As a new mum, you can lose count of the times people tell you that breastfeeding is natural.
“But it’s not natural enough that you don’t have to learn how to do it,” says breastfeeding expert, Pinky McKay.
“You can’t prepare your breasts, but you can learn about how everything works before you have the crying, hungry baby in your arms and everything feels scary.”
When a woman is pregnant, it can be difficult to think beyond the birth of her baby. But as Pinky told Feed Play Love, there are some key areas you can start to understand before bub arrives.
“You will need to know how to tell when your baby is hungry. And also, if your baby is getting enough milk and how to boost your milk supply if you’re anxious about it.”
- Breastmilk healed my stretch marks
- Mum’s extraordinary point on breastfeeding we never thought about
- 5 things to make breastfeeding easier
Get to know your breasts
The start of breastfeeding is also the start of getting comfortable with having our breasts out in public.
Pinky says it’s important to get to know the shape and size of your breasts, but also your nipples.
“The shape and size won’t affect your ability to breastfeed but it can be good to learn to understand how they work. Before the baby starts crying and your hormones kick in, and it can feel like there is so much to learn,” says Pinky.
Listen to Feed Play Love:
What is proper attachment?
Attachment refers to your baby’s ability to suck on your nipples, which in turn affects how much milk your baby can drink.
“During your first breastfeeding session your breasts will feel sore as you get used to it, but it shouldn’t be desperately painful,” says Pinky.
“Your baby’s jaw should resemble the k shape on the Special K box, and they should take the whole nipple and areola into their mouth. And when they do come off the nipple, your nipple shouldn’t be squashed.”
Above all, listen to your body and if you’re in pain after your first few weeks of breastfeeding, Pinky advises going to see a lactation consultant.
View this post on Instagram
This magic potion made by mums is like medicine. It helps protect your baby against nasty bugs from coughs and colds to tummy bugs: breast milk is like a daily vaccination against every bug your baby comes in contact with: it is a living fluid containing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials and cell wall protectors and proteins that offer protection against bacteria and viruses. If you catch a bug, specialised white blood cells will appear in your breast milk to protect your baby. Conversely, if your baby becomes sick, the transfer of germs from baby to your breast will trigger the production of specific antibodies. These antibodies will be deposited into your milk to boost your baby’s immunity and help her fight off illness. And, it’s not just the milk your baby drinks that can boost her health and make her feel better – mothers the world over have used breast-milk as a cure-all for minor aches and pains: with a few squirts, you can soothe rashes and itchy bites, relieve sunburn, unblock snotty noses and fix conjunctivitis. Some health practitioners even advise treating ear infections with a few squirts of breast milk every hour or two. . . . #PinkyMckay #breastfed #breastfeeding #breastfeedingclothes #breastfeedingmum #breastfeedingwithoutfear #milkdrunk #normalizebreastfeeding #beautifulbreastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #mummasmilk #boobiemilk #mummy #mums #mum #babyboy #babygirl #newborn #instababy #newbaby #firsttimemum #motheranddaughter #motherandson #motherslove
How to make sure your baby is drinking enough milk
Not being able to “tell” how much milk your baby is drinking can feel like a challenge until you understand what to look for.
Pinky says the best indication your baby is getting enough milk is what comes out the other end.
“You need five wet disposable nappies or six wet cloth nappies. You also need to check for one poo every day, at least the size of a 50 cent coin,” says Pinky.
If you are still feeling anxious about how things are going, Pinky recommends doing the following:
“Pour 100ml of water into a cup and then onto a spare nappy. This gives you an idea of how wet and heavy the nappy will be if your baby has drunk at least 100ml of milk. This will put your mind at ease in a very simple way,” says Pinky.
Can I avoid mastitis?
“People get frightened of mastitis,” says Pinky. “Being overtired and trying to do it all, plus not emptying the breast well are some common causes.”
Pinky says massaging lumps and bumps from your breasts is a good place to start and make sure you get enough rest, especially in the first few weeks.
“There’s lots of pressure on mums to be out and about, but the best thing you can do is stay home, find a comfortable spot and focus on learning to breastfeed and rest.”
Do I need breastfeeding props?
Pinky says that aside from a good nursing bra and some nursing pads, you don’t really need much else.
“Nipple cream is handy, but you can express the breastmilk and rub that into your nipples as it has all the good stuff in it,” says Pinky.
“Breastfeeding pillows are handy but you can also use a bed pillow or sofa cushion, and great chair that you feel comfortable in is always a plus.”