1. Get Comfortable
Make sure that you have everything you may need close to hand before you start feeding – think healthy snacks (like fruit, nuts, or granola), your phone, a muslin cloth, the TV remote and a drink. Use a comfy chair and grab some pillows to support your back and arms.
2. Look Out for Hunger Cues
Your baby will let you know when they’re hungry, look out for the following signs that they’re ready for a feed.
- Turning their head towards your breast and opening their mouth (this is called rooting).
- Putting their hands in their mouth.
- Clenching their hands.
- Puckering, smacking, or licking their lips.
- Making mummering sounds or crying.
3. Keep Hydrated & Nourished
It’s really important that you drink enough water when breastfeeding, but we know that remembering to eat and drink can be tricky when you’re a sleep deprived new mum.
Try to avoid sugary drinks and too much coffee or tea, as these contain stimulants like caffeine which can be passed on to your little one as they feed and interfere with their sleep. Aim to drink approximately 10 glasses of water throughout the day, as well as making sure you’re eating regularly to keep your energy levels up.
4. Skin to Skin
Breastfeeding is not just about feeding your little one, it’s also an opportunity to provide warmth, comfort and bonding time. Bringing skin to skin contact into your feeding regime is a great way to bond with your baby. It helps to regulate their body temperature, heart rate and breathing. They’ll be able to feel your comforting heartbeat, and the contact also helps you to produce more of the love hormone oxytocin, which encourages milk production.
5. Pump It
The more you pump, the more milk you'll produce. You can also express extra milk after or between feeding sessions and freeze it for another day. Freezing your milk also gives you flexibility, as it means your partner, family members or friends can feed your baby using a bottle while you take a well-deserved break.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Most new mum’s encounter issues at some point on their breastfeeding journey, so please don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t go to plan! Try not to compare yourself to others, remember that your journey is unique to you and you’re free to make your own decisions.
7. Take A Break
Self-care may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s so important that you spend some time thinking about you and your overall wellbeing. Rest and sleep when you can. Treat yourself to an hour of pampering while someone you trust watches the baby, maybe nip to the salon, get a postnatal massage, or go to the cinema with a friend. Take care of your nipples and breasts using balms and warm or cool compresses and seek medical advice if they become painful.
8. Ask for Help
Use your support system whenever you can and talk about how you’re really feeling. Try getting in touch with friends and family members for a chat, find a virtual village of other mums online, or ask your health visitor about local parent and baby groups that you can attend.
Remember that everyone’s breastfeeding story is different and if you’re struggling, there are resources you can go to for support and advice.