bras/ crops for the early days 
  • hot/cold breast gel packs. 

What are some hunger cues that babies show?  

Common hunger cues from babies often start subtle, if your baby is hungry, they may start wiggling around, bringing their hands to their mouth and even sucking on their hands. They often search around with a big wide mouth, making sucking noises or head bobbing and pecking. Your baby may then start to cry whilst doing these cues, but it’s important to remember, all babies are different and some don’t do the subtle cues. Be kind to yourself as you learn the way your baby communicates with you. 

What are some signs that your baby’s latch might not be correct?  

The biggest sign that your baby’s attachment at your breast is not deep enough is pain. If you latch your baby on, it may be painful at the very start as your baby moves the nipple deep into their mouth, however if you count to 10 and the pain continues, it’s most likely that the latch isn’t deep enough. Some other signs include damage to the nipple, your nipple may be grazed or cracked, come out squashed, have a blister or in severe cases may even bleed. Some other signs your baby’s latch is shallow is that you can see the corners of your baby’s mouth and you can see a lot of areola. You may also find your baby is quite gassy and uncomfortable and you may not feel like your breasts are emptying well or you may be getting frequent blocked ducts/ mastitis.  

What are some tips for weaning?  

Weaning is very individual for every mum and baby duo, it depends on the reason behind weaning and the age of your baby/ toddler. 
There’s the physical side of weaning. Depending on how often you were breastfeeding will depend on how long the weaning process will take but the general advice is to drop one feed every 3-4 days to a week. You also have to remember that your breasts may become quite full and lumpy and women are more likely to get mastitis when weaning, so if you’re feeling uncomfortably full, use cold packs and hand express a small amount just for comfort as your breasts adjust.  
Depending on the reason for weaning, it may be an emotional time for you, or your baby or for both of you, so lots of cuddles while you navigate this time.  

What are some good food/ snack options that are nourishing when you are breastfeeding?  

Breastfeeding makes you SO… hungry! Your body requires approximately 500 extra calories per day- so you definitely need to eat nourishing snacks in between meals. One handed snacks are the best option- I make banana bread at the start of each week to have in the fridge and some muesli cookies. If you’re pregnant these are great options to make in bulk and freeze because you probably won’t have the time to cook in the early days. Bliss balls are also a great idea, having a handful of nuts, some rice cakes/ sourdough with smashed avo or nut butter and berries, zucchini slice/ frittata, some healthy muffins or savoury muffins or even a smoothie. I also have some healthy packaged options on hand- I always have something beside me when I feed at home and in the nappy bag when I’m out- a packaged bliss ball with good ingredients and I love an oat bar- it’s so important to have a snack and a big bottle of water on hand when you’re feeding. 

How much pain is normal for a first time feeding mum?  

You may feel some tenderness in the early days as your baby is not going to get the right latch every time, but once your baby latches, within 10 seconds it should subside. If it doesn’t, it’s important to insert a clean pinky finger and detach your baby and start again. If your baby continues to feed in a shallow latch it will very likely cause cracked or bleeding nipples, which is extremely painful. It’s so important to remember, if it’s anything more than tenderness, if you have cracked and damaged nipples of if you aren’t able to feed without pain it’s so important to get help from a Lactation Consultant.  

What are some tips to get comfortable breastfeeding?  

My biggest tip- recline back while you feed, put your feet up, relax your shoulders, this will create the best positioning for your baby as well as being the most comfortable for you.  

As a mum yourself, what would be your number one piece of advice to offer a new mama?  

My advice is to trust your gut! You will be bombarded with lots of contradicting well-meaning advice, but tune in to what feels right for you and have the confidence to do what feels right for you and your baby. There are no bad habits! 
For more helpful information and tips, follow Amber on Instagram @bodybirthandbaby  

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