Today I thought I’d share a few breastfeeding tips – these are just basic things I did which made my life as a breastfeeding Mum easier. It is not medical advice and is not intended to be. You will see though that my first top tip is to seek professional support after birth (and at any time into your breastfeeding journey when things don’t feel right) and I can't emphasize this point enough. So, here's some things that helped me on my journeys:
1. Seek Professional Support as soon as possible after birth – This is my absolute top tip. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking professional breastfeeding support, face to face if possible. Even if it’s not your first breastfeeding journey and/or you’re not experiencing problems, I think it’s always worth having someone check baby’s latch and ensure there are no undetected issues such as tongue/lip tie.
With my second baby I just latched him on, told the midwife I was fine and was so happy that this breastfeeding journey started perfectly (first time round it took 5 days to get baby to latch). However, the day after we got home I was in absolute agony as it turned out his latch wasn’t quite right and he had a tongue tie. Both of these were diagnosed by the breastfeeding professional who visited us. The result of not asking to have the latch checked at the outset meant it took a few weeks before I healed properly. Therefore, don’t wait until you’re in pain before you seek assistance.
2. Feed where YOU feel comfortable – With my first baby I always went into another room to feed when people were around, even in my own house! I did this as I was worried about people feeling uncomfortable with me feeding but it meant I missed out on time with people who had come to see me and the baby.
Second time round, I decided to stay exactly where I was to feed. I did cover up though because that’s what made me feel comfortable, particularly around male friends/family. It meant I was able to carry on spending time with the people who came to see us and I didn’t miss out.
Personally, when I would first visit the houses of others I would ask as if it’s ok to feed where we were as I felt it was respectful to do so. I’ve never had anyone ask me to go elsewhere though.
In public, I again always fed where I felt most comfortable. Some days that would be in a coffee shop/restaurant, sometimes it would be in a dedicated feeding room. I just went with what felt right for me. I used to cover up but, again, that was just because it’s what made me feel comfortable.
3. Keep yourself hydrated – we all know the importance of not allowing our bodies to get dehydrated and it’s just as important while breastfeeding. I found I was much more thirsty when breastfeeding so needed to increase my water intake. I listened to by body and always kept a bottle of water nearby.
4. Regularly use nipple cream – I used this after every feed to keep stop my nipples from getting sore. There are many varieties available but the one I used was Lansinoh Lanolin.
5. Use Avent Breast Shells to aid healing of sore or cracked nipples – I wish I knew about these first time round. The shells stop anything from touching your nipples and have ventilated shells. They really helped with my healing process. They can also be used to collect excess breast milk by using the shell without the air holes. A word of warning though, if you have a strong let down and use the shells with the holes you need to check them regularly otherwise you may find breastmilk leaking out when you bend over! To combat that I used to cut a breastpad in two and stick one in the bottom of each breast shell to soak up the milk.
6. Keep a feeding “care” bag nearby – I had a lovely little bag containing breast pads, lanolin, oat bars/banana and a little card with breastfeeding support numbers on it.
7. Have plenty of grab and go snacks – Breastfeeding expends a lot of energy and you may find yourself really hungry. On my first breastfeeding journey I had the sudden onset of extreme hunger at any time day or night. It would come out of nowhere and would make me feel faint – I quickly learnt to ensure I always had a banana, oat bar or similar within arms reach.
8. Invest in a feeding pillow – in the early days this helped me no end as it supported the baby and kept us both in a comfortable position. It made the world of difference.
9. Invest in a Nursing Chair – If you have the budget (and the space), I highly recommend investing in a new or used nursing chair. I didn’t get one until my second baby was about 8 months old and OMG do I regret not getting one sooner! They are so comfortable, not just for feeding but also for cuddles with baby, and into toddler hood (although when kept next to the cot they do start using it as an easy way to climb out of their cot!).
10. Keep hold of breastfeeding support details – Relating back to my first tip of seeking professional support after birth, I recommend keeping details to hand throughout your whole breastfeeding journey as you never know when problems may occur. I also found it helpful to join breastfeeding support groups on Facebook.
Have you got any tips that you’d like to share that helped make your breastfeeding journey easier?
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