Top tips Breastfeeding
You’ve decided to breastfeed your baby and should be that simple right? I mean, how hard could it be, it’s simple you think, you just have to plug him into your breast and that’s it. Well Breastfeeding is far from simple, sorry to break this truth to you. Many have struggled and, it’s not totally painless, some point or another you might feel discomfort. I’ve got a nice post called “Breast pain when breastfeeding” about problems that could arise, please have a look at it should you ever feel any discomfort. So, in order to ease a bit this amazing journey (yet not a straightforward one) I’ve got here for you my top tips Breastfeeding.
Unless they hurt or they are engorged, massage your breasts before and after each feed like if you were playing with dough (not too rough though!). I know you are thinking I’m nuts or that I’m writing late around midnight when I should be in bed (looking at the lower right of the screen I can see that in fact it is), but it’s for a good reason! Massaging them has many advantages like:
- Helps to increase more milk
- Helps to prevent blocked milk ducts
- Slows down and prevents the sagging of breast skin and tissue.
There’s actually something called Breast compression which helps the baby to suck milk or even to subtract milk by yourself, it’s massage with fairly light pressure with movements from inwards to outwards the nipple. I actually did that the same day of my delivery, it helped my baby to start breastfeeding.
Hydrate and repeat
This is common sense, if it’s recommended that a non breastfeeding person needs to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, imagine how much a breastfeeding mum might need? We are giving our own liquid and nutrients of our bodies to our little one!
I used to wonder why I was so thirsty all the time and being so hungry after one of those cluster-feeding nights. When we are hungry we go and get something to eat but I think we normally skip drinking water more often than we want to admit.
I remember a midwife told me to drink a glass of water every hour or so. I try to do that but sometimes I forget, but the body and the baby does remind you about it and not in a nice way! You are taking care of yourself in order to be able to take care of another little person. So please remember to drink water or tea often.
Beware of some teas
Some tea are high on caffeine, and some have not so good properties that could pass on to baby through milk, or could actually reduce your milk production. Here’s a useful list from Kellymom.com about which herbs used for teas we should avoid (for more information, click on the link highlighted above):
- Peppermint (Months piperita)/Menthol
- Star anise
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
- Dong Quai (Angelica Root)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Lemon Balm
Now, there’s also good teas that actually help to increase milk production like Fenugreek, Fennel, Stinging nettle, Goat’s rue, Alfalfa, Milk thistle, Anise, Marshmallow root, Blessed Thistle, Red Raspberry leaf, Coriander, Caraway, Verbena, and my favourite, Rooibos, which not only helps with milk production but boosts the immune system as it’s high on Vitamin C, and has soothing properties for colicky babies too!
Avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks
Well we knew that alcohol is a big no no during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, but what about fizzy drinks?
Most of the fizzy drinks are full of sugar and acidic components, also lots of gas. Sugar in excess is not good and in my experience, carbonated drinks would make my baby have trapped wind and would be so upset and in pain.
I believe he was a bit colicky but me drinking the odd coca cola affected him greatly so I try to drink just two sips now and then (I normally share a can with my husband who would drink most of it).
Also, it happens when I drink milkshakes, I suspect I’ve developed milk intolerance as every time I eat cream, drink milk or milk derivatives as milkshakes (one of my favourite drinks unfortunately) and lattes, it upsets my stomach so much that I either have diarrhea and feel bloated and with lots of wind and stomach cramps. Apparently it passes to my baby as he feels a milder (yet some) reaction too.
Alternate left and right
One thing that helped me was to alternate breasts when feeding. I’ve learned it in the hard way when the first nights I would feed my baby from the same side all night long, as we co-sleep I felt so lazy/tired to move and grab baby and put him on the other breast.
What happened? Well I woke up with massive engorgement on the side I didn’t breastfeed that night! And believe me it is painful as hell, you don’t really want to go through that.
So even if you are tired, try to feed him in one breast until it’s almost empty, then switch breast if your baby is still hungry, or just remember to breastfeed on that other side in the next feed.
Avoid sleeping on compressing tops/bras
Once or twice I slept on my tight breastfeeding bras in summer as it was so hot I couldn’t bear sleeping in my pyjamas or breastfeeding tops. I made a huge mistake.
I woke up with lumps on the side it was compressed, also consequently I experienced engorgement and mastitis.
Now I use tops and sometimes very comfortable bras that aren’t tight at all (and doesn’t offer much support, you can’t always win) for sleeping or for walking around the house. They are also very easy to open for access to feedings.
So, these are so far my tips for you, I hope I helped saving you from experiencing some of those moments I went through.
Breastfeeding is a unique experience, there’s no full stories alike, but there are little common problems that affect all nursing mums around the world. So any little advice is helpful for all those who are yet to go through them.
Do you have any advice or recommendation you want to share with us? Please write a comment below, we like reading from you and share experiences and advice.
With light and joy,