I have been very lucky and blessed with a healthy body. I do exercise regularly which is probably why I did not have any problems at all with breastfeeding. Many have been asking me about tips, which prompted me to write this post.
How picturesque, but breastfeeding is so much more troublesome and painful!
If you are below 21 years old, please stay away due to explicit content. It's recommended that you breastfeed for at least 6 months but if you can't, it's ok to mix with formula milk. These are some of the common tips on breastfeeding:
1) Breastfeed asap - Immediately after your delivery and after they finished weighing and cleaning up your baby, the nurse will inform you that it's best to start breastfeeding. Being a first time mum, of course you would know not how to do it. However, she will try to push the baby's month to your nipples to encourage suckling.
2) Prepare for pain - I am telling you upfront that it's gonna be painful for the first few days. Be mentally prepared for it and know that this pain will soon pass.
3) Ask more questions - Most of the hospitals have lactation consultants so you will have a private session with her to ask questions. She will also guide you on how to do it step-by-step.
4) Massage before feed - Do massage your breasts every time beforehand because it's going to help boost your supply. It's crucial especially during the first few days. Just press your palms in a circular motion on the breast area for a few minutes and you are ready to go.
No, that's a yawn, they would never open their mouth so wide!
5) Stroke the lips - To let the baby know it's time to feed, try to stroke his/her lips with your nipple and encourage the mouth to open wide. The baby's head should also be tilted back so the mouth will naturally open.
6) Move baby's mouth to your nipple - Never move your nipple to the baby's mouth, which is why there is a certain amount of 'manhandling' involved as you are 'shoving' the baby towards you. If you bend towards the baby instead, your posture will not be correct and bad latch will occur. Most parents would feel that the nurses are generally pretty rough on the baby, shoving their mouths here and there. It's not because they are rough, it's more likely because new parents are quite unsure of how to handle newborn and would be extremely gentle and cautious.
7) U and C shape hold - Press your nipple either from the side (C hold) or from the bottom (hold) so that it is easier for baby to suck. The whole areola should be inside the baby's mouth and not just the tip of the nipple, that will definitely hurt.
8) Baby should face you and not tilted sideways - Do you want football or cradle position? Football will require a pillow while the cradle is easier as your hands can relax on your legs. Be very aware of your position as poor posture will cause problems to the mum and also poor latch of the baby. Make sure the baby's belly is touching your belly and the face is facing you fully.
9) Definitely try side latch - At night, do try side latch once you can. It is going to be your saving grace, I guarantee. I am very thankful to my friends who recommended side latch. For instructions on how to do it, watch the videos on youtube. Try it and you will be much more relaxed at night. Just roll over and feed.
Side latch is easy and less tiring on the arms
10) Feed on demand - Nurses in the hospitals will generally ask you to breast feed every 4 hours. You can either follow the baby's hunger cues and feed on demand, or you can feed on schedule. Feeding on demand is more instinctive as you feed whenever the baby cries. The baby might be hungry and want to feed more on certain days so it's easier to just follow the cues. However, there will be times it seems the baby will not stop latching! I have had days of cluster feeding, this is where baby keep latching during the evenings for a few hours. It's not due to low milk supply but baby's way to boost production of breast milk and their growth spurts.
11 ) Pump - Pumping is a way to boost breast milk but be careful not to pump too much. Having engorgement is no fun at all and having leakages all the time is not a good idea too.
12) Be wary of problems
Sore or cracked nipples - Apply breast milk or nipple cream
Engorgement - Apple ice packs or place cabbage slices on your breast. Eating cabbage is fine so don't get confused!
Mastitis - If your breast is red, hot and swollen or have a lump, contact the doctor immediately. It may be due to breast infections.
Thrush - Fungi problems that can be spread to the baby. Watch our for pink, flaky, shiny, itchy or cracked nipples.
13) Wear loose fitting clothes - Wear loose fitting clothes because your nipple are going to be real sore for all the latching. If you have loose sports bra, it will come in handy when you have visitors and to prevent leakage.
14) Eat right - Supply can be boosted with the right diet and you can check out the top 5 breast milk boosting food.
15) Drink more water - Stop propagating the myth that mums should not take water. It is essential to hydrate your body in order to produce more milk. Just don't take cold water will do.
I looked forward to my private shower moments during those days
16) Shower please - Breastfeeding causes mums to sweat no matter what, so it is of top priority to clean yourself properly. Breast infections could also be caused by hygiene so please shower, but blow your hair and don't catch a cold.
17) Rest - Sleep is something you are definitely deprived of. Not to forget, you are still recovering from your own stitches from the delivery so you are still a patient too. Don't feel guilty of leaving the housework to other people, it's not time to worry about this.
18) Stop when it hurts - If your nipple is still painful after the first 3 days, the latch is most likely wrong. Don't continue to do the wrong things, seek help or change your position. It's detriment to both mummy and baby!
19) Mix with formula - Not everyone will get their breast milk supply in the first few days, I have friends who waited 1 month before they get their flow of breast milk. Never let your baby starve, it's ok to take formula milk because there is nothing else you can do.
20) Take some time off - Being a 'cow' every day can make anyone go insane so do take some time off for yourself. Post natal depression is very real so take a break, be yourself instead of someone's mum if you feel really bad. Go ahead and cry, it's just natural.
Now you know how a cow feels!
This article by Stanford Medicine is really good with pictures and instructions so do read them if you need more help. To all mothers, jiayou and remember, pain is short lived and you will definitely be stronger after which!