There are some simple breastfeeding tips that can make feeding enjoyable and sustainable and it starts with how you position and latch your baby. When you get this right, breastfeeding can be pretty straightforward.
I want to let you in on some of my top breastfeeding tips and why they work so that you feel empowered and equipped from the first feed.
1) Breastfeeding Positions: Get Comfortable
Feeds typically last for 45 – 60 minutes at a time and babies like to feed often in the early days, so comfort is super important. Common breastfeeding challenges are often caused as a simple result of baby being positioned too high or too low.
As a rule, if you are using a firm feeding cushion, you want to ensure that there is 2 fingers width between the base of your breast and the cushion to allow for baby’s lower arm to wrap around you. If you already have a special cushion, try it out on your chairs or sofa before baby arrives so that you have a good idea of where you’ll feel most comfortable.
And of course, make sure to have a great selection of comfy nursing clothes to wear which allow easy access for breastfeeding – Seraphine have fantastic options.
2) The Perfect Breastfeeding Latch
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Looking at the breast, it’s easy to believe that your nipple is the most important bit to get into baby’s mouth. However, it is the areola, brown bit around your nipple that is more important. In particular, the areola close to baby’s lower lip. The more areola your baby scoops up, the more comfortable the latch is for you and the more milk your baby gets.
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In order to get the right amount and bit of the breast into baby’s mouth, you want to line your baby’s nose up with your nipple. Try this illustration. Pretend you’re a baby and your thumbnail is a nipple. Placing your thumb in a thumbs up position, line the tip of your nose up with the nipple, and notice where your lower lip is. Keeping your thumb in place, open your mouth and pop your thumb into your mouth and give it a suck. You’ll notice that it feels quite comfortable and that your thumbnail (would be nipple) is right at the back and out of harm’s way.
When you get this right, breastfeeding is much better for you and baby.
3) Be Confident That Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
The most satisfactory way to know that your baby is getting enough milk, especially in the first week when your breasts feel empty or like there’s nothing there, is to monitor what comes out. Yes, I’m talking about your baby’s poos and whilst they probably don’t sound exciting now, just you wait until you see what baby has in store.
Your baby has the most fantastic poo display in the early days, moving from black (meconium), to green, to brown, orange and yellow by day 10. Allocate 3 days for black poos then 2 days for each colour thereafter. If your baby’s poos track the poo colour spectrum, baby is getting enough milk. If they are slow to change, baby needs more time on the breast/s and if they are quick to change, you know that your baby is ahead of the game and doing really well.
4) Embrace Your Uniqueness
Breastfeeding tips can be a bit stiff, especially if they are not tailored to suit you and your baby. Different feeding patterns suit different mums and babies. Whilst you are finding your feet, follow your instinct and your baby, monitor output and your baby’s weight gain as this never lies.
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As a rule, you can expect your baby to lose 10% of birth weight by day 5 which we want baby to regain between week 2 and 3. After this, we want to see a weekly average weight gain of 210g or 7oz. If baby gains less, you need to feed more and if baby gains more, you can stick with what you are doing, or take the pressure off yourself and be confident that you and baby are doing just fine.
5) Find Your Breastfeeding Routine
It all starts with you, so decide what you’d like to achieve and find out how to do it before your baby arrives. If by nature you like routine, follow a routine loosely to start with until you and baby carve one out that works well for both of you. If you don’t like structure, don’t bother with a routine. Either way is fine provided it works for you and baby.
Geraldine Miskin is a breastfeeding specialist with years of experience helping mums and babies find what works for them. Visit her site Geraldinemiskin.com for more breastfeeding tips, and to find out about her 1 to 1 consultations, over skype or at your home, and discover her new book Breastfeeding Made Easy – The Miskin Method.