View Full Version : Helpful Breastfeeding Tips
I thought it might be nice for people to write down things that would have been useful to know about breast feeding - the good and bad stuff - so Mum's to be and new Mum's could be better informed.
For eg, I found using an Avent manual expressing machine very useful - it helped increase my milk supply, and reassured me that I was producing enough milk. I started using about week 3 to avoid nipple confusion. It was great because I could express enough of a morning when I had lots of milk, so that my husband could give bub an extra feed of an evening, when I was tired and had less milk. This way bub got the extra milk she needed, and I could catch up on some sleep.
It is possible to get mastitis from baby lying on your chest and blocking your ducts - this happened to me - the only way she'd settle was by being propped up and she fell asleep on top of me - I wasn't game to move her, so I let her stay there for over an hour. I haven't had mastitis since, so it isn't necessarily caused by bad attachment.
Early on I got a yeast infection in my nipples - it was excruciatingly painful the first minute or so of each feed. Yeast infections aren't uncommon if you were put on antibiotics after the birth, I saw a GP, and was ordered some daktarin gel. Also putting some hindmilk on the nipples is good, as is getting a couple of minutes of direct sunlight on the nipples.
I found breast feeding very painful at first - but it does get better - it took a few weeks, but now it doesn't hurt at all, and I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to do it - I love seeing my daughter smile at me while she's feeding - it's too cute!
The best pieces of advice that were given to me were:
* Breastfeeding can be painful initially, so its important to try and relax.
Take deep breaths and think of calming thoughts. Stressing out can affect your milk supply.
* Drink plenty of water - it helps increase your milk supply. Avoid things with caffine like coffee, tea and chocolate. (yeah right!!)
* Empty both breasts when feeding. I tried to do it both ways. (One side only + both sides at one feed).
I found that Brianna fed every 3-4 hours through the day. This meant that if I was only offering one breast at the feed the other breast would have to wait 6-8 hrs to be emptied (from the last feed). When I did it this way I had lumps and it was extreemly painful. I switched to giving both breasts at one feed and it was a huge difference. I havent had lumps or sore nipples since!
* Dont be afraid to hold your baby in different positions when feeding to find which one works best for you.
If you have a quick and heavy milk flow and are drowning your baby in it (like I was initially!), recline to feed your bubba, as it reduces the speed which the milk comes out!
* If you do get sore or cracked nipples the best thing for it is Pawpaw ointment. You can get it at any chemist.
The wonderful thing about it is its all natural. It has a pleasant smell and is harmless to your baby. No need to wipe off or soak in before feeding your bub. (it has many other uses - but this is a great one!)
If you are blessed enough to be able to breast feed your baby... enjoy it! Its a wonderful time that you share with just you and your baby. And like BJelly said its wonderful when they smile or laugh at you when they're feeding! It makes it all worthwhile.
These things worked well for us... every mothers experience is different though! :D
If You Feel Engorged And Bubby Cant Latch On Express A Bit Until You Feel Comfortable Then Try Bub Again.for Sore Nipples My Clinic Sister Said To Rub Breastmilk Into Them And Let Them Air Out To Dry B4 Putting Your Boulder Holder Back On.breastmilk Can Also Be Used For Stuffy Noses And Sticky Eyes.
Oh I forgot about that one! Breastmilk on the nipples works really well! Rubbing a bit of breastmilk onto a little cut (from their fingernails if they've scratched themselves) heals it up quickly too. It sounds silly but it works!
My experience was that it was not easy to begin with AT ALL- it was hard, painful, ongoing. To get through this hurdle I rubbed breast milk in to my nipples and pretty much left my top off all day- I just called myself earthmother for 4 weeks. I found I couldnt contend with holding clothes out of the way and nude was best.
Persist persist persist- it gets better, easier and a little less frequent.
I would have found it beneficial to know that for some it is a hard thing to establish- I thought they just latched on and off you go. It is something you learn as a team :)
My best tip for breastfeeding is to read Sue Cox's "Breastfeeding With Confidence". I got it out of my local library, and only just read it (my baby is now 6 months old). It has so much useful information in it and is written with such authority and an obvious love of babies, I wish I had read it much sooner.
Another good book with excellent tips is "Learning to Breastfeed". I borrowed this from my ABA group, and it contains a whole lot of real-life BF stories, which in themselves are incredibly useful.
Another tip is to realise that in the early days you need to just accept that your life will be based around feeds, and that it is not just the length of time you need to spend at each feed, but the frequency of feeds you need to give your baby. Make sure you have a comfortable chair, this is so important. I had a lot of back pain and could only feed comfortably lying down until I bought a cushy rocking chair recently.
Also, if you are having problems, don't hesitate to contact a lactation consultant. I did this when my baby was 3 weeks old, and it saved our breastfeeding relationship. I figure the $80 I spent to see her was worth every penny and still cheaper than the cost of using formula for a year! :p
Ask ask ask! As someone else said, breastfeeding is something you need to learn with your bub as a team, and sometimes it can be really hard. And sometimes, just when you think "ah, thats it! We've got it!" everything changes and you find another problem to overcome.
So my tip would be to not be scared or shy or embarrassed to seek help. From forums like here, from books, from the ABA, from lactation consultants. Nobody is ever going to call you names or think badly of you for not being able to intuitively know how to do it! And quite frankly, if they do or at all make you feel inadequate then say to h*ll with them and move on to another person for help and keep asking until you get the answers and advice you need.
Just a few things I wanted to add or reinforce.....
1. Breastmilk is very POWERFUL! If you get thrush in the nipple or if bub has a blocked nose then squirt some breast milk up there or rub breastmilk around the nipple !
2. DON'T panic in the early weeks if bub unattaches and there are several fountains of milk spraying all over the place!! This happened to me all the time and is quite normal while your milk is establishing itself.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice either through bubhub or through your CHN, doctor or ABA rep. No question is silly or stupid as I am sure that we have all thought or asked one of your queries before.
4. There is nothing wrong with giving bub a bottle of expressed breast milk to have a break (really so your partner knows what it is like to have to get up all house of the night!!) :D
But, on the other hand, breastfeeding is not for everyone and if you do feel like this then don't feel like a failure for turning to formula. Not everyone feels rewarded or satisfied to breastfeed. You do what you feel is right for you and your baby because if you are happy, then your baby will be happy!
My bub is now 12 weeks and when i was really struggling in those first few weeks i just wish i had believed people who had told me that it would improve with time. At nine weeks it just was so much better!! I found that by offering my bub a feed whenever he seemed interested (demand feeding ) I have no probs with supply and he feeds much faster as we have both learnt the art. I wish I had demand fed from day 1 but I was too impatient and thought I would just spend the next 12 months breastfeeding 24/7! But after a few weeks it was sooo much better. Lactation consultants are worth every cent. I came so close to giving up but I was lucky to have some supportive people around. It feels great to have come out the other side of it and I'm confident I will now be able to bf my baby son for as long as I want. :D
I have a flat nipple which Spencer had lots of trouble latching onto when he was a newborn. All the midwives at the hospital assured me that I could use a nipple shield once my milk came in. I have to say I was very doubtful. I couldn't believe that a baby would want to suck on a nipple shield. But they were right. Once my milk came in, I used a nipple shield on the flat nipple and Spencer took to it straight away. He is now 5 months and no longers needs it.
I agree with everyone who has said, 'It gets better'!! I think you have to go into breastfeeding just knowing and believing you can do it, and having a conviction to keep going. This helps you overcome many a tough day!
My 'best advice' would be, not to underestimate skin-to-skin contact from birth for helping with many things - supply, attachment, better rest and getting to know one another! Don't fall for the, 'I'll take the baby while you get some rest,' thing. Keep baby with you from the start.
Also, I think it is important to know that though one of the main reasons for women giving up breastfeeding is thinking that they don't have enough milk, this is actually really RARE!
And yes, Lactation Consultants can be worth much, much more than the fee paid!
My best advice would be to surround yourself with people who support you in your breastfeeding. My biggest support was my husband, he made sure I drank water as I fed (I got thirsty as I had the let down reflex), he made sure I was comfy and gave me time to breastfeed. He never rushed me or Harry and enquired ahead of time of going out what we were going to do about feeds and made sure that we were never rushed. He also got up with me during the night time feeds and just having him up with me was wonderful.
My midwives in hospital were fantastic, they also supported my decision to breastfeed and worked really hard with me and Harry in the early days establishing attachment and position. It worked wonders.
Also you can never ask enough questions to the right people ie your support network or people who you trust their opinion. The ABA counsellors are wonderful and they are always there if you need them.
Good luck and it truly is a precious thing to be able to breastfeed your bubba.
Everyone has posted such good advice. My first piece of advice is that it is not meant to hurt - if it is hurting, stop, take the baby off and start again. If it is hurting, then baby is not attached properly and you are doing yourself an injury which will make it really painful next time.
And ask for help. Don't buy that line that women have been doing it for thousands of years and didn't need help - that is a load of rubbish. Women in generations before us grew up with breastfeeding happening all around them and saw it every day - most of us don't see it every month before we have babies. So ask. A good lactation consultant is worth her weight in gold and will save your sanity. Not all midwives in hospitals (unfortunately) are supportive of breast feeding, so if you aren't feeling supported ask for an LC straight away and keep asking until one comes to see you.
When you get home, if you have any doubts, ring the ABA helpline or find an LC who can help you.
Most babies do not need comp feeding if the BF is working properly, and all babies whinge in the evening - it doesn't always mean that your supply is down or less or anything like that.
One piece of advice my LC gave me with DD2 was that you can improve the quality of your milk through diet (quantity only being affected by the baby feeding). She recommended a diet high in animal protein - she was recommending savoury mince for breakfast, chicken for lunch and more meat for dinner. I increased my meat intake and certainly found Chloe was happier on the days that my protein intake was higher.
My final piece of advice is to use a pillow to support baby while feeding - I didn't with DD1 for the first three months and nearly killed my arms and back. With DD2 I have used a zoopillow (www.zoopillow.com) and cannot recommend it highly enough!
If breastfeeding works for you it is a wonderful thing - if it doesn't it can completely undermine your confidence in your parenting ability - so ASK FOR HELP!!!!! :D
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