We often hear that breast-feeding is the most natural thing in the world but that doesn’t mean that it comes easily to everyone. It can be challenging, hard work and sometime uncomfortable. However it is also very rewarding and has multiple long term health benefits for you and your baby.
Whether you're a first time mum or it's been a while since you last did it, I wanted to share a few quick tips to get you off to a good start.
- Skin to skin. A minimum of a hours uninterrupted Skin to skin from birth helps regulate your babies temperature, blood sugars, heartbeat and breathing. It's also a time for you to explore your baby in person for the first time. During this time babies are alert and will often naturally seek out your breast for a feed. They may start to stretch and crawl towards the breast. Sometime they "head bob" or just lick at the breast. This is their way of searching and learning. This also stimulates the breasts and can assist with that initial breast feed. Skin to skin can be done at any time, not just during “the golden hour” after birth. If you didn't get to do skin to skin at birth you can initiate it again at any time before, during or after a feed. Ideally done with mum but don't worry dads you can get in on the action to. Remember skin to skin literally means that. Skin on skin. No clothes, wraps or nappies. Just keep you and baby warm with blankets over the two of you.
- Know your baby’s cues. Babies cry for various reasons but especially when they want to communicate with you that they are hungry. Crying can often be one of the later feeding cues so look out for earlier signs such as head turning, tongue or lip smacking, hand to mouth or fist sucking.
- Be comfortable, You may be there for a while. Support your back and arms with pillows or cushions and always have a glass of water at hand, It’s thirsty business.
- Position and latch. There are a couple of different positions for breast feeding (Madonna or cradle hold, under arm or rugby ball hold or a lateral, lying down position. Use whichever works and feels comfortable for you. This may change over a period of time as your experience and confidence increases. Whichever position you choose here are a few Basic rules : tummy to tummy - that means that baby's tummy is against your tummy you shouldn’t be able to see your baby's belly button whilst feeding. Baby’s nose should be in line with your nipple. Baby’s chin need to be touching your breast. Wait for baby to have a wide mouth so that as much of the areola (the dark breast tissue around the nipple) is in the baby's mouth not just the end of the nipple. You will see the baby's bottom lip rolled down and outwards. You may experience initial pain as baby latches but this should ease as the baby settles into a rhythmical sucking action. If this continues then break the seal by sliding your little finger into the corner of babies mouth. Take a deep breath, readjust and try again.
- Is my baby Sucking. When your baby first starts sucking at the breast it may be fast and furious, they're trying to initiate the let down reflex. Once they get a taste of colostrum or milk (depending on days post birth) the fast and furious sucks often change to a slower, deeper more rhythmical pattern. If you listen you might even hear the occasional swallow.
- Remember, You’re not alone. Most women will feel challenged when breast feeding. Thinking...Do I have enough milk, am I doing it right, I'm sore. There is support out there for you to access. Your midwife, lactation consultants, mother to mother peer support, La Leche League etc.
Natures Touch is here to support women as they journey in pregnancy and motherhood and have created a natural, vegan friendly nipple balm to help alleviate the discomforts associated with breast feeding. Made using all edible ingredients meaning there is no need to wipe off before nursing.
Free from lanolin, nut oils, parabens, sulphates and synthetic fragrances.