During World Breastfeeding Week, Founder of Little Archer & Co., Denise, had a cuppa with Lactation Consultant, Sarah Elphick from The Milky Days. If you haven't seen the interview, make sure you check it out here.
In addition to her amazing advice, Sarah has also kindly provided us with her Five Breastfeeding Tips, keep reading!
I’m Sarah, founder of The Milky Days. I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant on the Sunshine Coast. I have worked with mothers and babies for 14 years. One thing I know for sure is that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. But for something so natural, it doesn’t always come naturally! So here are my top five tips to prepare for breastfeeding:
- Absorb as much education as you can before your baby arrives:
So much time is spent on childbirth education, when in fact labour and childbirth is such a short time in comparison to your breastfeeding journey.
Learning to breastfeed involves learning new skills and can take a lot of practice. It can be so difficult to take in breastfeeding advice when you are sleep deprived with a newborn. So before your little bundle arrives, do as much research as you can. A good place to start:
- Make sure your baby is latched correctly:
Pain is not normal. I repeat. Pain is not normal. When your baby is not latched correctly, many more breastfeeding challenges arise such as cracked nipples, engorgement, and blocked milk ducts.
- Your baby’s chin should be touching your breast and the nose clear of the breast.
- Your baby's tummy should be against your tummy, so that baby's head is straight and not turned to the side.
- His/her mouth is open wide around your areola (not just your nipple).
If you feel pinching or pain that doesn't go away within a few seconds of latching your baby, gently put your finger inside the corner of their mouth to break the suction and ease bub off the breast to try again.
- Breastfeed on cue
Spending as much time as possible skin-to-skin with your baby in the first few weeks after birth can help you establish breastfeeding, by noticing those early feeding cues that your baby will show when they are ready to feed. These cues can be subtle like turning their head from side to side, opening his/her mouth, and sucking on their fists. I don’t recommend following a feeding schedule unless you have been medically advised to do so. Eight- twelve times is normal in a 24-hour period. Just feed your baby whenever they are showing you those feeding cues.
- Choose the right maternity bra
You may have noticed that you outgrew your usual bra during pregnancy as the breasts actually prepare for lactation early in your pregnancy (around 16 weeks gestation). When you are purchasing a new bra in preparation for breastfeeding, make sure there is no underwire as this can cause blocked milk ducts which can lead to the dreaded mastitis. Look for a stretchy bra that is easy to open and close. Of course, the decision to wear a bra depends on your personal preference. You may feel the need to wear a bra continuously for support and as a way to keep your nursing pads in place.
- Seek support as soon as possible
Many mothers persist through breastfeeding issues and only seek out support when they are desperate and when the challenges they are facing have become worse. Many common issues such as nipple damage, pain, and low milk supply can be resolved when seeking professional lactation support early in your journey. Work with your midwife, Child and Family Health Nurse, and of course Lactation Consultant as soon as you can. It is always a good idea to find out what support services are available to you before your baby is born.
Remember, the first few weeks are the hardest, but you have got this Mama!
If you'd like to get in touch with Sarah, head to her website The Milky Days