Breastfeeding is always a contentious stressful issue for new mums. When I gave birth to Millie, I felt so pressured to succeed ay my breastfeeding journey. In the first few weeks I suffered through mastitis, oversupply, undersupply and a huge lack of sleep as my body adjusted. The pain coming from my nipples was next level and looking back it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But also the most rewarding.
As expectant mothers, we are often reminded that breastfeeding is crucial for the health of our newborns. While it's true that breast milk offers a range of benefits, it's important to remember that every mother's journey is unique. If breastfeeding isn't possible for you, there are other options available, and your health and happiness should be the top priority. This guide is designed to support and guide new mothers on their breastfeeding journey, providing tips and reassurance for successful breastfeeding.
Preparing for breastfeeding before the baby arrives is crucial for new mothers. This includes finding out as much information as possible about breastfeeding, speaking to healthcare providers and family members who have experience with breastfeeding, and ensuring you have the necessary equipment such as breast pads and nursing bras.
It is also important for new mothers to understand that breastfeeding may not come naturally to everyone and may require some practice and patience. (Trust me on this one 😆) However, with the right preparation and support, most mothers can breastfeed successfully.
It is also important for new mothers to understand that breastfeeding may not come naturally to everyone and may require some practice and patience.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about breastfeeding, from getting started and overcoming common challenges to maintaining a healthy milk supply and breastfeeding in public. Let's get started!
Starting Your Breastfeeding Journey: Tips and Advice
Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it can take some practice to get the hang of it. Our top tips:
Positioning the baby: Make sure the baby is positioned correctly at the breast. Hold the baby close to your body, facing you, with their head in line with their body. Make sure their mouth is wide open and they take as much of the areola (the dark area around the nipple) into their mouth as possible. This will help prevent sore nipples and ensure the baby gets enough milk. It's important here to make sure babies head is not turned. They need to be laying on their side, with their head directly facing your nipple.
Frequency and duration of feeds: Newborns need to breastfeed frequently, around 8-12 times a day (in those first few weeks you will feel like this is pretty much all you do!). Feeds can last from 10 to 45 minutes, and it's important to let the baby feed for as long as they need. Don't worry if they feed for a shorter time on some occasions.
How to tell if the baby is getting enough milk: Signs that your baby is getting enough milk include a steady weight gain, six to eight wet diapers a day, and regular bowel movements. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your baby's feeding.
Remember, the early weeks of breastfeeding can be challenging, but with practice, it will become easier and more comfortable. Don't hesitate to seek help and support from a lactation consultant or other healthcare professionals if you're struggling.
Overcoming Common Challenges Breastfeeding a Newborn:
Breastfeeding can be a challenge, especially in the first few weeks. Here are some common challenges that new mothers may face, and how to overcome them:
Sore nipples: Sore nipples are a common problem for breastfeeding mothers, especially in the first few days. Expect bleeding, cracking and swelling as you and your baby adjust to this new experience. To alleviate the pain, try changing your baby's position at the breast, ensure they are latching on correctly, and apply a lanolin-based cream or gel to your nipples after each feed. You can also use breast shields if you feel like the pain is too great.
Engorgement and blocked ducts: Engorgement occurs when the breasts become too full of milk, leading to discomfort and difficulty latching. This is something I really struggled with. Its not fun to feel like you are carrying around 2 bowling balls on your chest. To relieve engorgement, apply a warm compress to the breasts, massage gently, and express a little milk before feeds. Blocked ducts occur when milk builds up in the breast, causing a painful lump. To clear a blocked duct, apply a warm compress, massage the area gently, and feed the baby frequently, ensuring they are latching correctly.
Mastitis and other infections: Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue, causing pain, swelling, and redness. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately, as you may need antibiotics. Other infections such as thrush (a fungal infection) can also occur, causing pain and discomfort for both mother and baby. Speak to your healthcare provider if you suspect an infection.
Remember, these challenges are common and can be overcome with the right support and treatment. Don't hesitate to seek help from a healthcare professional if you're struggling.
The more often you feed your baby, the more milk your body will produce. Try to feed your baby on demand, as often as they need it.
Tips for Boosting and Sustaining Your Breast Milk Production:
Maintaining a healthy milk supply is essential for successful breastfeeding. Here are some tips to help you ensure that you're producing enough milk:
Feed frequently: Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The more often you feed your baby, the more milk your body will produce. Try to feed your baby on demand, as often as they need it. Your milk supply adjusts based on the previous days feeding, so even if you feel like your breasts are empty, keep feeding!! Tomorrow your body will produce more milk and grow with your baby and their demands.
Stay hydrated: It's important to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated while breastfeeding. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, and drink to thirst. I always found carrying a water bottle with me while feeding was useful. Sitting for 45mins feeding is the perfect time to drink!
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for maintaining a healthy milk supply. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Get enough rest: Rest and relaxation are important for milk production. Try to get as much rest as possible, and don't hesitate to ask for help with household chores and other tasks.
Avoid pacifiers and bottles: Using a pacifier or bottle too early can interfere with breastfeeding and cause nipple confusion. Wait until breastfeeding is well established before introducing pacifiers or bottles.
Remember, every mother's milk supply is different, and it's normal to experience some fluctuations in milk production. However, if you're concerned about your milk supply, don't hesitate to seek help and advice from a healthcare professional.
Breastfeeding your Infant: Tips for nursing in public
This one is always a little contentious! Getting your breast out in public for the first time can cause huge amounts of anxiety for some women. Its important to remind yourself that it's ok for you to feed your baby, its a legal and natural process and many other women before you have done it successfully! Here are some tips to help you breastfeed in public with confidence:
Dress comfortably: Wear clothing that allows for easy access to your breasts, such as nursing tops or loose-fitting shirts that can be lifted up or unbuttoned easily.
Use a nursing cover: If you prefer more privacy while breastfeeding in public, consider using a nursing cover or blanket to cover your breasts and your baby's head. Our Organic Muslin Swaddles are great for this as they provide coverage but still allow airflow.
Choose a quiet spot: Look for a quiet, comfortable spot where you can sit and breastfeed without distractions or interruptions. Some public places have designated nursing rooms or areas.
Practice at home: Practicing breastfeeding at home can help you feel more confident and comfortable when breastfeeding in public. Try breastfeeding in front of a mirror to see how much of your breast is exposed.
Ignore any negativity: Unfortunately, some people may be uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public. Remember that it's your legal right to breastfeed wherever you and your baby are allowed to be. Try to ignore any negativity or criticism and focus on your baby's needs.
Remember, breastfeeding in public is a normal and natural process. With a little preparation and practice, you can breastfeed in public with confidence and ease.
Breastfeeding a newborn is a deeply personal choice with many benefits and challenges, some new mother’s have issues and for some it works first time.
When to stop breastfeeding: A guide to weaning your baby
Deciding when to wean your baby from breastfeeding is a personal decision that depends on many factors, including your baby's needs and your own preferences. Here are some things to consider when deciding when to wean your baby:
Your baby's age: The Australian Breastfeeding Association recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of complementary foods until at least two years of age.
Your baby's needs: As your baby grows and develops, their nutritional needs change. At around six months, they may start to show an interest in solid foods, but breast milk should still be the main source of nutrition until at least one year of age.
Your own preferences: Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience for both mother and baby, but it's also important to consider your own needs and preferences. If you feel ready to wean your baby, it's okay to do so.
Gradual weaning: Gradual weaning can be less stressful for both mother and baby. Try reducing the number of feeds gradually over a period of several weeks or months.
Remember, there's no right or wrong time to wean your baby. It's important to do what feels right for you and your baby. If you're struggling with the decision to wean, don't hesitate to seek advice and support from a healthcare professional or a breastfeeding support group.
Breastfeeding is a deeply personal choice, and every mother's journey is unique. It can be helpful to seek advice and support from other mothers who have gone through this process before. By combining their experiences with your own instincts, you can find what works best for you and your baby. It's important to trust your body and your mind to guide you through this process. Even though I faced many challenges, I'm glad I stuck with breastfeeding my daughter, Millie. In the end, it was a truly special bonding experience we shared together. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, we support you in your journey as a mother. Please feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions or need guidance and support.