1. What’s the first thing you should focus on when trying to breast feed in those first few days and weeks?
Breastfeeding is a great way to feed your new addition. Not only is it the most nutritious for bub it also has a huge range of health benefits for Mum. From helping to lose that pregnancy weight to reducing your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer as well as Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease, the pros are all there for opting to give breast feeding a try from the very beginning.
One way you can start your technique off on the right foot is by immediately allowing access for your baby. Giving the opportunity to feed as soon as possible after delivery, be that natural or c-section, is super important.
Try and feed as often as you can during those first few days, getting lots of skin to skin contact. This will encourage your milk to come in and allow lots of emotional bonding with your new child.
In the early days and weeks remember to be easy on yourself. You’ve just created and delivered a human being! You’re phenomenal! So don’t be disheartened if one, two or a bunch of feeds don’t really get you anywhere, just try, try again.
Usually, in the first 3-5 days, your milk will come in, for a cesarian birth don’t be worried if it takes a little bit longer, it is coming. But the more frequently you breast feed on colostrum (which is there from pregnancy and super important for baby), the quicker your milk supply will come in.
Demand feed your baby. Cluster feeding in the afternoon is also absolutely normal, and no real routine is necessary in the first few months. Instead watch for signs of hunger with fidgeting, mouthing (opening of the mouth) or then even crying. If your baby was born prematurely or you have one that loves a good sleep (lucky you!) try to feed them 8 times a day, or every 3 hours.
2. What are some simple tips to making sure your latch is right?
The first and most important tip to ensuring a good latch (and no sore nipples!) is ‘Chest to Chest’. Ensure you and your baby have great skin contact and position your baby with it’s chin touching your breast.
Get the baby to open their mouth as widely as possible, their mouth should be around the areola, not just the nipple.
Remember, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, so if it is or if you hear a clicking sound during feeding, the attachment might not be right, just gently remove them and reattach.
3. What are the pros of expressing both breasts at the same time?
For women heading back into the workforce, expressing or pumping can be a great way to keep their child on breast milk for longer. Double pumping, or expressing both breasts at the same time, either during a pumping session, or by pumping the other breast during a regular feed can also be another great way to increase milk production and also speed up feeds.
On average, 18% more milk is expressed when both breasts are pumped, so if you’re looking to pump between feeds (30-60 minutes after or at least 1 hour before) a double pump like Philips Avent Double Breast Pump can be a great tool to keep your bub on breastmilk for longer.
4. How can you make breastfeeding easier on Mum?
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Lactation specialists and midwifes are there to help whether it’s checking your latch in the first few days at hospital or for a quick call to check on baby’s feeding routine in those early weeks, never feel you can’t ask for advice or help.
Also remember to look after yourself (the laundry can wait!). Be sure to rest and sleep as much as possible, drink lots of water and eat well. Try not to skip meals whilst breastfeeding to maintain your energy.
Don’t forget that some babies know exactly what to do, and other’s don’t. Every baby is different so don’t ever assume it’s you and don’t let one bad breast feeding experience put you off trying again if you have more children in the future.
August 1 – 7 is World Breastfeeding Week, for more information and guidance, plenty of great information can be found at their website.