Saturday, 21 June 2014

Guest Post: My Top Tips for Breastfeeding #KBBF2014

Another fantastic guest post from Chloe, following her 'Why I Chose to Breastfeed' yesterday.  I love her advice for all stages of the breastfeeding journey, some great ideas for expecting and new mamas.

Antenatal

1. Buy The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LLL

I truly believe every pregnant woman should buy a copy of this book. La Leche League is a charity which was set up about 50 years ago in America and is now an international organisation. Whilst equipping you with all the facts & basic knowledge of breastfeeding it's very easy to read & includes stories & testaments from real mothers. It is a wonderful book to help guide you through your breast feeding journey & will be well worth the investment. You don't necessarily need to read it cover to cover before having baby but at least the basics & early days chapters as well as tech support (problems you many encounter & how to deal with them)

2. Check out local support groups

Make sure you find out about local breastfeeding support groups before your baby is born because even though you may not experience any real difficulties, they are a great place to meet other breast feeding mothers & support & encourage one another.

3. Have confidence in your body & it's ability to breastfeed.

It's important to have faith in your body & nature & it's ability to nurture your baby; women are meant to breastfeed & more than 98% of women worldwide are able to. That's right, only 2% of women cannot breastfeed. Whilst it is common place in our society to hear women say they couldn't or can't breastfeed, the vast majority of these women will have been led to believe that through poor support/advice or complete lack of it. Breastfeeding can be tough to start with but it's so worth it once you overcome the issues.

Early Days
Not really sure exactly what time is defined as the early days but I always think of it as the first 6-8 weeks (once breastfeeding is usually established) This may be more or less for some women. So in the early days my tips are...

1. Relax

Once your baby has been born
remember that breastfeeding is a new skill that both you & your baby have to learn so relax as much as possible & be patient. Some babies feed instantly, some don't want to & others get the hang of it right away whilst others take a while but go with the flow & follow yours & your baby's instincts.

2. Have a babymoon

This means that you take time to just be with your baby, possibly partner & other children if you have any. Keep visitors to very minimal, if at all any in first couple days as this will give you the opportunity to have lots of skin to skin contact with your baby on your chest. This optimises breastfeeding & helps all the positive, bonding hormones to flow. This is something fathers can do as well to optimise bonding.

3. Seek help/support if needed

If you have any worries or are finding it difficult to breastfeed then try referring back to your LLL book to see if it can help with what you're experiencing but you may well need to ask for support from a breastfeeding specialist. If you are still in hospital when you experience any issues then ask to see a member of staff who has had full breast feeding training as soon as possible because they will be trained in most accurate, up to date breastfeeding issues & policies. If you are at home when you start experiencing issues either ask your midwife when she visits or after discharge call a breastfeeding helpline or go to a drop in if you're able to.

4. Take care of yourself

Do minimal house hold chores etc for at least a few days (or more if you had a difficult/traumatic birth or c section) & don't be afraid to ask family & friends to help out at this time, with shopping, washing etc so you can bond with your baby. Breastfeeding burns calories so make sure that you eat & drink well, don't be shy of a few extra calories as long as you're eating plenty of fresh foods as well. Before you sit down for a feed it's good to make sure you have some water & a snack to hand as you never know how long a feed may last.

Beyond the early days
(once breastfeeding is established)

1. Support is still important

Although the hardest part may well be over, it is possible to encounter breastfeeding issues anywhere along your journey so keep a good support network around you & remember to keep reading & referring to your LLL book. Continue going to breastfeeding drop ins as well.

2. Be proud

For every day that passes with which you feed your baby you're giving them all the incredible benefits of breastfeeding which will last them a lifetime, so whether or not those first few weeks/months were easy or hard work, you did it, you got through them & well done. Be proud of yourself, you are doing an incredible thing & don't let anyone else say any different!

Relevant links:

www.lalecheleague.org
www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk

This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, which you can read more about here.


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Read more KBBF 2014 posts here:

http://www.mixedbagofallsorts.co.uk
http://www.amylorimer.com
http://mummyisagadgetgeek.co.uk
http://mummieswaiting.blogspot.co.uk
http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.co.uk


19 comments :

  1. Lynsey Buchanan21 June 2014 at 16:18

    Just relax, baby can sense if your calm or not

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  2. Find a good support group even before baby is born to find out about bf.

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  3. my top tip would be to find out what groups and breastfeeding support is in your area before baby is born so you know where to go to for support or just to meet other breastfeeding mothers

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  4. Ask for help when needed and be persistent x

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  5. My top tips are to get clued up beforehand, arm yourself with information and know where to go for help.

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  6. Try not to doubt yourself. It does get easier. Never quit on a bad day x

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  7. Stay calm if at first you struggle (easier said that done!!), if you are stressed , the baby senses it and makes it even harder for them to latch on.

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  8. relax, and remember it is ok to struggle

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  9. My top tip would be: be confident, smile at anyone having a nosey and find somewhere comfy to sit as you may be there a while!

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  10. My top tip would be: be confident, smile at anyone having a nosey and find somewhere comfy to sit as you may be there a while!

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  11. Get prepared before the baby is born, e.g. find lactation consultant's details, a sling etc.

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  12. dont be afraid to ask for help and advice (this is where i went wrong last time and gave up)

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  13. be confident and don't be afraid to ask for help x

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  14. get comfy and persevere.

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  15. Relax, some feeds will take a very long time, be prepared for that, theres no rush

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  16. Sarah Strickland27 June 2014 at 18:33

    Make sure you have support in place for those difficult times.

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  17. these are great tips, I'm lucky to still be breast feeding my little girl who'll be 9 months old tomorrow.

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