A guest post from Lynn Hogg, Owner of More 4 Mums online Maternity & Breastfeeding Store and a Mum of 2 Breastfed Girls. To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week she gives us her top ten tips for new Breastfeeding Mums.
I was a proud Girl Guide in my younger days and this is my favourite motto “Be Prepared” ! Find out as much as you can about breastfeeding. Get a book from the library, ask questions at your antenatal class. You can read information from the La Leche League or look for local breastfeeding support groups or breastfeeding cafes. If you have friends or family who have breastfed then ask them all about it.
Get a Comfortable Breastfeeding Bra.
Get yourself one or two comfortable Breastfeeding bras before baby arrives along with a stock of Breast pads. I would suggest a seamless style as these tend to be stretchy enough to cope when your milk comes in and are comfortable for all day and night wear. You will probably need to wear a bra at night as you will be leaking milk in the early days and need to wear breastpads all the time.
Relax, easier said than done !
It all works better if you’re relaxed. You’re body is designed to do this and if you have chosen to then please know that the vast majority of women are physically able to breastfeed, so it is just a case of working out how to make it work for you, your baby and your family.
Think about why you are breastfeeding.
It might help if you do come up against any issues (not everyone does, by the way). It is better for baby, it helps me lose that post-baby weight (your body lays down fat stores in preparation for breastfeeding whether you do it or not), it is cheaper (much cheaper) than formula feeding and it is less faff and hassle! You may have other/different reasons, but if you know why you’re doing it you will know how much energy you want to put into persevering.
Expect to feed a lot in the early days.
Don’t watch the clock in the early days as baby won’t be in a routine and will need to eat little and often. If your baby is rooting around or crying, then feed him or her — even if you just did. As they get older you can expect them to go longer between feeds and they will get into more of a routine making it easier to plan ahead.
Know what is a good latch.
Most problems in breastfeeding are caused by a bad latch and most can be solved by getting a good latch. As much as it would be great if midwives could help us we have to accept that they are often very busy. You know your baby has a good latch if they have a massive mouthful of boob. If they have more of your areola from above the nipple than below. If the baby is making long rhythmic sucks and their cheeks are puffing out, nice and round. If your baby doesn’t have a good latch, use your little finger to break the seal and try again.
Make sure you have support.
You need support from your family, especially your partner. It will be very hard to make breastfeeding work if they are constantly reaching for the formula bottle. Also, you need to know you have somewhere to go if you run into problems (if you are struggling with that latch, for example) so look up local breastfeeding cafes (most surestart centres should be able to point you in the right direction, even if they don’t run one themselves), or find a peer supporter near you (la leche league should be able to help you find someone local).
Do I need a Breast Pump ?
You won’t need a breast pump in the early days, you can ask your midwife to show you how to hand express if you want to release some excess milk. Once Breastfeeding is established you may want to pump some extra milk so that you have a store. Some people use a manual pump however I never managed to get a lot of milk out. You can then use the milk if you are planning on going out without baby and will be leaving them with some one. You can also freeze the milk just incase. If you are planning on this I suggest you try and get baby to take a bottle before you go out as many babies don’t take to it straight away.
Work out how you are going to breastfeed in public.
Breastfeeding in public doesn’t have to mean getting both your boobs out for all to see. It is easy to Breastfeed when out and about if you think about your outfit beforehand, either with an easy to access top or a special Breastfeeding top. Many mums like to use a Nursing Cover or Supersize Muslin Cloth which will allow baby to latch on in comfort and give you more confidence. If you are really worried about feeding in public then plan ahead as many shopping centres and larger stores have specific rooms you can use however never feel you should be feeding in the toilet, your rights to breastfeed are a legal right.
Having a brand new baby is the most magical time in the world. Don’t get stressed and worry, you should enjoy the time and the closeness with baby.