Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift, but sometimes mums and babies need a bit of help getting breastfeeding established. Here are five tips to ease the way.
- Start preparing for breastfeeding when you are pregnant.
- Let your partner, friends and family and midwife know that you want to breastfeed. A support team is important. These people can be advocates for you and your baby if problems arise.
- Attend La Leche League meetings. Here you will be surrounded by breastfeeding mothers, a wonderful library full of books from pregnancy to breastfeeding to nutrition and trained leaders to help you if problems arise.
- Consider antenatal expressing. This is where you start expressing after 36 weeks of pregnancy. If you can go into hospital with 10+mls of expressed colostrum, it means you may be able to avoid formula if baby for a number of reasons can’t feed.
- Once baby is born and you feel something isn’t right then seek help. If you aren’t getting answers, then ask again. There are many people who profess to know how to help but trust your instinct. There is nothing wrong with Dr Google! The best sites for all round breastfeeding help are Kellymom and La Leche League. They have a lot of well researched, accurate advice across a wide range of issues.
Painful nipples, reduced supply, weight gain issues and tongue/ lip tie are the main issues I see with the mothers I help in the community. These can all be resolved with the help from a qualified, experienced support person, whether it be La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant.
You will be told a lot of stories about other people’s experiences breastfeeding, but this is your story and with the right support, education and a dose of persistent you can have a great breastfeeding experience.
Jackie Wheeler IBCLC