Breastfeeding tips
17 June 2022

Breastfeeding tips

Many mothers-to-be and new mothers alike stress out about breastfeeding. They worry about things like their milk supply, having enough milk, what it's going to be like for the first few weeks and whether they're going to have sore nipples or whether they'll leak breast milk. Luckily, there are lactation consultants with plenty of information as well as a wealth of information and support online to make breastfeeding as easy as possible for both you and your baby. These breastfeeding tips will make you a pro in no time at all.

Why breastfeed?

There is a lot of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can have a lot of health benefits for both breastfeeding mothers and their babies, by reducing the risk of things like breast cancer and sudden infant death syndrome. It is also an easy way to ensure that your baby is getting enough nutrition, as breast milk adjusts to suit your child's needs. Breastfeeding helps to create a bond between mother and child, too, by providing ample opportunity for skin-to-skin contact.

Experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months, and then continuing even as you introduce the baby solid foods.

How to keep up your milk supply

How to keep up your milk supply

One of the biggest concerns that many mothers have is that they won't produce enough milk for their babies. This is very rare, but if you are concerned about your breast milk supply, speak to your lactation consultant and try these tips to improve your milk supply naturally. If you're concerned about your milk supply, speak to a professional before you decide to implement infant formula.

1. Breastfeed soon after birth

It is recommended that you breastfeed within a couple of hours of giving birth if possible, as this helps to stimulate your milk production. Sometimes this isn't possible due to premature birth or recovery, in which case you can speak to a midwife or a lactation consultant about how to stimulate milk production by hand.

2. Breastfeed as often and for as long as your baby needs

It may feel like your baby is breastfeeding too often, but if they are showing hunger cues, then you should always breastfeed them. You should breastfeed with one breast, and when they are done there, offer the second breast to see if they're still hungry.

You may feel the urge to time your feeds, but instead, let your infant decide when they are done. They will de-latch when they've had enough breast milk.

3. Make sure you eat and drink right

Just like when you were pregnant, what you eat is no longer just affecting you. You need to make sure you're eating the right food to keep your baby healthy as well as eating and drinking the right things to encourage breast milk production. These include fruit, veg, nuts, and grains - essentially just a balanced diet.

4. Avoid using a pacifier

For the first few weeks, it is important that you don't use a pacifier. They can suppress your baby's hunger cues, and this can result in less feeding. Less feeding means less milk, which will mean that you're not producing enough and that your child isn't getting enough breast milk.

How to position babys mouth

How to position baby's mouth

Another big concern of many new parents is whether they'll be able to find the right breastfeeding position. This involves making sure that the baby's mouth and baby's head are in the right place, but also that both you and the baby are comfortable enough to continue nursing.

Belly to belly, nose to nipple

In terms of your child's position, you should make sure that their nose (not their mouth!) is directed towards your nipple, and that their belly is flush with yours. This helps to ensure that they do not need to turn their head to latch on, making sure they're nice and comfortable. You'll know when you've got it right, as you'll feel when the baby latches.

How to sit

If you're new to breastfeeding, trying out different breastfeeding positions can feel like a nightmare. It's not easy to find a comfortable breastfeeding spot! But there are a few ways you can make yourself comfier. You could invest in a nursing pillow, try lying on your side, or sit on your couch or armchair and simply cradle your baby whilst making sure that the baby's mouth is in the right place. You will need to hold the baby close, making sure that you're not pushing baby's head as this can result in refusal, which may cause you to develop sore nipples.

Cushion the feet

It is not certain why, but many infants struggle to feed unless their feet are cushioned. This could be by the arm of a sofa, a cushion, your arm - the list goes on. Cushioning your baby's feet from the get-go will help to ensure a drama-free nursing session.

How to know if your baby is getting enough milk

It is unlikely that there are any issues with your milk supply, however, if you are worried about whether your baby is getting enough milk, there are signs you can look out for. Typically, babies who are well-fed and satisfied will:

  • Be gaining weight
  • Have 6 to 8 wet diapers a day after a week
  • Not over display any hunger cues
  • Breastfeed for 10 minutes or more in a rhythm
  • Breastfeed 8 or more times in 24 hours

Should you notice that any of these don't apply, then seek out a lactation consultant for some breastfeeding tips at your local hospital or doctor's office.

What to do if your breasts are leaking breast milk

What to do if your breasts are leaking breast milk

First of all, it is completely normal to leak breast milk when breastfeeding. It is likely to happen if you hear a baby cry, think about your baby, or even if you think about breastfeeding. All of these will stimulate milk production and possibly stimulate let-down (When the milk is pushed towards the nipple from the milk ducts within the breast. This is how the body gets the milk flowing to allow the baby starts feeding).

It is a good idea to wear nipple pads when out and about in order to protect your clothes from breast milk. Make sure you change these regularly and dry and moisturize your nipples to avoid cracked skin. If you're unsure which products to use, ask your lactation consultant as they will be able to offer support and knowledgeable breastfeeding tips to help you deal with things like sore or cracked nipples, leakage and other related issues.

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