10 Breastfeeding Tips
Author: Brea Walker Date Posted:7 March 2017
1. Make sure you carry water with you EVERYWHERE.
There is nothing worse than sitting down to feed a newborn baby and not having a bottle of water right next to you?
Why? The moment that baby latches on, you will have this amazing urge to scull 2 litres of water. My husband used to cringe the moment he heard me calling out "Hun". He knew it was for water and used to constantly say "Why didn't you fill one up before you sat down to feed?"
I am not sure the science behind the excess thirst but can only assume it is because it is needed to produce milk.
Make sure you choose a water bottle that is easy to open with one hand. There is nothing worse than only having one hand available and a water bottle that requires both hands.
Click here to find some awesome water flavours here.
2. Make sure you eat.
When you have a newborn you can get so worked up in making sure that their every need is catered for that you forget to look after yourself.
Add another child or more to this equation and you will find that more and more you will be snacking on the kid's leftovers because you have forgotten to make yourself breakfast and lunch.
Try to prepare some healthy meals and snacks in advance. Even better have someone cook them for you. Here are some delicious ideas.
Sleep when the baby sleeps! Who has heard this saying and rolled their eyes? This is fine if you have a baby that happily sleeps or you only have one child. Sleeping becomes something that you daydream about. It is however super important for your milk supply.
Breastfeeding mums need heaps of sleep to be able to produce hormones crucial for producing breastmilk. So next time someone asks what they can do - suggest taking the baby for a walk or looking after the other kids so you can catch up on some sleep.
But, don't get guilty and start cleaning the house the moment you get a free moment. SLEEP.... you need it, your baby needs you to have it.
4. Let those hooters get some fresh air at the start!
During the first couple of months when your body is getting used to a new baby feeding you will get sore nipples. The best thing for them during this stages are a little bit of breast milk and fresh air.
My lactation consultant told me to sunbake naked (in semi-shade) to help with recovering from initial breastfeeding and to help with stitches. I was a little bit too embarrassed to do this as we back on to the main road and the neighbours have full viewing privileges to our backyard.
Instead, I started to sleep naked with a towel underneath me. I swear this helped with sore red nipples. It also made for super easy feeds during the night.
5. Don't wear tight tops or bras that don't fit.
How many of you reading this purchased the majority of their nursing tops whilst pregnant? I did. I purchased around 10 feeding singlets and got a size 14 thinking that would give me some movement for weight gain and increase in the bust.
Some people are lucky to not have any changes in weight and bust. But for most of us, we see at least one size increase after baby. Most of the singlets that I purchased although stretchy didn't cover my engorged bustline. The poor puppies were squished at the best of times.
My cup size increased dramatically, from a C to an F. The size 14 although fitting elsewhere just didn't fit comfortably. I wish that I had been fitted for some nursing bras at around 6 weeks post birth. Knowing what I know now I would happily fork out the money for well-fitted breastfeeding bras.
6. Invest in some good quality nursing tops.
Nursing clothes have also improved over the last 5 years. If all goes to plan you will be breastfeeding for a lengthy period of time (6 months+). You might even continue with additional children. Investing in some pretty nursing friendly tops that can be dressed up or down will be an investment in your future. The good news about a good nursing top is that the feeding spots are hidden so well that you could get away with wearing them after you stop nursing.
7. Heat and Cold Packs
When I first was admitted into the hospital with the twins I remember the midwife showing me the freezer where they had frozen nappies. I remember laughing thinking I can't stick a frozen nappy on my breast.
You can and you will. When those things are engorged and throbbing you will source anything to help relieve. When you get home however frozen nappies in the freezer can take up a lot of room.
Instead, I recommend the Cold/Warm born to feed breast care therapy packs. These packs can be used cold to help reduce inflammation and swelling and warm to help with milk stimulation and pain due to engorgement.
These can become super helpful if you get mastitis or during the weaning process.
8. Latching issues
Breastfeeding can be painful at the start and sometimes we mistake early breastfeeding stages with latching issues.
If that pain continues, you get stabbing pains, pinched nibbles during feeding, cracked nipples, bub is spending hours on the breast or not putting on weight, it is best to get checked by a lactation consultant.
Most of the public hospitals offer lactation clinics. If you are unsure contact your local hospital. Otherwise look at private lactation consultants in your area.
My twins were born at 35 weeks and spent 2 weeks in special care unit until they learnt to latch and feed. I got a little impatient with them being in special care. I couldn't wait for them to come home. Although the twins were latching they were not keep attached for long. I ignored this sign - they each fed for 30min - 1 hour but had full nappies and were putting on weight.
I knew they weren't latching but just assumed it was their age and thought the would get better as they got older. At 6 weeks, things hadn't improved. They had got worse - lots worse. If I wasn't feeding I was expressing. I had no time to eat, sleep or drink.
I had a lactation consultant come out to visit and we tried tandem feeds. We decided that the twins latch was not currently suited to tandem feeds and continued on the one on one off routine.
I lasted several more months before making the decision to move to formula full time.
I didn't deal mentally with this decision but knew deep down that a happy mamma means a happy bubba. They were striving on formula and I had to let go.
I was able to use my inexperience with the twins to successfully breastfed my last child.
A portable silicone breast pump can help for expressing in between feeds and collecting milk on the other side whilst feeding bub.
9. Talk about your worries. Don't let your feelings bottle up.
If you are worried about something, even if it is small or you don't know if it is something to be worried about - ask someone. Ask a family member, a close friend, a local facebook forum or contact Australian Breast Feeding Association.
I struggled so much with the twins - they couldn't stay latched, I had excruciating sharp pains every time they latched. I just felt so frustrated when they were feeding. I loved the fact that I was able to provide for them but whenever they were feeding I felt this awful dread - I couldn't wait for them to finish their feed.
My mum came around one day and I was on the floor bawling my eyes out with the twins on either side of me. I felt boxed in. I couldn't find a solution to my issues. My body ached. I knew that this wasn't normal - breastfeeding is hard but this was beyond that.
Without the support of my husband and close family and friends, I may not have had the courage to admit I was struggling.
I know that sounds like a silly recommendation but a relaxed mum usually means a relaxed baby. When you are calm and collected your baby is more likely to be calm and collected.
Try and be as relaxed as possible when you are feeding your bub. Do things that you find takes you to a tranquil place. If that means watching a movie, listening to your favourite music, reading a book or even just running your hand through your bubs hair then do it.
You would be amazed at just how much quicker and stress-free the feed is when you are relaxed.
Enjoy this moment because before you know it they will be off to school and your breastfeeding experience will be a distant memory.