This week marks World Breastfeeding Week.
When I was a brand new mum, I remember feeling so grateful for all the brilliant breastfeeding tips I got from the health nurse at my local health station – as well as from all my friends who had done this whole newborn thing before me.
Being a new mum is overwhelming enough, and trying to get a hang of breastfeeding can be tough – especially if you don’t have close friends, your own mum or professionals to rely on for some personal insight and breastfeeding tips.
August 1st to 7th marks World Breastfeeding Week, with the theme this year being “let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!”
A pregnant mum took to Mumsnet to ask for some preemptive strategies to help her get breastfeeding going – and how to keep it up.
“I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant and hoping to exclusively breastfeed my little one and she’ll be our first baby,” the mum posted.
“I’m sure this is normal but I feel like I have absolutely no idea what to expect/how I’m going to cope! I’ve been reading a lot online and watched some videos on YouTube which there seems to be a lot of focus on the ‘latch’ & ensuring it’s right.”
And the internet being the internet, the expectant mum was not left in the dark for long, and was soon inundated with helpful breastfeeding tips from other mums.
Here are some of their best tips:
21 real mum breastfeeding tips
1. “In terms of getting latch right, one midwife said to make sure you’re bringing their nose to your nipple rather than mouth to get it in the right place – it seemed to help!”
2. “I used nipple shields & they were a godsend.”
3. “If you’re feeding non-stop for three days and nights and not getting ANY sleep it’s not because you ‘can’t breastfeed’. It’s normal. Once your milk comes in it will calm right down.”
4. “Check if there are baby feeding groups in your area for advice and support from other new mums – I only went twice but found it so useful and reassuring.”
5. “Feed on demand. If in doubt, offer feeding. It’s not just milk. It’s the greatest comfort you can offer. She’s been inside you for all of the time she knows. The outside world is bright and scary. Your breast is a tiny piece of home for her.”
6. “I found it really useful to pay for a lactation consultant to come and do a home visit on day 3 when I was really struggling with the constant feeding and was in a bit of pain and wanted to give up. So I’d say seek the best help you can find/afford as early as possible.”
7. “If you are keen to bottle feed as well, introduce the bottle once they’ve established breastfeeding, don’t leave it too late like I did.”
8. “The best way to stimulate milk production is to breastfeed. It’s a supply and demand system.”
9. “[Know that] it does create an unequal split of responsibility between you and your partner and at times, that can be hard.”
10. “If the latch is still hurting after the first few moments then don’t persist with a bad latch as you risk damaging your nipples. Break the latch with your little finger and try again until it’s comfortable.”
11. “Your milk changes composition during the day and it contains sleepy hormones at night etc. So it’s not recommended to feed milk pumped in the morning at night.”
12. “Don’t express too early. I didn’t even attempt any bottle feeds until 6 weeks with expressed milk. Your supply needs time to establish.”
13. “When your baby is feeding constantly, don’t doubt yourself and feel like it’s because you’re not making enough milk, it’s totally normal.”
14. “Make sure you have food, a drink and the remote/your phone/a book before you sit down ready to feed – you will be there a while.”
15. “Google ‘cluster feeding’!”
16. “Starting from 4 weeks, [my baby] became very fussy and would often cry & scream instead of feeding, despite being obviously hungry. The trick was to soothe her to sleep and offer her boob the second she woke up from a nap. Always worked well and still using this method at 13 weeks!”
17. “Cold cabbage leaves helped for when my breasts became engorged when my milk came in.”
18. “Feeding lying down is a lifesaver when you’re knackered. When you first get home, spend a day in bed just feeding the wee one and resting.”
19. “Once your milk has come in, go and see a breastfeeding support worker/midwife/lactation consultant and CHECK YOUR LATCH. Even if you think it is all going well, have somebody else have a look.”
20. “Keep hydrated!”
21. “Apply pure lanolin to your nipples every day for up to a month before the baby is born. I never had a problem with cracked nipples, nor has anyone else I know who’s done this.”