Although breastfeeding has many benefits for you and your baby, it doesn’t always come naturally and can be a tough skill to master for some. If you experience problems or discomfort, don’t give up as it does get easier (especially if you take our advice on board!)
1) Make sure you research and read up on nursing before your baby is born. After birth you’ll be too exhausted to learn something new. It might help if you talk to friends and family who have breastfed successfully themselves.
2) Both you and your baby benefit from skin to skin contact straight after birth. When your baby is close, he’ll cue to breastfeed more often, plus straight after birth your baby will be more alert as their senses are heightened. Babies are neurologically wired to find the breast so when you allow them to latch on by themselves; they normally tend to do it correctly.
3) You might notice your baby chewing on his hands, making mouthing motions or performing other actions that tell you he’s starting to get hungry. Respond to these cues and feed your baby before he starts crying. Then, he will continue to give you these cues so you can feed him before the tears start as breastfeeding a tired, angry and hungry baby is much more difficult for both of you.
4) In the early days, try to offer your baby a feeding every 2-3 hours. Don’t panic if your breasts start to feel engorged- this happens when your mature milk comes in. Engorgement goes away in a few days, but if your baby has a difficult time latching on, you can try a breast pump to express milk before feeding her.
5) If you’re having pain when breastfeeding or if your baby isn’t going through 8-12 nappies a day you should see your doctor. It’s important to catch problems as soon as they start.
6) If you’re going to continue breastfeeding when returning to work, it’s a good idea to talk to your employer about it. Your employer should help you find a private place to pump and fit breaks into your schedule where you can pump.
7) Before you’re due to go back to work, start pumping for practice. Doctors recommend pumping for a few minutes after your little one’s morning feeding as this is when your milk is at its greatest. Pumping in advance and knowing you have plenty of milk in your freezer will make you feel less anxious.
8) Before you depart from your baby, keep your baby’s caregiver or nanny informed of how much milk your little one needs throughout the day and how to prepare it.