Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks

Breastfeeding. That word will have either sent shivers down your spine or filled you with joy. Before beginning my breastfeeding journey I had no idea how difficult and tiring it would be, after all, it was supposed to be this natural thing that my body would do to provide nutrients for my baby - surely that meant it was easy, but having successfully managed to breast feed 4 children I can now say it's incredibly difficult! I am by no means a breastfeeding expert, nor am I trained or certified, but here are some things that I found really helpful on my breastfeeding journey. Enjoy!

1. Ask, Ask and Ask Again.

There is an absolute wealth of information out there but sometimes you have to search for it. Be vocal in the hospital if you feel like your newborn isn't latching properly, or if you have any questions. Ask for the number for the breastfeeding clinic, and a quick search online will help you to find local breastfeeding support groups. If you have any questions or doubts about how much your baby is getting in, whether the latch is correct or if there's something that just doesn't feel right then ASK. People want to help, they really do. 

2. Utilise the entire boob.

The more of the boob the baby gets in their mouth the better the latch. Essentially, if your child is just suckling on the point part of the nipple it's going to quickly get very painful! You can help the baby to get a better latch this way by tickling their chin, running a finger over their mouth and even just hovering your boob infant of them for a moment before encouraging latch - the excitement alone can help in getting them to open up!

3. Get yourself a water bottle and a flask.

As you become more proficient in breast feeding you'll amaze yourself with how and when you're able to do it - but in those first few months it can feel very restricting. One friend of mine had a little carry bag that she would fill with snacks and drinks so that she didn't need to worry about how long it all took, and getting yourself a bottle/flask really helps with takin the awkwardness out of drinking. There were so many times I accidentally spilt my cup because I couldn't work out how to hold the baby and the drink at the same time!

4. Take your time.

Everybody says it, and it's advice that's so hard to follow when baby decides to need a feed just as you need to go out or whilst you're in the middle of something, but try your hardest to give yourself grace with time. People are often so accommodating about it and the less stressed you can be about it the better. Similarly, be gracious if your baby seems to feed little and often too - if something feels wrong then absolutely ask, but every baby is so different. Some want to feed for a solid 30 minutes and others are done between 5-10.

5. Drink enough water.

I am terrible at this, but get a glass in as often as you can. Replenishing your fluids is vital in keeping up your milk supply - therefore keeping your baby hydrated too - so you want to be sipping on the good stuff often. I'm now in a habit of having a glass with me every time I feed, but find what works for you in making sure you get the minimum of 2litres in a day. 

6. Create a breastfeeding friendly diet.

You'll be pleased to know I'm not about to waffle on about all the foods you should cut out, but there are foods you can include that can enhance your bodies ability to create breastmilk. Fruits, vegetables, oats and protein sources are great things to include plenty of in your diet so grab yourself a flapjack and tuck in! I have a great range of recipes here.

7. The vest top trick.

I very rarely buy 'breastfeeding friendly' clothes. I always found it significantly limited the clothes that I was able to wear, and I already had so many tops that I didn't want to have to switch out! I bought a few plain camisole tops and made it a habit to wear one under whatever normal top I was wearing that day. When it came to breastfeeding, I'd lift up my normal top, pull my cami down from the top over my bra and voila! It meant I could wear normal tops and also meant I wasn't flashing parts of my body whenever I breast fed. 

8. Fiddle before you feed.

Hand expressing is the correct term I believe, but really we're talking about massaging the nipple and trying to get milk out before a feed. You can do this during pregnancy and it'll really help with encouraging supply too. Try various squeezing techniques and experiment with the whole boob area too - if anything it will help when you inevitably have an overfull boob too!

9. Give yourself Grace.

Ultimately fed is best, so however you manage to feed your child you are doing a great job, but some have a deep desire to breastfeed and so support needs to be offered, networks need to be found and a whole heap of grace needs to be given! Breast feeding is HARD and if you've decided to go down that route then there may be challenges ahead. Midnight feeds, cluster feeding, blocked ducts, sore boobs, leaky nipples - it's all to come so give yourself GRACE. You are absolutely rocking this mama - even if it doesn't look entirely how you imagined. You've got this. 

Until next time...


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