Tips For First Time Breastfeeders
Mother-of-three and blogger Laura Doyle offers up some advice for first time breastfeeders.
Are you planning on breastfeeding but not sure what to expect?
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience a few challenges along the way. With the right help and advice you can make it through and continue to breastfeed as long as you want to. Here are my five top tips, for new mums planning to breastfeed.
Try To Forget About Any Routine
The ‘rooming in’ period is essential for a successful breastfeeding journey. Remember you are learning to breastfeed and so is baby.
Every baby is a different breastfeeding experience and try to remember that your baby has never done this before either. It can be difficult at first to get used to baby feeding at non-specific intervals. Or not knowing exactly how much your baby is getting at each feed, but try not to think too much about when your baby is feeding and for how long. Let your baby set the pace.
Keep in mind, however, that there is no set routine when breastfeeding. Your baby will nurse when they are hungry.
READ MORE: Things You Should Know About The First 6 Weeks Of Breastfeeding
Trust Your Instincts, And Your Milk Supply
As women, our bodies are designed to feed our babies. And our maternal instincts are exceptional, so use them.
Let your instincts and your baby lead the way with breastfeeding. If something just doesn’t feel right have it checked straight away. There are lactation consultants in every maternity hospital and they are amazing. They know their stuff and they are only delighted to help.
Get all the help you can before you leave the hospital. If your gut is questioning your baby’s latch or the position you are holding baby in, ask a midwife to watch you do a feed.
As far as milk supply is concerned, you will always have enough milk to feed your baby. It is a rare case where medically a mum may not have enough milk, but it’s not half as common as you may have been told.
It Might Hurt A Little
Let’s be completely honest, at the beginning it hurts.
Breastfeeding encourages your uterus to contract a little bit quicker than usual. These ‘after-birth’ pains are no joke! But they only last a couple of days.
Your nipples are also new to this breastfeeding experience and it will take a while for them to toughen up – but they will. In the meantime, get some nipple cream or some Multi-mam compresses. They are life savers. With each feed, as baby latches count to 10 until the initial pain subsides, knowing with each feed it will get a little easier.
All babies grow at different rates. They put on weight and lose weight all for different reasons and no baby is the same as another.
As mothers we love to compare babies but in reality there is no true comparison from baby to baby.
READ MORE: Getting To Know Your Newborn
Remember this: If your breastfed baby is not putting on weight as quickly as another breastfed baby at the same age, it really doesn’t have very much reflection on how they are feeding. Unless there is a significant loss of weight and confirmed by your GP try not to worry.
Remember to never compare your baby with others. All you need to worry about is wet and dirty nappies. Once you are nursing and your baby is having wet and dirty nappies you are flying it.
Join A Group
One of the best tips I could give a new mum about to begin her breastfeeding journey is to join a group. It helps a lot to see other women who are nursing and to watch how they do it.
Its also great to be able to speak to other women who are in the exact same situation as you. It is very healthy to be able to talk.
Talk about breastfeeding, about your baby, or about anything at all. But it is a set time in the week when you can get dressed, get out of the house and meet other mums in the exact same situation as you. There are breastfeeding support groups in every area or La Leche League meetings. Ask your Public Health Nurse for more information.