Are you a new mum? Here are some expert advice on breastfeeding your little one from Jane Barry, a registered nurse, midwife and child health nurse:
1. Don’t expect it to always be easy, but do expect it to be worth it.
Firstly, take a deep breath and try to relax – you probably know more than you think you do.
The human race has survived for around 200,000 years, largely as a result of the love and care mothers have invested into their children. When in doubt do what feels right and seems to makes sense.
Not only is breastfeeding the most nutritious milk for your baby, but it also has a range of health benefits for you. From helping to lose pregnancy weight to reducing your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, breast feeding provides protective benefits.
Breastfeeding is even protective against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
2. Follow your baby’s lead. Breastfeeding involves two people to make it work.
They may only be little, but babies are also very clever. Breastfeeding isn’t just about the mother but also about her baby’s experience as well. Some babies seem to know exactly what to do, and others need a little more help. Every baby is an individual. Just because you may have had problems breastfeeding in the past does not mean you will again.
Support can go a long way to making a difference when parenting is stressful. Be kind to each other and yourself too. Comparisons are often unhelpful and the truth is that most of us should do the best we can with what we have at the time. Just remember that every baby and breastfeeding experience is different.
3. Any amount of breastfeeding is valuable. Even if you’re not fully breastfeeding, whatever breast milk your baby is getting has health benefits.
You’ve just created and birthed a human being. A pretty major accomplishment no matter how everyday it may be. Don’t be disheartened if one, two or a few breastfeeds are challenging. The key is to be patient, seek support and give yourself and your baby time to get to know each other.
When it comes to feeding your baby nothing compares with breast milk, so any amount your baby gets is invaluable. During the first few days, try and feed as often as you can - allowing lots of skin to skin contact and frequent breastfeeds. This will encourage your milk to come in and support emotional connections between you and your baby.
4. Keep on breastfeeding for as long as you and your baby are happy.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complimentary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for advice. Lactation specialists, midwives and child health nurses are specially trained to help you. Whether it’s checking your baby’s attachment in the first few days after birth or during an appointment to check on your baby’s feeding, there’s no reason to feel alone. Never hesitate to ask for support and guidance.
5. Don’t let breastfeeding eclipse all the other great things you’re doing as a mother.
Although it’s incredibly important, it’s equally as important as the love, attention and security you’re giving your little one as well.
Avoid stressing over things which really don’t matter; so much energy can be saved by just allowing ourselves not to let everyday things overwhelm us. Every so often it’s just fine to have what I call “an 80% day”, where conserving 20% just for you is the most sensible thing to do.
Also remember to look after yourself. Be sure to rest and sleep as much as possible; drink lots of water and eat well. Try not to skip meals whilst breastfeeding which will help to maintain your energy.
If the walls are closing in at home, then go for a walk. Fresh air and a change of scenery could really turn your perspective around. But be mindful though that if you’re struggling and not enjoying motherhood, speak with a healthcare professional. There’s heaps of support and help available and it all starts with a simple phone call.
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Philips AVENT Ambassador Jane Barry, a registered nurse, midwife and child health nurse speaks to Motherpedia, sharing her advice and top 5 tips on breastfeeding for new mothers.
Reference: Source (from question 4):
- https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/how-long- should-i- breastfeed-my- baby