Breastfeeding a Newborn: My Top Tips on Preparing to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding a Newborn: My Top Tips on Preparing to Breastfeed
Want to know my top tips for successfully starting your breastfeeding journey with your babe? This video is going to explore my top tips on nailing breastfeeding and getting the hang of it in the first crucial six weeks.
Okay, let's get stuck into today's content. To start off, I want to talk about the importance of the first six weeks of your breastfeeding journey. It's usually the make or break period, and if you agree with that, then I'd love for you to comment and let me know what your first six weeks of breastfeeding were like. I know in those first six weeks for me, it was a struggle. I was a Midwife, and I actually came out thinking that I was going to nail breastfeeding because I knew everything that there was to know about how to do it, but there's so much that's involved in whether you're going to be able to successfully breastfeed or not.
Tip #1: Space and Time: Allowing yourself the time in the first six weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding is my very first tip. Quite often in those early days, we're inviting guests in, visitors to come see our new baby which is awesome. You're so excited to share this new bundle of joy, however, it is so important to ensure that space in the first six weeks to be able to practice positioning and attaching your baby correctly, to be able to feed often and without the fear or embarrassment, perhaps of not being able to do it while you have visitors, because guaranteed, there's tears from baby as they're trying to get on when they're hungry, and there's often tears from Mum as well.
Allowing yourself the space to just be able to really get the hang of breastfeeding, ensuring lots of skin-to-skin contact, being able to walk around the place without your top on, is so important in those first six weeks. So, allow SPACE and TIME to get the hang of it.
Tip #2: Opportunity and Practice: Every single time you attach your baby, you want to see it as an opportunity for practice and an opportunity for you to get the hang of it. Sometimes you will nail it, and other times you won't. Sometimes bub will jump on and sometimes he won’t. You might find that it is a bit more painful and you have to take your baby off and try again, but every time you put your baby to the breast, view it as that opportunity to try and get it right, to improve from last time, remembering if it isn’t right, don't beat yourself up, there will always be the next feed. It's all practice, and with continued PRACTICE, and if you keep giving it a go, you both will master it.
Tip #3: Get Help: If you have other children or other commitments, like you're still working, or even just the housework, get help! Like I said with the first tip, the first six weeks especially are going to be dedicated to you to get the hang of feeding and to just have that time to do skin-to-skin, and everything that you can do to improve your chances of successfully breastfeeding. My tip is to palm off some of the housework to someone else, gratefully accept those meals that people are offering to bring you. Whatever it is, either ask for help or seek it out yourself.
If you've got other children and you have someone that can have them for a couple of days so that you just have a that time to dedicate to practicing breastfeeding, or if that's not a reality for you, then making sure that they are kept busy with snacks and toys. If you have to pull out the TV, pull out the TV. Don't feel guilty about that. Whatever it takes to entertain your toddler or your child while you breastfeed. Make sure that you are being realistic in getting the help that you need so that you can be completely mindful of how you're attaching your baby and can put all the efforts into that.
Tip #4: Get Real: What I mean by that, is be realistic with what a breastfeeding baby does. Let's break this down a little bit. A breastfeeding baby has to feed often. Sometimes it's every two hours. Sometimes they cluster feed, where they actually seem like all they want to do is spend time on the breast. This particularly happens in the evening and it often leads to Mums seeing a decrease in their supply. Feeds can range anywhere from two to four hourly, lots of variations in between, and there's lots of things that determine how often your baby needs to feed.
That's what the norm is, is that feeding frequently is the norm. You might be sitting yourself down almost every two, three hours, when you just feel like you've only just finished a feed, ready to feed again. This is why allowing that time in the first six weeks to do just that is so important. Sometimes feeds will take up to an hour. Sometimes your baby's a much more efficient sucker and feed times can be less, but know that a feeding session can take up to an hour. But if you go in with the mindset that babies feed often and that feeds can almost seem like they're starting after they've just ended, then it just helps you to mentally prepare and realise that this is what you've got to do to concentrate on things and establish your supply in the first six weeks, and as time goes on, it's not so frequent and they do space feeds.
Tip #5: Positioning: Have a go at putting your baby on in different positions. A lot of the time we think that the only way to hold a baby and to feed a baby is to cradle them across us and attach that way however, there are so many ways that you can feed your baby, and getting to know what is comfortable for you, and for your baby, and whatever position it is that is allowing your baby to attach well and to feed well, is the position that you want to be adopting.
I'll do a whole other video on the different positions of breastfeeding, but for now, you can do a little bit of research. One of my favourite resources is the Australian Breastfeeding Association which I'll link to below, and they've got an abundance of information on all things breastfeeding. They've also got a hotline, a phone number that you can call and talk to a breastfeeding counsellor. They are a fantastic resource for you to know about to run some ideas off if you're wondering what positions might be right for you or any other breastfeeding concerns. Definitely a good resource for you to know, but definitely practice different positions of comfort for you and your baby.
Tip #6: Get Professional Assistance: Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, but I can vouch and say it does not come naturally to everyone. That doesn't mean that it won’t work for you It just means that you need help in practicing to get it right. And sometimes it just doesn't happen, and that is fine. But if you seek some help, get some help from a lactation consultant, your maternal and Child Health Nurse, family friends or relatives who have confidently breastfed before, whoever that is, look for that help and use it. Ask for some guidance, and reach out and you'll find that it makes the world of difference in having someone watch you do a feed and refine your positioning and attachment. Whatever it takes to be able to get that baby on properly is what's going to lead to a successful breastfeeding relationship. Get the help you need!
Well, there you have it. They are my top six tips on how you can have the best start to your breastfeeding journey. I hope that you liked this video. I'd love for you to tag a friend below and share the video to anyone who you believe should hear this information, whether they're pregnant, whether they're in the first six weeks of their breastfeeding journey, or anyone who would want to see this.
I'll be back here again in another fortnight. In the meantime, head on over to my website, jenniferbutler.com.au. Sign up to my mailing list so that when I do my new videos you're notified of its release and you also get sent my free Clean Sleeping Guide, which is a great bonus and reason to sign up. Otherwise, see you then.