After having my son, I was lucky to have someone who came to teach me how to breastfeed. The patience shown and the helpful tips that were given to me made breastfeeding a pleasurable experience for myself and my baby. While breastfeeding can be the most natural, wonderful experience for many mothers and babies, I have heard stories from friends who were not given any guidance after having their babies and this caused them to abandon breastfeeding earlier than planned.
The World Health Organization and Ministry of Health advise exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a babies life. To encourage new mums who are just starting out, we at Mamalette have collated information that should prove useful to you in your desire to breastfeed your child.
Tip 1: Your first week of breastfeeding may be painful but is definitely gets better
While the mental image of your newborn suckling on your breasts as he enters the world is ideal, in reality, many new mothers can expect to feel at least a little pain for the first few weeks. This could be attributed to latching issues where your baby has difficulty in putting your nipple in her mouth. This can result in sore nipples and your baby not getting enough milk.
It is easy to feel discouraged at this age but patience and encouragement from your spouse or close relatives can help overcome this problem. The best advice for you is to not quit even if things are not going well. With perseverance breastfeeding should become a pleasurable experience for you and your baby.
Tip 2: You should learn how to prevent yourself from getting blocked ducts or mastitis
Blocked ducts occur when something has stopped your milk from flowing freely in that area.
This can lead to mastitis when the blocked duct hasn’t be cleared and the trapped milk becomes infected or causes inflammation.
Blocked ducts may be caused by wearing very tight bras, if you’ve been sitting for hours with a seatbelt across your breasts, if you’ve slept in an awkward position e.g. on your stomach, or if your baby is not latching on properly or is not feeding enough.
It is important to prevent blocked duct by avoiding the causes listed above. Also try to ensure that your breasts are emptied out regularly. If you baby is not emptying your breasts try to express.
Try and treat a blocked duct as soon as you can to avoid the development of mastitis or worse.
Tip 3: Your diet will affect the flavor of your breast milk
Your diet can also affect the taste of your milk and your baby might like some tastes more than others. While your baby probably became used to most of the things you ate regularly while you were pregnant, there may still be some foods he or she just doesn’t like when they appear in your breastmilk. Some mothers notice that their babies reject their breastmilk or throw up regularly when they eat certain foods. Taking precaution and being observant is recommended to ensure breastfeeding is beneficial for yourself and your baby.
Tip 4: Learn to talk to other women about their experiences
Some of the most useful tips I learnt about breastfeeding was from talking to other women. Ask other women around you, your mum, mother in law, aunties, cousins, friends etc about their experiences of breastfeeding. This willl help you to get a true picture of what it’s like and make you prepared.
While the above are just a few tips on breastfeeding. It is important to do your research and talk to your doctor if necessary about any concerns that you have. Doing so can make your breastfeeding experience a pleasurable one.
For the more experienced readers what tips will you offer a new mum who is just starting to breastfeed?