Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be the stressful experience you might imagine. Here are ten top tips to encourage and help new mums breastfeed successfully, from Maggie Howell, founder of Natal HypnotherapyTM, birthing expert and breastfeeder of 4 children.
1. Pick up on and respond to your baby’s cues to feed. Ignore the clock!
2. Accept that your baby’s need to breastfeed may not always be connected to being hungry – it may be for comfort, because they are tired or they simply want to have a snuggle.
3. Feed regularly during the night. Successful feeding is based on a healthy supply and demand cycle. If your baby does not feed for many hours your body does not get all the signals it needs to get ready for the next feed and so production decreases.
4. DO NOT expect your baby to be guzzling milk in the first few days. Babies do not need anything other than a tiny amount of colostrum (first
milk) so do not need “topping” up.
5. Give yourself time to get to know your baby and to trust your baby’s needs.
6. Babies have growth spurts – sometimes they need more feeding than other times – that is OK and normal.
7. Trust! Trust your baby – no baby was ever born with a pre-planned desire to upset or annoy. They simply feel what they feel and alert you in the only way they know how. Trust your body – milk production has nothing to do with the size of your breasts but is all to do with the cycle of suckling and milk production. If your baby suckles often and frequently, you will make the right amount of milk.
8. Look after yourself – drink loads of water and eat really well. It is one of the few times in your life that you can eat loads (of the right stuff!) and know that it is all good for your baby.
9. Enjoy this time – it is for such a short time. Even if you are tired and worn out, think of every feed as a blessing and one to be cherished and enjoyed.
10. Get help and support. Accept any offers from others to help with the daily cooking and chores! If you are having any difficulties or simply want to talk, contact your local breastfeeding advisors from La Leche League or the NCT