Tricks for Breastfeeding Other Moms Might not Tell You
Not every pregnancy is the same nor is every parenting experience. Therefore, speaking in general terms about any child-related issue/situation may seem pointless, but there’s also a lot of overlap, and you’re likely to find some useful advice in even the most general of guides.
I remember being thirsty for information on breastfeeding, baby essentials, little helpful tricks on how to get into the baby-raising zone quickly but there wasn’t too much information I could really rely on. Whenever I’d ask a mum who’s been through the experience for help, I’d often get generic responses, nothing that would give me enough meat to work with. So, I’ve gone through what, at the time, felt like millions of books and online blogs to learn as much as I could and give my baby the best possible experience. And, as it usually happens, although I did find a lot of awesome information, the best knowledge I gathered was from my own experience after I gave birth.
Having all mums-to-be in mind, I’ve decided to put together a list of things I believe would be very useful in their parenting days and help them find their way around breastfeeding as one of the key elements of every stage-one parenting drama. Check out the tips below:
Be your baby’s teacher
After you give birth, the idea is to direct the baby towards your breast as soon as you can. The sooner the baby feels the breast, the sooner they’ll get accustomed to breastfeeding; and you won’t have to deal with the adjustment process. Babies will instinctively seek out their mother’s breast in the first hour after birth. Their senses of hearing, sight, touch and smell are heightened, so the moment the baby feels you, they will know what to “ask for” the next time around. I asked the nurse to let me breastfeed almost straight after the delivery and it did both me and my baby good.
When the time comes to breastfeed, the best way to do it is going skin-to-skin. The baby will love the feeling of her mummy’s warm body, so remove any clothing in the area and let the baby feel the breast along with your chest. If you are too shy, you can wear a piece of comfortable nursing activewear that is easy to adjust (this is my personal favorite) or cover up with a piece of cloth or a blanket. This skin-to-skin dynamic will trigger your baby’s feeding instincts.
From my experience, the best starting point of establishing a healthy feeding routine is to offer to feed your baby every two to three hours. Don’t worry if you notice your breasts start to feel really firm, tight, tender, warm and often bigger than they usually are. This is a natural process of your mature milk coming in and it usually goes away within a few days. Engorgement may be more challenging for the baby than it is for you; usually, babies can’t really latch on properly when your breasts are at this stage, so you may experience problems breastfeeding. To make things simpler and easier, I used to use a pump or just hand express a bit of milk prior to feeding my daughter. This would loosen up the breast and help Lily feed more easily.
Learn the signs
Be on the lookout for the signs your baby is sending you; when you see them bringing their hands close to face, make mouthing motions, turn their head from side to side or chew on their tiny fingers, they’re signaling hunger. Learn to recognize these signs and the baby will continue giving them. When the baby realizes you are in sync, i.e. that you respond, it’ll be – happy baby, happy mommy!
You’ll hear everyone saying that the motherhood instinct just kicks in once you give birth; this, along with many other stock beliefs, isn’t always the case. And, guess what? That’s absolutely normal. So, learn what you need and “teach” your baby to do the same in order to avoid unpleasant situations later on. Good luck!