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Painful, tiring, and time-consuming. These are the most common complaints that mums have about breastfeeding. While breastfeeding beats all other sources of nutrition for babies, it’s also one of the hardest to provide.
If you’re a new mum struggling to get the hang of it, here are some breastfeeding tips to make it an easier experience for you and your baby.
1) Ask For Help
Ask any new mum and they will tell you that latching is one of the hardest things to do. It is an instinct for newborns, but many babies still struggle to figure it out.
When your baby is unable to latch, they may not be able to suckle properly. Thus, it becomes difficult to consume enough milk in one feeding.
Ask a lactation specialist or nurse to assist you in learning how to get your newborn to latch. They will provide you the right strategies and positioning to ease the process.
2) Prepare For Size Changes
At first, your breast milk supply will be just enough to fill your baby’s stomach. After a few weeks of consistent feeding, you will experience size changes in your breasts.
This can be very uncomfortable for a while. Your breasts will be tender and there will be discomfort around your chest area. Feeding may also become very painful as your breasts become engorged with milk.
Prepare for size changes by having comfortable nursing bras and trying out different nursing positions to reduce discomfort.
3) Designate A Breastfeeding Area
Your baby will start developing feeding habits as soon as they are born.They recognise routines and this is something that all mothers should aim to leverage. By providing your baby with a familiar and structured environment, you can prompt them to do certain activities like feeding without having to provide too much direction.
For example, have a specific area for breastfeeding so that your baby will know when it’s time to feed. Moreover, this will make the entire experience more comfortable for you. You can breastfeed much longer without worrying about back pain through breastfeeding chairs and pillows.
4) Refrain From Using Bottles And Pacifiers At First
Your baby will be able to distinguish your nipple from a bottle as early as their first few weeks. So, it would be ideal to avoid using bottles and pacifiers at first. Stick with direct feeding only during your baby’s first two months.
When they get used to bottles and pacifiers, they become more likely to reject your nipple when you offer it for feeding. As a general rule, it’s always best to avoid giving your baby any other feeding instruments to suckle on while they’re still young. This will help them grow accustomed to your nipple, and prevent them from rejecting it in the future.
Be careful of introducing bottles late though. Babies who are exclusively breastfed are known to avoid feeding on bottles. Take note of this if you have a busy schedule. This proves to be a major challenge for mums who can’t be with their babies at all times.
The best time to introduce bottles to your baby would be at around two and a half to three months of age, which is usually the duration of a typical maternity leave.
5) Watch What You Eat
Whatever a mum puts into her system, it becomes what she puts out. The milk you produce will depend greatly on the food you eat. Keep a close eye on what you put into your system.
There are many foods that negatively affects your breast milk and cause problems to your baby. To avoid fussiness, rashes, sleeplessness, and other unwanted difficulties, refrain from eating green leafy vegetables, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and spicy food. Read more: The Food You Need to Eat While Breastfeeding.
It’s also important that you stay hydrated at all times so your body has enough fluids to convert into breast milk. This will keep your supply at a constant high for consistent and trouble-free feeding.
6) Make It Comfortable For Your Baby
Some babies avoid breastfeeding because it’s uncomfortable. Some common reasons include improperly positioning the baby, smothering the baby with the breast, and feeding in a poorly ventilated area.
When you breastfeed, take your baby’s comfort as priority. The ideal position is having your belly against your baby’s belly, which reduces the amount of stress on his or her tiny body.
It’s also important that you keep your baby’s head slightly lifted at an angle to make swallowing breast milk easy. Let their head rest gently on a pillow and use your arms to support their back.
Because body heat can be easily exchanged between you and your little one, avoid breastfeeding in an area that provides little ventilation. As much as possible, select a cool, breezy environment or a room with air conditioning.
7) Get A Massage
When you leave your breasts for long periods of time without stimulation, milk can accumulate in the ducts and cause minor clogging. This can impede further milk production until your baby latches for feeding.
Massaging the breasts will help move away any accumulated milk sediments and will encourage your breasts to produce more milk.
If you’ve gone for an hour without breast stimulation from pumping or direct feeding, take a few minutes to massage your breasts. Work gently with moderate pressure, manipulating the breast tissues in a circular motion to encourage production.
8) Pump As Much As Possible
Some mums don’t pump if there’s enough supply in their freezer. However, reducing your pumping practice can be dangerous for your milk production.
Your breasts are encouraged to produce more when you milk more often. If your system detects that milk isn’t being used, it can tell your breasts to reduce the milk production. It then becomes a challenge to express enough milk to store and offer your child. So, always pump whenever you can even if you have a stock of breast milk.
You can store newer milk and discard older bottles of milk if you don’t have enough space. You can also find online marketplaces that purchases breast milk. This helps you profit off of your surplus and prevent them from going to waste.
While some might think that breastfeeding is easy and trouble-free, it can actually be a major challenge. Aside from ensuring the comfort of both you and your baby, you also have to consider the quality and amount of milk you produce.
In A Nutshell…
No doubt, most mothers struggle with the first few months of breastfeeding especially if they’re new to motherhood. But there are things you can do to ease the process and make the experience more fulfilling not only for you, but also for your baby.
Don’t worry about the struggle – breastfeeding is all worth it, especially if it means being able to give your baby the best nutrition. Keep these 8 breastfeeding tips in mind the next time you sit down for a feeding session and establish a loving, nurturing, and caring relationship between you and your baby minus the stress.