Congratulations on your pregnancy / new baby. Are you planning on breastfeeding? Well that’s awesome! Breastfeeding is really amazing and one of the best gifts you can give your new baby. With these breastfeeding tips I hope to help you make life a little easier for yourself.
I have been breastfeeding since 2008 when my eldest was born, and I am currently still breastfeeding my last baby who was born on 2 November 2018. I breastfed each of my babies until I fell pregnant with their next sibling. I guess I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 11 years, WOW 😊
I need to mention that I will be forever grateful for the antenatal classes we did before our 1st was born, the breastfeeding tips we received sure helped me a lot. It is a sad fact that many of the nursing staff in maternity wards are unfortunately not well informed about breastfeeding. If I had to rely on their help, I probably would have given up in hospital already.
Over the years, I have learnt a few tricks of my own to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable for myself. In today’s post I will be sharing my favourite breastfeeding tips from the past 10 years with you.
1. Nursing Bras
A proper well fitting nursing bra definitely makes a big difference. I generally have small breasts, but during the last part of my pregnancy and early months of breastfeeding, they usually go up at least 2 cup sizes. 10 years ago the selection available was not very big, actually, even 3 years ago when I had my 3rd baby, I still had trouble finding nice looking, comfortable nursing bras. But things seem to be changing for the better. During my most recent pregnancy I discovered Milk Bra . I bought from their S1 range which looks very much like sports bra’s. They come with extender pieces for when your body unavoidably get bigger during pregnancy. These are honestly the most comfortable nursing bra’s I’ve ever owned.
2. Breast pads
With my 1st baby I literally went through boxes of Pigeon nursing pads. I decided to try some reusable breast pads, but the selection available back then wasn’t WOW. The ones I managed to get was stiff little round pads, which honestly wasn’t very absorbent and didn’t fit well. So I abandoned the idea and went back to disposables. With nr2 & 3, I had slightly less leaking and continued using disposable nursing pads. This time round however I didn’t want to go the disposable route again and ended up making my own breast pads. They turned out great and are very absorbent.
Getting a proper and deep latch will be your saving grace. If you can’t get baby to latch properly it WILL hurt. You need to get baby to open their mouth as wide as possible. They need to latch onto your whole nipple and as much as possible of your areola. Keep in mind, that latch can also be influenced by things like a lip or tongue tie. My 3rd baby was probably my most difficult start to breastfeeding, even with a proper latch and all my other tricks, my nipples really hurt for the 1st 14days. I used Lasinoh and breastmilk to help ease the discomfort.
4. Nipple care
Never ever scrub your nipples, this will just make them unnecessarily sensitive. If they hurt from feeding you can use a nipple cream or just rub some breastmilk on them and let them dry before closing your bra. You can also try “sunning” them by sitting in the sun that’s coming in through a window.
5. Feeding on demand
One of the most valuable breastfeeding tips, throw away the clock! In the 1st days & weeks this is the best thing you can do. New babies have incredibly tiny tummies and breastmilk digests quickly. They also don’t just feed because of hunger, but also for comfort, and security. Remember, you were all they knew for 9 whole months and your breastmilk is the closest smell to what is familiar to them.
Also, demand feeding is the best way to regulate your milk supply and make sure you make enough milk for that precious little one.
6. Feeding positions
In the first weeks I always liked to hold my babies tummy to tummy. I have a very fast let down, and feeding them this way while lying back on some pillows, helped with that. When they get bigger I still like the tummy to tummy position, but I tend to tilt their little bodys so they lie across my tummy, with their feet to my side. At night I find it easiest to feed lying down, that way they can drink and we can both drift off to get some much needed sleep. I did try the getting up and sitting up breastfeeding at night with my 1st, but after I fell asleep doing this and nearly let her fall out of my arms, I realised that it wasn’t safe for me personally to try doing it that way.
For more info on feeding positions and latch please visit the La Leche League website
Just like through pregnancy, water is your friend. Keep hydrated, your body needs fluids to produce milk for your baby. Get a reusable water bottle and always keep it with you. In the early days of feeding a new baby, I easily drink up to 500ml fluids during a nursing session. I also liked to drink Rooibos tea.
You get a lot of different recipes for hydration during breastfeeding and yes, I used to drink a lot of Jungle Juice with my first two babies. But then I researched and realised, that it actually contained a great deal of sugar which can increase your chances of getting a candida infection. That’s not something you want to deal with as a new breastfeeding mom!! With the last two, I managed to keep my supply up by just drinking water, tea and the occasional energy drink and fruit juice.
Your appetite will probably drastically increase while breastfeeding. One of my biggest surprises after the birth of my 1st was the amount of food I could eat. Where I was probably having half of what hubby was having during pregnancy, all of a sudden I ate the same amount of food and sometimes more than him. It was a huge shock to me! But taking into account that my body was now literally feeding 2 people it made sense.
I didn’t avoid or limit any foods in particular, although I did try to eat as healthy as possible.
9. Comfortable purpose made clothing
Comfortable clothing with easy access for feeding will go a long way to making your breastfeeding journey easier and more enjoyable. This time round I have indulged in getting enough, well fitting, purpose made tops, and they truly are amazing. Its so much easier to feed while out & about. I also got proper breastfeeding pajamas for the 1st time, and it’s a real game changer.
10. A supportive partner
Finally we’ve come to the last but probably most important of my breastfeeding tips, A Supportive Partner.
I really have to thank my husband, without his support and encouragement my breastfeeding journey would have been so much more difficult or maybe non-existent. He was always there to bring me something to drink or eat, take baby to burp or hold baby while I rest a bit.
I hope my list of breastfeeding tips will help you. But remember, if you struggle, take a breather and try again. This is a new skill both you and your baby have to learn together and that will take some time.
I wish you all the best on your journey and you are always welcome to ask me questions. If I know the answer I will definitely share it with you, or help you look for someone that can help.