We’ve used a variety of different sources to write this article. Hopefully, it is beneficial for you!
Here are a few key points to help ensure a smooth experience for first-time breastfeeding Mums!
Learn as much as you can! During your pregnancy is the best time to learn more about Breastfeeding. We’ve got a special section in this website about Breastfeeding, that could be beneficial for you! Join a breastfeeding class, surround yourself with a ‘support’ group, (which can be a group of your ‘Mum’s’ friends, other mum’s in your local maternity centers or online through a forum). Having a great support group will help you go through the first few weeks of breastfeeding easier.
Take a good care of yourself during pregnancy! A happy, stress-free and healthy mothers will make breastfeeding so much easier. This is off course can sometimes be easier said than done. As many first time mums usually have to run around to ‘prepare’ for the upcoming baby. From working till the end, preparing a nursery/baby shopping, not too mention dealing with morning sickness. However, it is very important to remember to take some time off every now and then to unwind, especially toward the end of your pregnancy. Breast-milk flows better when you’re most relaxed.
Prepare your breast for the experience. Have you had past breast surgeries? If you had, please discuss this with your midwife/obstetrician to see if it may affect your breastfeeding experience. Checking your nipples to see if you have inverted nipples so you can be prepared with a solution prior, can also be helpful.
After you gave birth, immediate skin to skin nursing is important. Baby’s suckling instinct is very strong when they are first born. If you can managed to get your baby to latch on during those first few minutes in life, will help them to make the subsequent breastfeeding experiences easier. However, if you can’t don’t stress. Use your time while you’re in the hospital, where there’s a lot of midwives and ‘experts’, to get help.
If you can, have your baby to stay in the same room with you during your hospital stay can be very beneficial. Getting to know one another and create that mother-baby bond in the baby’s first few days while still have the ‘help’ around can set you off to a good start.
If the baby sleeps in a nursery. It would be great to ask the nursery staff to not feed the baby with a formula whilst your sleeping. Instead, you can ask them to wake you up.
It is normal that you do not to produce too much milk in the beginning. Colostrum, the thick sometimes yellowy, substance that comes out off your breast, even in the smallest amount is low in fat, high in protein and full of antibodies. It is enough to keep the baby full until your body can produce real breast milk in a few days time.
Prepare for the Unprepared! Not too many sources may mention this. But the first few days to a week of breastfeeding can be the hardest time of all. It is that time when the milk supply are usually still low, the baby cries a lot, the mother is tired and emotional, the breast is swollen, and your nipples are rough and raw. It is very important to remember that this will soon pass. Usually after two weeks, your milk supply will catch up with your baby’s demand, your nipple will harden up, and your baby and you will start enjoying the experience. The most important thing is to learn to relax while you’re doing it, find your own ‘comfort’ style and method. This will make your body produces the breast milk more efficiently, and a relax mother equals a relax baby. This is that moment that you should feel okay to get and receive help whenever you can.
Breastfeeding is the best gift that you can give your child. Not only that, it is a wonderful moment between a mother and a baby that you will cherish forever. Good luck!