Whether you’re pregnancy and hoping to do some pre-baby prep or a new mum trying to remember all the steps – here’s what you need to know about breastfeeding.
1. Get in the right position
Before starting your baby’s feed, make sure you’re comfortable. Then get your baby in position. Position him so his nose is opposite your nipple and check his head and body are in a straight line so that he can swallow easily. Make sure you also support his neck, shoulders and back.
2. The latch on
Once your baby’s ready to feed, help him latch on by bringing him to your breast quickly and smoothly, aiming his bottom lip as far away from the base of your nipple as possible. His head should be tipped back slightly, so that he is leading with his chin. Once his lips touch your breast he should respond by dropping his lower jaw and drawing your nipple to the roof of his mouth.
3. If it’s painful…
If you experience pain while breastfeeding it could be for a number of reasons. You may have thrush, letdown reflux, mastitis or engorgement. Check here for the symptoms of each and how to treat them.
4. Treating sore nipples
Sore nipples aren’t ideal, but unfortunately it’s quite common after breastfeeding. But there are lots of ways to get a bit of relief. And there are plenty of ways to avoid them getting sore in the first place.
5. Expressing milk
Whether you’re not comfortable breastfeeding your baby in public, your partner wants a chance to feed your baby or you need to relieve a bit of pressure in your breasts, you’ll probably need to express your breastmilk occasionally. One big secret? Expressing after your baby’s first feed of the day can be the best time to do it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s simple to do. Plus, there are loads of great pumps.
6. Support available
Yes, breastfeeding is natural but it’s a skill that can take time to adjust to. Give it time and make sure you get all of the support you need – there’s plenty available . Look for support from your partner, family and friends or go online, speak to your health visitor or call a helpline.
7. Voice your concerns
If you’re struggling to breastfeed, there could be a very good reason it isn’t working. Your baby may have been born with tongue-tie, a condition that can make feeding difficult for your baby or if your breasts are sore and you’re feeling unwell then mastitis could be the issue. Whatever the issue, don’t stay quiet and worry that it’s something you’ve done. Talk to your midwife or health visitor about your concerns.
8. Going public
Breastfeeding on-the-go can be a bit daunting for some mums but there are plenty of ways that you can help ease your anxiety and make the process easier, one step at a time. There are clever slings and cover ups you can use as well as planning where you’ll stop and feed your baby before you head out.
9. Dress for success
Whether you want something discreet to wear when feeding in the local café or round your gran’s, there are plenty of outfits that will make discretion your middle name. Having a top or bra that gives easy access, as it were, also saves a lot of faffing and means you can feed your baby quickly.
How are you finding breastfeeding so far? Let us know in the comments box below.