The Milk Pantry – Blog Post
Breastfeeding your baby is a completely natural thing. Does that mean it comes naturally though? Certainly not! A lot of new mothers find the idea of breastfeeding daunting, while others struggle to achieve the right latch or overcoming the initial pain of feeding their baby. There is much to learn in establishing a good breastfeeding relationship with your new bub. They say the first 6 weeks are the hardest, and from personal experience I found this to be so true. In those first few weeks it can be extremely difficult and can feel like a full time job at times. I don’t want you to think that it is all negative, sometimes its blissful, calm and fills you with so much happiness but if you are struggling like I did then here are some tips to help.
Achieving the right attachment
I remember having my first baby and lying in the bed in the hospital in tears because I couldn’t get her to attach properly. I was trying so hard and starting to feel like I was going to fail at feeding her. I sought help from my wonderful midwife who helped guide me through it. Making sure you get as much of your nipple in her mouth and direct your nipples upwards to the soft palate at the roof of her mouth can save painful nipples after a few feeds. If it doesn’t look or feel right, you can always detach and try again by using your pinky finger in the corner of your babies mouth to break the seal on the breast.
If you are struggling to get that attachment going, consult your midwife or a lactation consultant. They are available for help anytime.
In the early days of breastfeeding it can be important to get comfy in the right environment. Create a sanctuary for yourself by finding a comfy corner of your house to set up as a nursing station. A comfy lounge, nursing chair or bed may be the best place. Make sure you have a table in arms reach to keep a bottle of water or a snack as breastfeeding can be hungry work, while dimming the lights will help calm you and your baby. Make sure you are properly supported. You may want a cushion behind your back and a pillow under bub to rest on. Experiment with different holds to find one that works best for you and your baby. You may enjoy lying down to feed or you may take comfort in those close cuddles.
Keeping a healthy diet
Diet is especially important for successful breast feeding. What you eat is also what your baby eats. It is easy to snack on unhealthy options when you’re breastfeeding. Have some healthy snacks on hand while you are feeding like carrot sticks or fruit to keep up your energy. You’ll probably find your appetite increases during your breastfeeding journey as it burns a lot of calories, so fuel your body with healthy food and plenty of water!
Listen to your body and your baby
Look out for signs of mastitis – hot or sore spots on your breasts, fever and flu-like
symptoms are common signs of mastitis. Equally, keep an eye on your baby. Are they content with lots of wet nappies and healthy looking poop? If so, chances are they are responding well to breastfeeding. But things like your diet or reflux can make your baby cranky and create a difficult breastfeeding relationship. If you think there’s a problem consult your midwife, health nurse or doctor for advice.
Never feel like a failure
Breastfeeding can be hard. It doesn’t always feel natural and it doesn’t always work how you think it should. Never feel like a failure if you are struggling. Are you getting cracked or bleeding nipples? There are some great creams available to help ease the pain or talk to an expert for help. Are you struggling emotionally with breastfeeding? Contact PANDA, Breastfeeding Australia or talk to your doctor or health nurse. They are all here to help! …. And remember you are doing a great job! Keep trying and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Happy Feeding x