Breastfeeding can be a bit tricky at first, but with a little practice, you can get your baby to latch correctly so that they can feed with ease. Here are a few tips to get you started.
There are a few signs that can give you an idea about whether your baby is latched on properly or not. Keep an eye out for the following signs throughout his feed:
- You can feel a good suction, without pain.
- You can hear swallowing every couple of sucks. Sometimes the infant will suck for a couple of minutes before you have let-down.
- You can see baby’s jaw and ears moving while sucking.
- You should see pausing between sucks. This means baby is getting mouthfuls of milk.
- You should not feel biting or chewing while infant is sucking.
- You should not see dimpling of the cheeks.
- You should not be able to hear clicking or smacking noises.
- If you look down at your baby while he’s feeding, his head should be tipped back. His chin should be touching your breast, and his nose should be free.
- Your baby should be able to breathe easily during the feed, without you needing to push your breast away from his nose.
My newborn’s breastfeeding routine can leave me tired. How can I cope?
In the first month, your newborn baby will need to breastfeed an average of 8 to 12 times a day, which is almost every 2-3 hours. This new routine can leave any mother tired, fatigued and irritable.
It is important to take good care of yourself emotionally and physically during this time, in order for you to be able to care for your newborn and to enjoy the experience of being a new mum. Here are some tips:
- Listen to your baby. Follow your baby’s routine and don’t be hard on yourself in trying to establish a rigid schedule. Instead, focus on your newborn’s natural feeding & sleeping routine and try to adapt to it. A great example would be to rest or sleep when your baby is sleeping in-between feeds.
- Accept help when offered. Seek support from close friends & family to help with household chores. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Stay positive. Be reassured that your newborn’s feeding schedule will become easier with time. As your baby grows, his feeds will slowly become further apart, giving you more time to rest and return to a regular day/night routine.
How to best prepare yourself for breastfeeding
Preparing yourself for breastfeeding prior to and post-delivery can help make your nursing experience very comfortable and pleasant. Here are a few tips to prepare you:
- Keep in touch. Talk to close friends and family, who are breastfeeding or have breastfed in the past, about their experience.
- Research. Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding; its benefits, techniques, difficulties etc. Ideally speak to your physician to provide you with as much information as possible.
- Prepare. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, try to massage your breasts daily to clear out the ducts.
- Buy a breast pump. Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed your baby and not express milk, having a breast pump at hand will help in case your breasts feel overly full and uncomfortable.
- Be patient. Breastfeeding is not a science; it is a natural process that you and your baby will gradually learn to enjoy. If you or your baby are uncomfortable, get in touch with a lactation consultant who will guide you on proper latching and help you find a position that suits you both.
Items and products that can make breastfeeding more comfortable for you:
- Nursing bras. These provide extra support and have flaps to easily undo and redo your bra when it is time to breastfeed.
- Nursing pillows: In any position you decide to breastfeed your baby, a nursing pillow will provide comfortable support for your back and posture and for your baby.
- Nursing/breast-pads: these are placed inside your bra to absorb any leaking breast milk.