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Being a first-time parent can be an overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. While it's a natural process, it can sometimes be a little challenging. That's why we have put together this blog post to help new parents navigate the world of breastfeeding.
Keep reading for useful tips and tricks that will make the process easier and help you feel confident as you start your breastfeeding journey.
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.
Your baby will let you know when they're hungry, look out for the following signs that they're ready for a feed.
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 parent.
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.
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.
It's also important to find the right position, this will make sure both you and your baby are as comfortable as possible.
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.
Most new parents 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.
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.
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 parents 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.
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This guide is here to help you understand what causes clogged milk ducts and to let you know what you can do about them.
Breast Engorgement: How to Help
We've written this guide to explain why breast engorgement happens and to help you learn how to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms that come with it, whether you're breastfeeding or not.