I did all my breastfeeding homework when pregnant with Max and even paid to sit in a 3 hour breastfeeding class. Nothing could prepare me for breastfeeding than actually trying to nurse with my newborn baby. Max's breastfeeding journey sadly ended after a few days I then went onto express soley for a further 10 days. It was painful, hard and absolutely exhausting. I promised myself I would try harder next time but decided not to put so much pressure on myself like I did with Max. I'm writing this now on my phone whilst nursing Emmie and I just cannot believe we've made it to 15 weeks!
Here's what helped me breastfeed especially in those very early weeks of newborn life.
• Nurse whenever your baby wants to feed. I remember how difficult those early few weeks were, Emmie literally never came off the boob. Luckily I had Freddie off on paternity leave to help keep Max entertained so I could focus on Emmie's frequent feeding. I've been told the reason why newborns nurse so frequently is because their trying to build up your supply and It has nothing to do with not having enough milk to feed.
• Try and have as much skin to skin with your baby as possible. I spent most of the first 5 days with Emmie on my chest or tummy under a blanket. It's a great way to bond, build up your supply and learn their feeding cues.
• If you have another child to look after keep a breastfeeding toy box to hand and wip it out when you need to nurse. That way your child is entertained and you can feed the baby without any interruptions. I kept toy cars, sticker books and colouring books and pencils in ours.
• Invest in a good quality breastfeeding pillow. I bought the My Brestfriend one from Mothercare. It's on the pricey side but I pretty much used it for every feed within the first 3 months, I even took it out with me! It meant I had my hands free to eat my dinner etc. It also helped ease my back and arms from the mega cluster feeding sessions. This particular pillow even has a little pocket so you can keep all your breastfeeding essentials in one place.
•Talking about essentials, make sure you have them to hand. The last thing you want is to sit down and begin a feed without your water bottle, snacks, nipple cream etc. Breastfeeding is thirsty work so you need these essentials with you before you begin feeding.
•Figure out what position works for you. I found that on my left breast the rugby hold position worked best. My milk let down in my left breast is fast so I found she preferred being held in this position to ease off the flow. On my right side she prefers the standard cradle breastfeeding position. We also like the laying down position too. I use the laying down position the most at night when I'm able to nurse and sleep at the same time. Use the first week testing out different positions to figure out what works best for you both.
• Use nipple cream before and after every feed and even before you're due to give birth. I haven't suffered from sore or cracked nipples (touch wood) and I can solely say it's because of Laninsoh nipple cream. I slathered the stuff on! There's also no need to remove it before a feed with is a massive bonus.
• And finally find out where your local breastfeeding clinic is. We thankfully haven't needed to visit but I've heard brilliant things about them from my NCT friends. The counsellers can help with positions, your baby's latch etc. It's also a nice place to meet and chat to other breastfeeding mums over tea and cake.
Just remember to try not to put pressure yourself. If you can breastfeed than brilliant and if you can't that's okay! As long as your baby is fed, happy and healthy that is all that matters. You're doing an amazing job.
What are your tips on how to breastfeed for 3 months and upwards? I've heard it becomes a little tricker as they become more alert and interested in the world around them x