I thought I was super prepared for breastfeeding before I had my first baby, but boy was I wrong! One of the best pieces of advice I can offer mums-to-be, is to be prepared for the unexpected, with breastfeeding and parenting in general! Here are some brilliant tips to make your start to breastfeeding as smooth as possible.
Get help while you’re still pregnant
Lactation consultant: While we’re told that breastfeeding is natural, very rarely does it come naturally for mum or bub. It really is something that needs to be learned, and the best place to start is with a lactation consultant. Most hospitals run breastfeeding classes for pregnant women, where you’ll learn things including different holding techniques (like the football hold, which was my saviour). If your partner can attend with you, even better. My husband was a huge support while I was trying to establish breastfeeding, and helped me try techniques I’d forgotten because I was getting frustrated.
At the time it may seem a bit overwhelming, and perhaps a little unnecessary – I can remember ‘breastfeeding’ a doll thinking how silly the whole thing was! But something may just click for you when you’re trying to feed your squirmy newborn, and you’ll thank your lucky stars you went along.
Friends and family: If you happen to have friends or family members who are breastfeeding, watch them. Watch how their baby latches, and how they hold their bub. If you don’t have access to anyone to watch, a quick YouTube search will bring up some great videos that will serve the same purpose.
Your body: Take the time to make sure you’re looking after your body during pregnancy, including your breasts and nipples. Wear maternity bras and lather your nipples with appropriate creams that can help prepare them for the rigours of breastfeeding.
Your breastfeeding essentials: Make sure you have your ‘breastfeeding kit’ prepped before the big day, as you’ll want to take it with you to the hospital. Here are some products to include:
- A breastfeeding pillow
- Nipple cream containing lanolin
- A great quality breast pump (I sent my husband out to buy one while I was still in hospital on the advice of my midwife, and it was the best idea. She was able to help me get used to using my own breast pump, rather than relying on the one at the hospital).
- Breastfeeding singlets and tops
- Muslin cloths for clean ups
Take care of yourself
The first feed: Once your beautiful baby is in your arms, the real work starts. If your birth was relatively complication-free, your midwife will try and get you to breastfeed your newborn pretty much straight away. And this is where a lot of the damage can be done, because since you’re still on a high you’re unlikely to notice if your bub is latched properly.
Take the time to ensure these first few feeds are done properly, so that your baby is helping your milk to come in, and your nipples aren’t being damaged. Call on the hospital’s lactation consultant to come and watch you feed, to ensure the baby’s latch is correct and you get used to how it should feel.
Your body: Keep lathering your nipples in an appropriate cream in between feeds, and use soft, absorbent breast pads and good quality maternity bras. Eat well, and drink plenty of water and try and get as much rest as you can. It all seems like elementary advice, but it’s easy to put your baby’s needs before everything else and let your own health play second fiddle.
One of the best pieces of advice I can pass on to mums-to-be, is to rely on the guidance of those who have gone before you. That may be your own mum, friends or experts in the field.
The Phillips Avent Comfort Single Electric Breast Pump has been developed in conjunction with lactation consultants and is their most comfortable model yet. It’s simple to use (which is ultra important when you already have so much going on as a new mum) – just adjust the speed and suction so that you’re comfortable. There’s no need to lean forward to make sure your milk is heading into the bottle, it’s a really innovative design that works with your body. Take care of yourself, and your baby by being prepared for breastfeeding – and remember to enjoy every moment!
(This is a sponsored post for Philips Avent)