Breastfeeding may be a natural and wonderful thing, but that doesn't mean it’s easy for every women. It can be a tricky thing to get the hang of, and that goes for Mum and baby. While breastfeeding is a different experience for every mother and baby pair, and what works for one woman may not work for the next, we’ve put together a few tips to help you understand the basics.
Sometimes this can be hard but slowing down can make feeding easier. A quiet spot and a comfortable chair with back support go a long way here. If you have a toddler as well, it’s a good idea to bring out a distraction like a new toy or an old favourite to give you the chance to properly relax.
How often should I feed?
If your baby is gaining weight, has six or more wet nappies a day and is content, you know they’re getting enough to eat. Newborns feed frequently, but as they gain weight they will begin to feed less often. That means that although you’ll seem to be feeding endlessly to start off with, eventually your baby will feed less often because they will go for longer stretches between feeds..If your baby has a big appetite, it’s important you get regular rest,, drink plenty of water, and eat regular meals and snacks over the day to help keep up your milk supply.
How to latch
Always bring baby to your breast, not your breast to baby. Keep your baby’s tummy to your tummy and if there’s any pain then re-latch your baby or try another position. If you need help, contact your midwife, a lactation consultant or La Leche.
It’s normal for feeding time to vary. Make sure your baby feeds while on the breast, and if they do happen to fall asleep, take them off the breast, wake them up and then re-latch. There are breast feeding apps available which can help you with feeding times and which breast to start on.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t change your baby at night unless you absolutely have to, as it can be hard for them to re-settle. Babies usually feed and go back to bed faster at night than during the day.
What can seem difficult in the beginning will become easier over time, don’t get discouraged. It will all be worth it once things start coming together.
Don’t smoke or drink
Smoking can reduce your supply and affect the taste of breast milk. Second hand smoke can also increase the risk of SIDS. The odd drink may sound tempting, but alcohol will transfer into breast milk. It’s best to avoid for the duration of breastfeeding.
Remember, this article is full of great advice and useful tips, but if you do have any questions or concerns, the best thing to do is to contact your midwife, well child or Plunket nurse, lactation consultant or a breast-feeding support group.