There are many myths and misconceptions regarding breastfeeding and things that can jeopardise your journey before it has even begun. Here are my tips for a good breastfeeding journey:
- Timing – do not time your baby’s feeds unless advised to do so by a medical professional. A baby will feed for as long as they need to, as often as they need. This is normal.
- Skin to Skin – skin to skin is amazing for your breastfeeding journey. It helps with the release of oxytocin, the love hormone; and this, in turn, helps with your milk supply. So get your cuddle on.
- Feed, Feed, Feed – it may feel like all you are doing is sitting and feeding, but as with timing; this is normal. Baby will feed lots to establish your milk supply. They are in effect, putting in their order for milk. Let it happen and go with the flow.
- Follow your baby – I don’t mean, follow them around but follow their lead. Allow them to feed as they need to. Cuddle as they request. Offer the breast even when you just want to sit and have a rest. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby; they will unlatch when they have had enough. Let this happen.
- Diet – this is for all mums; eat and drink as much as you need to. It is recommended that you need an extra 300-500 calories whilst breastfeeding. You may find that you are thirsty as soon as you start feeding; keep a bottle of water nearby and in reach. Your appetite may also increase. This is your body’s way of saying that it needs more and needs nutrients. Your baby is prioritised; you will suffer if you don’t eat or drink enough.
- Relax – Stress can have a negative impact on milk supply. Cortisol inhibits other hormones, that help produce milk; so try to relax as much as possible. Forget the housework, forget entertaining guests; just concentrate on your baby. They are only little for such a short time in their lives. Enjoy these newborn cuddles and feeds. Rally friends and family to help with housework and preparing meals. Utilise them!
- Support – this is a huge part of succeeding with breastfeeding. I’d recommend looking for local breastfeeding groups, breastfeeding peer supporters and if there is a local La Leche League group whilst pregnant. Being prepared is key and if you have any struggles then you’ll know where to turn. Social media is a fantastic resource for help too. Chances are that someone has encountered and overcome any problems that you may have. Get friends and family on board with your choice to breastfeed also. Having people close to you being on the same page is great! LLL group finder is the place to find you local La Leche League. Kelly Mom is a great resource for breastfeeding information and if you have to take any medication whilst feeding, you can check if they’re safe at The Breastfeeding Network.
Do you have anymore to add? What is the one thing you would tell someone that is new to breastfeeding?