Keep Britain Breastfeeding: My Top Breastfeeding Tips
Today I want to share some breastfeeding tips on how to have a successful nursing relationship with your baby.
I don’t recall when exactly I made the decision to breastfeed, I just don’t think I really considered doing anything else and didn’t really think about it too much.
I assumed breastfeeding would be easy and straightforward as it was so natural and I didn’t know anyone with children who could tell me otherwise.
This also meant I did next to no reading about it either, unlike my pregnancy and birth research which erred on the obsessive!
So, when Bunny was born, I had no idea about what I was supposed to do, how often or even how!
I knew about skin to skin post delivery and how this encouraged them to latch on, but assumed that was all I needed to do.
Hours and hours later, when I was alone on the ward with my baby for the first time, a nurse came round and grabbed my boob and pushed my baby’s head towards it. I was stunned and wanted to scream at her. But that was pretty much it. No-one seemed overly concerned about how feeding was going and there was never any mention of top up, despite her low birth weight. I know now that I was extremely lucky that the staff were too busy to care, having heard many horror stories of how medical staff’s interference at this crucial time ruined the breastfeeding relationship.
Therefore, my top tip would be to research breastfeeding, go to classes, talk to others about their experiences. Just be prepared to deal with it alone, and know enough to fight your corner if you need to. Especially when you’re at your most vulnerable post-birth.
My other top tip would be to get help if it’s hurting. It isn’t supposed to hurt after those initial days of getting established. Although the let down reflex might be a little uncomfortable.
If your baby isn’t latching properly, not only are you going to get sore nipples, but they won’t be getting all the milk they need and you will run the risk of either getting engorged, or losing your supply altogether. Find a breastfeeding consultant asap to help you out and give you advice. Never suffer in silence!
My other tips would be to use reusable breast pads – they’re cheaper and much more comfortable than those plasticky disposable ones. Join a breastfeeding group, even if it’s going well; this can change as your baby reaches various milestones and you never know when you might need support; having it already established will make it easier to seek out. Practice feeding lying down at night to avoid unnecessary sleep disturbance (and co-sleep if you are aware of the risks/safety of doing so): I have known of babies that can latch on unassisted at night, allowing mum to sleep through! If you have a blocked or plugged duct, feed from that side as often as possible and make sure baby’s chin is pointing towards the blockage. Know about over/under supply, fast/slow let down, tongue/lip tie: these can all affect the breastfeeding relationship at some point and being able to recognise what may be an issue can help rectify it faster. If you are worried about taking medication and how it aligns with breastfeeding safety, download the LactMed app to easily check how it might affect your supply or milk. Take time out in the early days. I have a busy life, and looking back I wish I’d taken a break when my babies were born, but I was rushing here, there and everywhere and not taking the time to stop and relax and enjoy breastfeeding a newborn. Trying to manoeuvre baby into position in a wrap sling while running through a car park really isn’t how I wanted to remember those initial days! You have an excuse to stop everything and just sit, or even lie, and feed for days and days. Do it! Enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty!
My final top tip is a repeat of yesterday. Eat cake! Flapjacks are great as oats are supposed to boost supply, so you can always claim you’re doing it for baby! But you need the extra calories, you need the feel good factor of comfort food and it’s an excuse to sit down and relax.
Good luck and enjoy it. And if it’s not enjoyable, find out why and get help.
This post is part of a blog collective for British national breastfeeding week. If you enjoyed this post, go check out some of the other bloggers:
And why not visit some lovely breastfeeding friendly companies while you’re at it: