Congratulations on becoming a new Mom. Motherhood is such an exciting and rewarding journey. Never before will you have felt so much love in your heart as when you look at your child. Breastfeeding is such an important part of the motherhood journey, so we have prepared our list of 7 top tips for you.
It is important to remember that breastfeeding is a skill that takes practice to perfect. Your baby does not automatically know how to breastfeed when she is born. It is a skill you will both have to learn together. She will need to learn how to latch and how to suckle. You will need to learn the most comfortable way to hold her as she feeds, and how to position your breast for the best latch.
Do not beat yourself up if it takes a while to get into a rhythm. You are both learning. If you are struggling to get the process right, then seek help from your midwife or a lactation consultant.
You will be surprised by how thirsty you are when start feeding. But it makes sense. Your baby is literally sucking the fluid from your body. Make sure you keep your fluid intake up by drinking plenty of water. Be mindful that a small amount of whatever you drink gets passed onto your baby. Ensure you drink water in the first instance, and only small amounts of sugary drinks. It is not recommended to drink any alcohol when breastfeeding as this can negatively affect your baby’s development.
Feeding on demand is an excellent way to keep your milk supply as it should be. After a week or so, you will fall into a routine with your baby. Your supply will reflect that routine and you will produce the amount of milk that your baby needs. Feeding regularly will stop your breasts becoming swollen and overfilled with milk.
Look for your baby’s cues to know when she is hungry. She will turn her head towards your chest (or the chest of whoever might be holding her; tell Dad to be very careful if he holds her without a shirt on!), work her lips, or put her hand in her mouth.
If you have some trouble with your supply, then there are certain foods that can help increase your milk. Oats, spinach and salmon are three great options. You can also make breastfeeding cookies enriched with ingredients like oats, brewer’s yeast, coconut oil and flaxseed.
You will probably find that your baby prefers to feed on one side more than the other. But it is important to feed her on both sides.
This will ensure that the supply in each breast is even and your baby will get all the milk that she needs. It will also help prevent the risk of mastitis for you.
To help you remember which side you last fed on, you can either wear a plastic bracelet on the corresponding arm, or pin a safety pin to your bra to indicate each side.
Technology is a wonderful thing, there is an app for everything these days. There are even some fantastic apps for tracking your breastfeeding. You can record each time you feed your baby, the length of time she fed for, if she fell asleep on the breast, what side you fed her from, and so much more.
Using an app to track these things can be great for looking back on your baby’s feeding patterns. It can help you see the times of day she feeds, how long each feed takes and any unusual periods of feeding. This can help you plan your day better and remember important information. It’s also helpful if your baby gets sick and you need to provide information to your doctor. It’s just right there in the app, ready to access.
Feeding your baby is nothing to be ashamed about. Do not feel like you need to hide away when you are feeding your baby. By all means, feed in a different room, or in a discrete way if you feel more comfortable doing this. But, there is nothing more natural than feeding your baby. If you are confident to feed in public, then you right ahead and do it!
Feeding time is a wonderful time to bond with your baby. Enjoy the closeness and the snuggles. Relax and take advantage of the little spots of quiet in your day.
If you would like to introduce a bottle as part of your feeding routine, then make sure that your breastfeeding routine is well established first. This means that your routine will not be interrupted by using a bottle. Using expressed milk in a bottle, can be an excellent opportunity for Dad to have some bonding time with your baby. It can provide flexibility for other family members or caregivers to take on some feeding duties also.
Be aware that your baby might reject the plastic teat of a bottle to begin with, it is a completely different texture to your skin after all. You might need to test a few different ones until you have success.
So there you go, 7 top tips to help you on your breastfeeding journey. Please feel free to add your top tips in the comments below.