At BABY WISDOM we believe nature is very good at providing multi-tasking activities. So we think when you are breastfeeding or feeding your baby you are also taking the time to rest and repair after the birth of your baby. So if breastfeeding is not comfortable seek help as the more comfy and confident you are the more likely things are going to get off to a good start. Not always easy, but asking for help can make a difference.
How many will you need? Top tip – one on, one off and one in the wash.
Avoid underwired bras as these may cut into you as you grow and put pressure on, creating discomfort and possibly blocked ducts.
When your milk comes in you may want to stay in your bra to keep comfortable. Some mums even find they need to wear their bra in the bath when breasts become heavy.
A great video of a mum learning to hand express. Worth knowing to keep breast comfy and manage over supply gently in the early days.
In the early days, mum produces ‘colostrum’ a thick creamy milk, low in quantity, high in nutrients and protective enzymes to kick-start baby’s immune system. This is the starter kit!
The more mum feeds the more milk she makes, up to six weeks when supply is maximised.
Night feeds are really important as this is when mum’s hormone that helps make the milk is highest and helps bump up her supply and protect baby through the wee small hours.
As days pass the milk becomes more plentiful and you will see sucking patterns change.
Let your baby stay attached for as long as they want.
A C- section may delay mums milk ‘coming in’. This is the milk as it changes from colostrum to more mature milk. Don’t worry, just keeping feeding regularly to give your body cues to produce more.
Keeping baby on one side for as long as they like and until they fall off gives them the chance to get to the high calorie milk.
Every day is a first, every day is different! In fact every feed will be different, from a few sucks to a long period interspersed with sleep.
Check out the Best Beginnings website which has great video clips, including Bump to Breastfeeding, which offers an insight from real mums talking about their experiences.
Learning to breastfeed is like learning to drive for mum and baby.
Many mums say it takes about six weeks before they really get the hang of things. This doesn’t mean every day is going to be a struggle until six weeks – it might just feel confusing and ever changing. That’s perfectly normal.
Find the most up-to-date info in a simple format.
LINK: UNICEF’s Off to the Best Start leaflet
Tiny tums need little and often. Expect your baby to feed eight to 12 times in 24 hours in the early days. Sounds like a lot? Well, your little bundle’s tum is roughly the size of a small marble in the early days.
Check out the NCT leaflet ‘what’s in a nappy’ to help you feel more confident.
Remember a little bit in and a little bit out!
Skin to skin (baby’s bare chest on mum’s bare chest) will help mum and baby get to know each other, regulate their breathing, heart rate and temperature and gives baby the chance to feed regularly. Dads can do this too!
The light drowsy state as babies start to stir is a great time to attempt a feed. Crying is the last cue, telling mums: ‘I’m really hungry!’ This has been researched and a quick explanation can be found at
A supportive partner can make all the difference. A big hug and encouragement is sometimes all it takes to make things feel a bit better. Dads: start your journey with the links below that have lots of resources especially for you.
LINK: Dads and breastfeeding
Protect your nest from too many visitors.
You will all need time to learn in a quiet, calm environment. Make plans for how you will manage this before baby arrives. Talk to your partner and all those you are closest to, letting them know how you feel!
Some women choose to mix breast and formula from the word go – whatever works for you and your family is fine.
If you choose to introduce formula, do it in an hour of the day when you can keep an eye on your little one, in case of an allergic reaction. Ask your midwife for more information.
Some women only ever manage to feed off of one breast – That’s all right, but mention this to your midwife, health visitor or a local breastfeeding counsellor to get a bit of support.
HOW WILL I KNOW MY BABY IS HUNGRY?
Check out this Australian link which has a really simple visual guide for baby’s feeding cues.
LINK: Baby feeding cues
Babies have a number of feeding cues, crying is often the last one.
So, for more relaxed breastfeeding try to catch your baby in the light drowsy state. In the early days short feeds are very normal they give mum and baby the chance to practice and start to build up milk supply.
Breast milk is made constantly from your blood, as your baby sucks –clever stuff!! So the pumps don’t empty and then have to wait to refill. This might help build your confidence if you are worrying that your milk might run out.
Check out these links below.
Get to know your baby’s sucking pattern. Fast in the beginning, slower with breaks towards the end and finally a baby that falls asleep, is what you are aiming for as things get established.
Feeds will be erratic and different every time. That’s all right – just go with the flow, keep your baby close and offer plenty of skin to skin. A special link for parents of early babies below
In the early days, they will be building up their strength and may only feed for short periods, That’s fine, just offer regularly and maybe return to the same breast within three hours. Remember, their tiny tum is only about the size of a marble at birth and at one month it will be roughly the size of their tiny fist.
Check out your baby’s nappies: the poo in your baby’s nappies should become a mustard colour and your baby should have five – six wet nappies in 24 hours in the early days. Check out the lovely leaflet below
WHAT IF IT HURTS AND I’M REALLY SORE?
Pain and sore nipples are always connected with tricky positioning. Check out this video clip which describes common problems and how to avoid them. Remember most importantly try to ask for help!
LINK: Breastfeeding problems
Pain may mean that the end of your nipple is rubbing on the roof of baby’s mouth instead of floating past this to the back where there will be no rubbing. This can lead to problems, but the good news is that, with the right support, it can be sorted out. Asking for help can be the biggest hurdle!
Try a different position. Sometimes sitting in the middle of a sofa with no cushions and adding cushions after baby is attached can be a good starting point.
WHAT SELF HELP CAN I USE?
Check if your breasts and nipple are different on each side – perhaps you need to bring baby in at a slightly different angle.
Is baby’s nose lined up with your nipple, spine in line and coming to the breast at the angle your nipple is facing?
Try peeling baby’s arms wide so that they are not folded in front of them and so having to extend their chin out to feed.
For parents blessed with twins and multiples, its helpful to remember that your babies are individuals from the start and will probably have different breastfeeding styles. Even if you only breastfeed for a short time, it can really make a difference and is something only you, as mum can do.
The secret to success is to ask for help before it gets too bad!
Contact your midwife, health visitor or local NCT breastfeeding counsellor if you are struggling. Dad or partner can always call on your behalf if you are feeling too wobbly to talk.