Breastfeeding: Natural but Hard
Yes, it is said that breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do BUT that does not mean that it is easy. I honestly struggled so much to get my firstborn to latch and feed properly. If it wasn’t for the nurse on call that specific day, I would even go as far as to say that I might have given up on breastfeeding before I actually even started. I made a list of things, that I would say, are crucial to know before you meet you little nunu :)
7 Tips to help kick-off your breastfeeding journey:
1.Try to breastfeed your baby as quickly as possible after birth - within the hour. They call it 'magic hour' as your suckling will therefore start to stimulate your breasts for milk production. Your baby needs the colostrum (the first breast milk), to boost and strengthen her immune system. Also, feeding your baby skin-on-skin allows the two of you to bond and get to know each other better.
2. Relax: If you are relaxed, your baby will be relaxed. Take deep breaths. Talk to you baby, tell her that everything is fine and that she is doing a great job. I know that there are thousands of things to worry about, but I want to encourage you to trust your instincts. And you can always ask your partner to give you a rub, if you feel like it :)
3. Get Comfortable: Like anything you do for the first time, it may feel a bit uncomfortable and strange (in the BEST way). I found that it’s much easier using a pillow when breastfeeding than to hold them in my bare arms, especially when they’re still so small. You don’t have to buy a new breastfeeding pillow - use one from home. Also, (If your baby is latching properly) try laying on your side - this is still my favourite and most relaxing breastfeeding position.
4. Massage your breasts while the baby is feeding: Allow your partner to get involved. Me and my husband used to sing to my firstborn in the hospital while we were struggling through the latches and the feeds. He’d sing to our baby while massaging my breast so that I could focus on holding her and getting her to latch properly.
5. Length of Feeds: Each baby is different. Both my newborns used to feed only 5 mins per feed, while the neighboring baby in hospital fed 30 mins per feed. The amount of time your baby is on your breast does not equal the amount of milk she is consuming. My advice is to listen to your baby and your body - both will tell you when a feed is due. I used to time each feed and write it down.Always feeling anxious and wondering whether my baby is getting enough milk. Please, don’t torture yourself like I did. You have what your baby needs and vice versa.
6. Apply nipple cream in between feeds. Your breasts are not used to being milk dispensers, nor to your new suckling :) In my opinion, the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding is a beautiful combination of pleasure and torture. If you can get through this first stage, there is a very good chance that you’ll keep going for as long as you want.
7. Telament: We really struggled to get my firstborn to latch on my breast and to feed. The nurse suggested that we try to put Telament on my breast. It has a very sweet taste that helped her latch and feed better. Ps: The Telament was one of the first things I put into my hospital bag, the second time round :)
Even though I read a great deal of blogs and watched a few videos about breastfeeding, let me tell you - nothing prepared me enough for the real deal. Like I always say, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help (from a nurse, midwife or lactation specialist) to get the support that you need. It’s worth it!