Everybody’s breastfeeding journey is different. For some it feels very natural and is relatively easy to master, for others it is a difficult slow process.
Breastfeeding is an amazing gift that not only benefits baby’s growth and development but also benefits mum too.
Persevering is essential to ensure success and its long-term benefit.
How can I help ensure my breastfeeding journey is a successful one?
It is never too early to research. Take time when pregnant to read, talk to other women who are currently feeding, observe and take classes. The knowledge you will gain will give you a starting point and an understanding of the process. It will help to establish realistic expectations of what it takes to be successful.
2. Start immediately
Shortly after baby is born it is recommended to place baby on your chest -skin-to-skin. His natural instinct will be to find milk.
For the first few days your breasts will produce Colostrum. Colostrum is a powerful thick mixture that is full of nutrients and immune building goodies that helps to keep your baby strong. Colostrum will give your baby the best start and will satisfy his small stomach to start.
Your milk will come in approximately 2 days after giving birth. This is when you will experience engorgement and baby will begin to feed more often.
3. Get supported
Wearing a good supportive nursing bra is essential to your wellbeing. Not only will the bra support your much heavier/larger bust, but it will also provide you with comfort and function too.
When buying a nursing bra, opt for a good quality seamless nursing bra for the first 8 weeks post birth. A seamless bra is the perfect transition bra and will stretch and grow with your changing body without restriction, as it will hold multiple cup sizes in each bra size.
Once your body has learnt to regulate its milk supply, opt for a good supportive cupped sized bra. This will provide you with greater levels of support and a more preferred shape.
TIP: We recommend that a professional bra fitter fit you. She will be able to advise the correct bra for you and fit you accurately, to help avoid any premature sagging or ligament damage from occurring.
4. Keep dry
Nursing pads will become your new best friend early on. Once your milk comes in your breasts will initially produce an over supply of milk resulting in some leakage.
Depending on how much you leak will depend on the type of nursing pad you use i.e. Medium protection or high absorbency.
Washable nursing pads are preferred as they are usually made from natural fabrics such as cotton, hemp and or bamboo. The natural fibers will keep your skin cool allowing your nipples to breathe. They will also help avoid infections such as thrush that can develop in hot, moist conditions.
TIP: Always carry dry nursing pads in a sealable waterproof pouch in your bag. This way you can remove and store your used nursing pads when out and about, ensuring you always stay dry.
5. Pump it
Invest or hire a good portable breast pump. This will be useful initially to help control engorgement and relieve sore achy breasts.
Breast pumps are also a wonderful tool for women later on in their breastfeeding journey too. They allow mums to pump milk and keep a supply of their nutritious breast milk for when breastfeeding is not possible.
TIP: Breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen in the freezer for up to 12 months.
6. Go with the flow
Feeding on demand is generally recommended. Avoid looking at the clock and feed baby when he wants it.
TIP: Be prepared to feed often early on as his stomach is small and breast milk is easily digested. So he will feel hungry often.
7. Get comfortable
Make breastfeeding time an enjoyable experience. Set yourself up in a cozy spot in the house. Surround yourself with pillows, a bottle of water and healthy snacks to nibble on. You might even use the time to catch up on your favorite T V show or movie.
Enjoy bonding with your new baby and avoid rushing the experience. You will look back on these times with fond memories.
8. Try different positions
There are many different breastfeeding positions. What works for one woman might not necessary work for another? Don’t be afraid to experiment and find a position that works for both you and baby.
9. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. There is no shame in experiencing difficulties and there are always resources available should you need them.
Contact your local breastfeeding support center, midwife or hospital for advice. They will point you in the right direction for assistance.
Check out these local resources in Australia: Tresillian and Breastfeeding Association
Getting plenty of sleep is not always easy when you have a newborn child who is waking through the night to be fed.
No one expects you to be super mum. The washing, cooking and any other house hold jobs can wait. Sleep when your baby sleeps to help ensure you too get enough rest to help get through your day.
TIP: Getting enough sleep will help to avoid feelings of sadness, loneliness & exhaustion.
11. Look after yourself
Keep regular health care check ups for both you and your baby.
Listen to your body and learn to identify feelings of normality and feelings of unwell. Should you need medical attention arrange for a baby sitter or for someone to come and assist you for a few hours. Never neglect yourself, as small problems can become big ones in a hurry.
12. Give yourself a break
While breastfeeding can take time to master it is a relatively simple process. It just might take some time to figure out what works best for you.
Keep the lines of communication open and always ask for help should you need it.
Support ensures success and a long enjoyable breastfeeding journey.
Like many women out there, Tracey Montford is an exceptional multi-tasker! Apart from steering a global business, managing 2 young boys & keeping the clan clean and fed, Tracey still finds time to provide creative inspiration and direction to the exceptional designs of Cake Maternity. From the branding, presentation and delivery, creativity is a big part of what Tracey does so naturally and effectively. Find out more at https://au.cakematernity.com or catch up with her on social @cakematernity