Tips for Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has a lot more to it than shoving your nipple into your baby’s mouth and hoping for the best…it’s a bit more complicated than that, and requires a fair amount of effort! I’m Zoe, a registered nurse/midwife and I’m here to provide you with five tips for breastfeeding success!
First and foremost, I want to preface; breastfeeding is great, beautiful and wonderful for you and baby, but it should not cost your mental health and wellbeing, as well as your physical health. These tips are of a general nature to help you make the best out of your journey to nourishing your child.
1. Do not be afraid to utilise the help and advice of professionals.
Midwives are trained in breastfeeding, use their knowledge while you can to understand the feeding technique and all it entails. If getting midwifery advice is difficult, reach out for the assistance of a Lactation Consultant. These are health professionals that have specialised training in breastfeeding and can help you with troubleshooting any problems you may encounter.
2. Give yourself time.
Breastfeeding is a skill, it’s okay if you don’t pick it up straight away! Be kind to yourself, and remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and give yourself time to learn. It won’t make you any less of a mother if you can’t manage to breastfeed your child, if anything, it takes huge guts to say “this isn’t working”, or “this isn’t for me” if you feel like you need to.
3. Be kind to your nipples.
Your nips are in the firing line when it comes to breastfeeding. Whoever said breastfeeding doesn’t hurt is lying…big time. Your nipples are a sensitive area and when you have a hungry baby sucking the life out of them, you can imagine they’ll be sore. Invest in a good nipple cream, my recommendation is the cream from Lansinoh and lather it on between feeds. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to take a brief break from breastfeeding and switch to expressing for 24-48 hours if the pain becomes too much. I would only recommend doing this in consultation with a midwife or lactation consultant first to ensure your supply doesn’t suffer.
4. Back to basics with skin/skin contact
If you’re having trouble getting your baby to latch to the breast, try going back to basics with a bit of skin/skin contact. Don’t underestimate the power of skin/skin! It can work wonders at calming your baby, releasing HUGE amounts of oxytocin, and can go a long way if you are finding it difficult to latch baby. Develop a routine before you feed to wake baby up and let them know that it’s time to eat. This can be as simple as changing their nappy before a feed and initiating skin/skin.
5. Breastfeed in comfort…ALWAYS.
Relax your shoulders, get into a nice position that you can maintain for at least half an hour, grab some water, snacks, your phone or the TV remote and get comfy. Breastfeeding should be something that is relaxed and as enjoyable as possible, this ensures your happiness and longevity of feeding!
For more bloody good tips, please head over to @midwifeinmypocket on Instagram! I’m Zoe, the registered nurse/midwife behind the page, and I’d love for you to join the community and become empowered through education!