5 tips to a better Breastfeeding Experience
Guest blog post by Noelle Knoppert, lactation consultant.
Traditionally, breastfeeding is something we were all exposed to throughout our lives. However modern society has seen women feel the need to cover up, and as such, many women have no experience of breastfeeding until they have their own baby. You can prepare yourself somewhat by spending time with breastfeeding mums and similar minded parents (and parents to be). Join groups such as ABA or your local baby wearing group. Watch mums breastfeeding and don’t feel shy to ask if you are allowed to have a closer look.
Breastfeeding begins at birth.
Include your breastfeeding wishes in your birth plan. Let your midwife or doctor know you are very motivated to breastfeed your baby. Enjoy skin to skin contact as much as possible and as early as possible. You can ask the hospital if they are a ‘ baby friendly hospital’, meaning they actively promote the mother-baby bond.
Trust your ability to breastfeed, although also allow yourself to learn. There is no perfect breastfeeding mum, believe me. It’s a learning curve. On average it takes 6 weeks to get the basics. Don’t give up – with the right support you can do it!
Let baby lead the way!
Follow your baby’s cues.. You know your baby best, follow your heart. If s/he is unsettled, and you can’t figure out why, just offer the boob. This will usually help your baby calm down. As Jessica Nash once taught me, “If in doubt, flop it out!”
If you feel overwhelmed, ‘unplug’ yourself. Stay in bed with your baby. Close your eyes, and imagine being on an island with palm trees. No facebook, no parenting books, no well meaning family and friends with conflicting advice, no ‘ google’. Just you and your baby. Cuddle your baby and listen to what really matters to you. You know what you need. If your heart does tell you it’s all too tough, please ask for support. Ask someone that gives you more energy. Someone that will encourage you and help you grow. Someone that can simply be there and cook a nice meal so you can rest. Rest. Your body has just performed a miracle. Make life as easy as possible so you can enjoy this special time.