I wrote a post a while ago about getting started with breastfeeding and I’m revisiting that today . . .
Here’s my Top Tips for keeping going!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – in the early days you need to ask for professional support to make sure your latch and positioning is right to ensure baby feeds efficiently and you don’t end up with sore nipples and lumpy boobs (I can promise you that’s even less fun than in sounds!) Breastfeeding can be really time consuming so you might need to ask for help and support at home just to get things done (I can’t tell you how lucky I am on that front that Dave is amazing when it comes to doing all the cooking and helping out with the washing and cleaning).
Drink plenty – there is no doubt about it, breastfeeding is thirsty work. Make sure you keep a drink to hand, I have a huge bottle of water next to my bed to gulp down during the night feeds. I find my skin very quickly shows the effects of my not drinking enough when I’m feeding a baby.
Be prepared for leaks – Make sure you’re stocked up on breast pads. Some people never need them – I, on the other hand still can’t risk not wearing them even now that my baby girl is over 7 months old. I still have mornings where a warm shower or a crying fit from Amy can have me spraying milk all over the shop! Glamorous I know.
Be prepared for cracked and sore nipples – I often compare breastfeeding to wearing in new shoes – your nipples aren’t used to this. It only takes one feed with a dodgy latch and you’re going to know about it. I can’t recommend Lansinoh enough. This isn’t just restricted to feeding a newborn – you might find a few months in that baby gets a bit lazy with their latch and you can get quite sore while you rectify this. Again Lansinoh is your friend.
Don’t be afraid to try different positions / holds till you find on that suits you both –finding the right feeding position is trial and error and changes over time. I’m currently in the process of trying to find a new position in which to feed my little girl as she’s getting heavier and can be quite tricky to feed in public (she’s SO nosey!)
Keep those muslins handy – Great for catching spills under your boob, mopping up sick and covering nosey faces! (Think horse blinkers)
Invest in low level lighting for night feeds – It might just be me but I really can’t feed in the dark! I need to be able to see what I’m doing. Low level lighting is really important for helping baby to realise it’s still night time and to make sure you don’t wake yourself up too much!
Use a scarf to cover up if you want to – but don’t feel you have to. Confidence is key. The more you faff about trying to cover yourself up the more I think you end up drawing attention to yourself (though that could just be me being really clumsy!) I firmly believe that people would rather see a bit of boob than listen to a hungry baby crying! (And actually do you care what other people think when your baby has needs to be met?)
Make sure your bra fits well and that your clothes make everything as accessible as possible – Shopping for clothes to breastfeed in can be really tricky! I have a number of nursing tops / dresses which provide specific easy access for feeding but just as many ‘normal’ tops which pull up or down. You will find a style which suits you.
Make the most of it – Yes breastfeeding your baby is demanding, draining and exhausting at times (especially when, like mine, they are still waking every few hours through the night at 7 months old) but this time will not last. Before you know it this special time with your baby will be gone. Relish it. Enjoy the precious moments that breastfeeding brings.