People say that breastfeeding comes naturally…but it was not always easy for me. I promised myself that I would not be distressed over breastfeeding my baby. I decided that I will give it a try and if I struggled then I would switch to formula. However once I started researching on the benefits of breastmilk and my baby was born, I wanted to desperately breastfeed her and give her this “liquid gold”….and before I knew it, it turned into a 14 month journey and was extremely rewarding. Given its breastfeeding week and I know it can be a challenging time; I thought any tips may help with your breastfeeding journey.
Here are the tips that helped me (please be mindful that the products I mention are not sponsored and its products that worked for me and may not be for everyone):
I hired a lactation specialist, Laura Sayce.For more information, her website is http://www.babysupport.co.za.
I looked for someone that I was comfortable with and got to know me as a person, my likes and dislikes.She helped me as soon as baby was born, she was there to extract the colostrum using a syringe to ensure Mckenzie received this liquid gold while she was in NICU. Laura was there when we brought Mckenzie home to ensure she was latching properly and helped me with different breastfeeding positions so I could ensure Mckenzie was positioned well to get the most out of her feed and I was still comfortable given my healing c-section.
Join a breastfeeding support group
I joined a support group which Laura runs. It was a nice outing and I met up with other moms with babies of similar age. Laura provides advise on any issues you may be having with breastfeeding or we just hang out feeding our babies and chatting about our husbands.You also do a weigh-in every week to help understand if your baby is tracking well with his or her growth.
Control the pain
I was in pain as soon as my milk came in..BUT it did go away-you just have to keep going. Try to understand why the pain is occurring, could it be trush (I minimized this risk by using unsweetened rooibos tea in my jungle juice instead of fruit juice…sugar can cause thrush), tongue tie or engorgement.
Mckenzie had a slight tongue tie but not enough to be a concern.
I did have engorgement, really bad engorgement. I used the Lansinoh Pearl Therapy gel packs and it helped so much…warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds and placed in my nursing bra. I love them.
Cracked nipples..this was the next worst thing for me. My cousin who had her second baby 5 months earlier than Mckenzie introduced me to the Lansinoh HPA Lanlolin nipple cream and it worked wonders after applying during the night and the morning and my nipples were mine again after 12 hours. If the sucking is unbearable, you may need a nipple shield.
Comfortable breastfeeding chair and pillow
I bought the Babyhood Gliding Feeding chair from the Mamamagic Expo.For the first 2 months, I basically lived in my chair, there were days when Mckenzie was latched for 2 to 3 hours and this chair supported my back and provided the comfort I needed.
I used my feeding pillow for every feed except when I was out and about. I bought the pillow from Baby city. Find one that feels comfortable for your body shape.
Comfortable nursing tops and bras
There are many nursing tops and bras on the market. I found the nursing tops from Kids Emporium to be the best for me, its the t-shirts that have an elasticated part under a flap of fabric at the top of the t-shirt (I am sure I am doing a dreadful job of describing them, but you will know what I mean when you see them). I tried the nursing bras from Woolworths and the Carriwell from baby city and found the Carriwell to be superior and it kept the breast pads in place.
Many people mention a breastfeeding station but I like a basket as you can take it from one room to the other if you want to also feed in bed and not only in the nursery….I learnt this quickly because everytime I decided to feed in bed or during the night, I will call for my husband to bring the water bottle, burp cloth, nipple cream and the book that I am reading at the time. I put everything I needed in a basket and carried it room to room hassle and thinking free. how independent…baby in one hand and basket in the other.
Skin to skin
This not only helps you bond with your baby but also stimulates milk production. I used to tease Mckenzie’s nose with my nipple and as she opened her mouth wide then placed my breast into her mouth.She had a tiny mouth and I needed to encourage a good latch. To assist with letdown, I focused on Mckenzie, her face and tiny fingers and toes. To ensure she had a good feed and did not fall asleep, I would play with her chin and feet.
Low milk supply
This could do with a post of its own. I did struggle with low supply at some stage. In summary, feeding on demand and emptying the breast was key for me and this also helped me build a good 2 month supply for my baby for when I went back to work . I pumped after each feed to empty the breast. I pumped early hours of the morning and late at night.Staying hydrated with good old H2O is a must.I did a breastfeeding snacks post http://lifesatreat.co.za/2016/06/24/my-go-to-snacks-on-my-breastfeeding-journey/ which aided nutritional eating and ultimately higher milk supply.
I hope this post helps in your breastfeeding journey.