Now I am no expert when it comes to Breastfeeding. I am just a regular Mama that has been breastfeeding her son for 2 years now and have learnt quite a few tips and tricks along the way. I have had a pretty wild Breastfeeding journey that maybe I can chat about sometime, so I have definitely picked up on a lot of do’s and don’ts and also some things I wish I had of done or had of known about before my son was born.
So here I am passing my experience onto you as I definitely wish that as a new mum I had of read something like this from a fellow mum. So go grab a cup of tea, of your favourite Hot chocolate, relax and have a read. X
Pre-Baby Breastfeeding Prep – The things I Wish I had of done!
Organise a consult BEFORE baby is born. Consider meeting with a lactation consultant or another nursing expert BEFORE you have your baby. They can share tips that will help in the beginning, and you will hopefully be more prepared and know what to do if you are struggling once baby is born. There is nothing worse then being 3 days postpartum, at home at 2am and you are struggling to feed your bub and you have no idea what to do! Have a game plan. You can generally ask your midwife to set up a free one with the hospitals Lactation consult before bub is born. I would highly recommend you telling your midwife in the lead up to birth that you also request to have a lactation consultant come and see you whilst you are still in the hospital with bub in the first day or 2 after you have given birth. This is something I really wish I had of been able to do!
See the real thing. If you have a friend who's Breastfeeding, ask if you can watch or ask her plenty of questions. If not, there is plenty of facebook groups you can join to ask questions.
Have your partner be there for your lactation consultation. If possible, your partner should be there when you meet with the lactation consultant, both in the hospital and afterward. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and sleep-deprived that it will be hard for you to process information, so they can be there to remind you of what was said if you forget.
Create a space for breastfeeding. Before Baby arrives, create a "nursing station"— an area with a comfortable chair, a breastfeeding pillow, and a side table/nappy caddy to hold snacks, water, nursing pads, burp cloths, your phone, or a good book. Nothing worse than being mid feed and realise you need your water or a burping cloth from the other room!
General Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks
Latching. The best advice I received when it came to latching was to make sure that your baby's stomach is touching yours, so they don't have to turn their head to latch. Point your nipple at their nose, NOT at their mouth, so they'll lift their head up, open their mouth wide, and latch on deeply. If bub doesn’t latch correctly, de-latch by placing you little finger in the side of their mouth to break the latch very gently and then reposition.
Avoid over pumping. If you do need to pump in those first few days/weeks, try and hand express or use a breast milk catcher as the first option or if you do need to use an electric pump in those first couple of weeks try to only use it for a couple of minutes on each side. Over expressing especially in those first few days/weeks can lead to an oversupply. This happened to me as I accidently was pumping for 15 mins each side and it caused me to have a massive over supply! Engorged breasts and blocked ducts is not a fun time!
Try lying on your side. It lets you rest your shoulders and lower back, and it's good for moms who've had a C-section, or who are just exhausted. Put a pillow between your knees and your arm under your head and bring the baby in facing you. Have someone help you at first. (I wish I had of gave this a go, would have made feeding while recovering from a c section easier!)
Try Laid-Back Breastfeeding. Something I have only just discovered and my goodness it is so comfortable! I actually prop a pillow under my arm, and it works a treat! To try it, lean back or recline slightly, and then bring your baby skin-to-skin and face-down on your chest. Use your hands to gently guide your baby's mouth to your nipple, then let gravity and their instincts take over. (Be careful to NEVER fall asleep! I would personally NOT recommend doing this if you are very tired.)
Drink WATER. We hear it every day, drink more water! But when you are breastfeeding, water is what helps boost your milk supply. You are also burning roughly 500 calories a day whilst nursing, so you need to keep up with your water intake. Seems obvious right? I had NO idea water helped with milk supply at first.
Heal damaged nipples. One of the best ways to heal damaged nipples is to pop some of your breastmilk on them and then air them out especially outside in the sun. Too much moisture inside the bra can make it worse. But your nipples won't heal unless you first solve any underlying latch problems so make sure you see a Lactation Consultant for any concerns.