I'm a midwife too (did you know that) & I feel so very fortunate that I get to provide care for women at a poignant moment of their life - not many people often get to be a part of that sacred space!
I want to share 10 of my breastfeeding tips with you but before I do I want to say this...sure, breast is better but a full baby & a happy māmā will always be BEST. I will always talk from this position!
- Babies breastfeed a lot.Babies breastfeed 8-12 times in 24 hours. The time difference between feeds is taken from the start of one feed to the start of the next one. It’s normal, don’t fret. In fact, embrace it. Frequent feeding means your baby is helping to establish, build & maintain your milk supply
- Do you know about “birth sleep”? In the first 24-48 hours babies can sleep for 6 or so hours, this is ok as a once-off during that time but from day 2 & over the next few weeks it’s important to breastfeed 2-4hourly
- A good latch is everything. The majority of breastfeeding problems are attributed to poor latches. Sometimes just the slightest change in position is all that is required, other times more assistance is needed.Don’t wait to seek help
- Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. If you can’t relax after you’ve counted to 10 you need to break the latch & start again. You break the latch by inserting your pinky into the corner of your baby's mouth. Don't pull your baby off - this can cause nipple trauma.
- Breastfeed your baby on demand. Baby’s naturally feed every 2 to 4 hours. Breastfeeding is inherent & its purposeful. Scheduled breastfeeding has been associated with slow weight gain & early weaning because scheduled feeding can contribute to a decrease in milk production. We don’t want that. Take their lead.
- Be patient & get to know each other. It takes time to get to know each other & learn the breastfeeding dance. I think the first 2 weeks is the hardest but with time & help you will find the rhythm.
- Crying is a late feeding cue & it’s very difficult to latch a crying baby. You’ll get to learn your baby’s feeding cues, he or she will let you know they are getting hungry before they get distressed usually by stirring & rooting.
- Cluster feeding can happen at any time, but it typically occurs late afternoon & goes late into the evening. Your baby isn’t trying to annoy you, he or she is rapidly growing & working hard on building your milk supply & her capacity for taking in milk
- You are not alone. Just remember while you are up in the middle of the night feeding so are millions of mothers all across the globe. Many women have walked this path before you & survived. Tomorrow’s a new day. You will be ok. And when it’s really turned to custard – walk to the letterbox (alone), sit & breath for a few minutes.
- Breastfeed loud & proud, anywhere & anytime but these things do make it easier;
- Breastfeeding clothing is worth the investment, it allows for fuss free access to the breast. I regret not having useful maternity & breastfeeding clothing. Comfort always wins. And with comfort comes confidence.
- Practice at home before you brave a busy space. Don’t feel pressured to cover up, I was shamed only once for breastfeeding in public & a small piece of me still regrets not standing up for us. You’re right, they’re wrong.
- Don’t worry about anybody or anything else – feeding your baby is the only important thing in that moment
Remember, you're doing better than you thing! And, if you'd like to know more about feeding your baby or the fourth trimester I have created an online workshop designed to help you find your footing as you transition from woman to mother - you can learn more about it HERE
Images used with consent from Anna Brook & Anna Barlow - thank you for sharing these with us