Saturday, 21 June 2014
Guest Post: My Top Tips for Breastfeeding #KBBF2014
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.
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...
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!
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: