I’ve written quite a lot of posts about breastfeeding and they have all been very popular. I’ve had some requests from moms to sort of sum up what I have learned about breast feeding. I am not an expert on breastfeeding, so I don’t know all about breastfeeding… but I have successfully breast fed two babies.
With my first baby I struggled a lot and I found the whole experience quite unpleasant and traumatic. I managed to breastfeed her until she was 6 months old. My son I breastfed very successfully, too successfully for my liking… I struggled to wean him! I am sure that if he had his way he would be on the boob until college!
At the end of this post I will link to all the articles I have written on breast feeding and my experiences so far. This post will just summarize the most important tips that I have to share with any new moms.
If you don’t want to read the whole post, you can check out my video:
1. Breastfeeding does not come naturally, arm yourself with information! Have support ready.
I believed I would not be able to breast feed. My mom couldn’t breast feed and neither could my sister, so deep down I believed I would not be successful either. I read lots of books but nothing sunk in which I found strange because I love reading and I read a lot before I gave birth. With everything breast feeding I could remember nothing. Maybe deep down I decided I would not be able to and nothing stuck?
Who knows but when the time came I may as well have read nothing! I think the best is to be in contact with La Leche League or a breast feeding consultant before birth. Chances are you will need some help. Rather have the help right on hand and not need it than need the help and find yourself floundering.
The fact is that you will be exhausted and overwhelmed after birth. Have someone on hand to help you specifically with breast feeding.
Naomi is a La Leche Leader and she wrote an awesome article for my website which shares breast feeding basics, so start with this article.
2. Prepare your nipples!
This is a biggie, I had no idea how important until I had cracked and bleeding nipples. I can promise you that this is incredibly painful and there is a good chance if you get to the state I was in you might not be able to continue breast feeding your baby, it is just too sore!
I was advised while pregnant to suntan topless. I did this a few times until I was 6 months pregnant and then I moved to a new complex and I had no garden so I didn’t bother.
After I gave birth (a long and tiring labour and birth) a nurse asked me if I wanted laser treatment on my nipples and I said no. She told me I would regret it and I did, intensely so! After a week of breast feeding my baby I had cracked and bleeding nipples. I went to the hospital begging for laser treatment and they healed within 24 hours.
With my second baby I asked the nurses to book my laser treatment even before I gave birth. It was the first thing I did when I arrived at the hospital for my c-section. I had no problems with my nipples that time.
So yes I recommend laser treatment! Find out about this before you have your baby. You can even have a session before you give birth and then another one afterwards.
3. Stay Hydrated
This is really important. You need to make milk, you need energy and your baby and your body are going to sap you of energy.
So drink lots of water and also try out Jungle Juice when you have a really low day, like if your baby is going through a growth spurt.
4. Relax, Rest and Trust Yourself
Having a baby is really terrifying, at least it was for me. I was so scared I was doing things wrong and I was almost in a state of panic all the time.
The thought of my boobs keeping my baby alive was just too much for me. I didn’t trust my body to be able to nurture my baby.
Your body needs rest and you need to relax to make milk. Trust yourself in your capabilities as a mother. You might feel like you know nothing but you were made for this.
The difference in everything with my second baby was huge and I think the main reason for this is that I trusted myself as a mom, I trusted my body and I trusted my boobs.
Yes it may sound strange but that’s how it is.
5. Get The Latch Right
This is another biggie. Your whole nipple must go into your baby’s mouth, not just the tip. If you don’t get the latch right you run the risk of getting cracked and sore nipple and baby won’t get milk.
If you struggle with this (and it is HARD to achieve) then get help from a professional until you get this right.
6. Breastfeeding Position
Play around with different breastfeeding positions. There is one main thing to remember and that is tummy to tummy. This means your tummy and babies tummy are facing each other.
Getting a really nice comfy position for you and baby can mean the difference between failure and success. My favorite position is the one shown in the featured image of this article. Both of us lie on our sides, facing each other. It is a lovely position to relax in, we can both rest and be comfortable. I can even sleep while feeding and when baby has had enough to drink he/ she can just fall asleep. This is a lovely position for night time feeds. It is also lovely for bonding and cuddling.
If you find a good position you can really relax more and it will help your body to produce more milk. It also means you can feed for a long time. Baby will want to suck just for comfort too and this also increases your breast milk because your boobs are stimulated which tells your body to make more milk for your baby!
7. Milk Supply
This is really such a simple example of supply and demand. The more milk your baby needs, the more milk you body will make. Your body knows your baby needs more milk when your baby drinks all the milk and still sucks more. Here is a great article I wrote on making more milk.
So don’t top up feeds if your baby is still hungry. Let your baby suck even (especially) when there is no milk. You can also get a breast pump and after your baby has fed you can then express for a while and this will help a lot.
It is also nice to express to keep a stash of breast milk stored in case you need it in case of emergency, for example if you need to take medication for a few days that you can’t take while breast feeding.
8. Ask The Right People for Support
This is really important in my eyes. Everyone and their auntie has an opinion on everything. It seems even more so when you have a baby and you are breast feeding. Suddenly everyone wants to tell you what to do and how to do it.
Find the right people to listen to. I listened to the wrong people and ended up with no milk and my baby choosing formula by 6 months old because I was advised to top up feeds with formula.
Well good luck on this one. If it goes anything like with my son well it is not very easy to do at all.When searching for how to wean my son all I seemed to come across were articles on women that didn’t know how to get their children (yes not babies, 3 year old children) to wean.
I mean it is all very well if you are one of those women that want to breast feed your child until he/ she is 8 years old… but if you have a 1 year old that you want to get off the boob it is not that easy to do.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and learned something from my mistakes! Here are all the posts I have published related to breast feeding. If you have anything you can add to this information please pop it in a comment for my readers.
So here is everything I have published on breast feeding:
- Breastfeeding Basics
- Making More Milk
- Expressing Breast Milk
- Storing Breast Milk
- Breastfeeding Comes Naturally?
- Breastfeeding: Getting It Right
- Incredible Facts About Breastfeeding
- Surprising Uses for Breast Milk
- Best Breast Pumps
- Jungle Juice Recipe
- Lactation Cookies Recipe
- How much milk does my baby need?
- When Babies Attack: The end of breast feeding is near
- How to Wean off the breast?
- The Decision to wean
- Weaning: Smells like Cabbage
- 10 Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding
- Is Herbalife safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding?