04 Aug 5 breastfeeding tips for new moms!
It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and it takes place annually from 1-7 August. The purpose of World Breastfeeding Week is to highlight issues around breastfeeding, to spark action and informed dialogue. Breastfeeding is still highly stigmatised and seen as taboo, which is why awareness weeks and organisations like the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action are so important.
In this week’s blog, we look at breastfeeding tips and tricks for new mom’s! It can be quite daunting because breastfeeding is a big deal, and may not come as naturally to some or may not be as easy because everyone’s bodies are different. Patience is your ally and it’s normal to experience anxiety before breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not a given either, some people just can’t and there’s nothing wrong with that.
This post is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, please see a qualified medical professional if you need assistance with anything.
1) Try your best to relax
This is definitely easier said than done, especially with a new born and if you’ve never breastfed before. However, trying to relax will make the experience a lot more pleasant overall and hopefully will relieve some anxiety or nervousness. Even if you have to take a few deep breaths, say affirmations, meditate, change environments or rooms to help you calm down. Your baby will be able to tell if you’re not calm or relaxed which could make it harder for them to relax too.
2) Comfort is key
Before breastfeeding it’s important to find a position that works for you and your baby. This will take some trial and error, so patience is key. A few things to remember is the baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple, the baby shouldn’t really have to turn their head to be able to feed, the head should be tilted backwards slightly and their chin should be pressed against the areola so their nose is free and they can breathe easily. For more on specific breastfeeding positions click here.
3) Be mindful of what you eat or drink
In theory, this is also much easier said than done. However, it’s important to keep in mind that everything you consume can impact your baby while breastfeeding. Trying to eat wholefoods and staying away from processed, fried and sugary foods will benefit you and the baby. You may be thirstier than usual, because your body is producing so much milk. So staying hydrated is vital. Omega-3 fats are super important for brain development, so eating things like salmon and sardines will help.
4) You shouldn’t experience any pain
Although experiencing pain when breastfeeding isn’t extremely unusual and necessarily a major health issue, it’s still important to have an idea of what could be the cause. Mastitis is an infection that causes breast inflammation, flu-like symptoms and red irritation around the breast. It can be caused by germs entering milk ducts through cracked nipples. A prescribed antibiotic from a doctor will help get rid of it. Another common cause of pain is blocked milk ducts, which looks like a painful red spot on the breast. You can either keep breastfeeding so that the flow of the milk gets rid of the blockage, or you can use a warm compress to help relieve the blockage. Sore or cracked nipples are also quite common and can be healed with lanolin cream.
5) Ask for help or support
This could be the most important tip of all! As a new parent there’s so much pressure, including financial pressure and just general societal expectations to name a few. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to add to the pressure. If you’re struggling with any aspect of breastfeeding whether it’s physical, mental or emotional it’s important to reach out for support. This can be to a loved one, partner, doctor, therapist, support group or friend. Just don’t allow yourself to feel isolated and like the burden is all yours to carry because you’re the one doing the breastfeeding.