5 Tips for preparing to breastfeed your newborn baby
Learning to breastfeed can be difficult for many mothers and babies. There is no time limit on how long your breastfeeding journey can or will last for, no manual on how your baby will or should feed or even the amount of milk you can or will produce. In theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2021 “Protect Breastfeeding: A shared responsibility” we talk to lactation consultants Deyana & Cheryl from Bundle & Me on their advice for any new Mumma who is about to embark on their breastfeeding journey.
Breastfeeding takes practice
Breastfeeding is a learned skill and needs practice. While there is no limit to how long it should take to master the skill of getting your baby to latch, Deyana & Cheryl say give it up to 6 weeks to get the hand of things. The more skin to skin time you have the more breastmilk can be produced. This is a demand and supply principle. The more your baby takes, the more you produce.
If you believe you are having issues with milk production, you can express, which will help build up your supply as well as relieve engorged breasts, especially in the first 5 days postpartum. This becomes handy when you have some difficulties with attachment also. The expressing whether by hand or a pump, it can soften the area around the nipple, so it becomes less painful for you when your baby latches.
Finding the right position for you is ultra important.
Choosing a breastfeeding position that works best for you makes breastfeeding that much more comfortable. Experiment with a few until you find your perfect match.
- Laid-back breastfeeding. Lie back with your head, shoulders and neck supported. Place baby’s whole front on your whole front and let gravity do the work. Place baby’s cheek on your bare breast.
- Cradle hold. Breastfeed baby while you’re cradling her in your lap with baby’s head resting in your elbow bend. Use pillows to elevate baby’s head to nipple level and cup your breast with the opposite hand.
- Crossover hold. Hold baby’s head with the opposite hand from the breast that’s currently nursing. Your wrist should be behind baby’s shoulder blades, your thumb behind one ear, your fingers behind the other ear. Use your other hand to cup your breast.
- Football hold. This position works really well if you’ve had a C-section. Use the hand on the side of the breast that’s nursing to lift baby’s head to nipple level, with her head facing toward you. Again, you can use pillows to help elevate baby.
- Side-lying position. This is a helpful position in the middle of the night (just make sure there's no loose bedding or pillows nearby). Mom and baby face each other, both lying on their sides. Use the hand that you’re not lying on to cup your breast.
Get the support you need
If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last. Seek the support you need to deal with issues as they arise on your breastfeeding journey. Contact a Lactation consultants who is available at the hospital or privately.
You can also contact The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) who run a Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls so you will be in good hands if you need some urgent advice.
Preparation is key
Preparing to breastfeed before your baby is born will help you through those first few weeks postnatal. Pack a few breastfeeding essentials into your hospital bag, and in preparation for when you and baby come home.
We found the following really useful.
- Nursing bras
- Breast pads
- Muslin cloths for spills, leaks and discretion if needed
- Nipple cream
- Plenty of water because fluids are essential
- Lactation cookies
- Breastfeeding support pillow
- A top or nightwear that you can easily pull up or down for feeding
- Breast pump
Finally, limit your visitors in the first few days if you can. If you overdo it in the early days you will be left exhausted and that can effect your milk supply. If you do have visitors, we recommend preparing them for their visit. This includes keeping it a short visit, making you both a cuppa, and keeping the vibe relaxed.
Thank you for reading the Something for Mumma blog! Do have a topic you’d like us to address or a story you'd like to share? Email us, we’d love to hear from you! And if you’re looking for beautiful, self-care essentials for your breastfeeding journey head to our collection today