Leading Irish lactation consultant gives you her brilliant advice
There is a common assumption that “breastfeeding is natural and therefore it should be easy” but this just simply isn’t the case. Breastfeeding is one of those things we are meant to learn during childhood by watching our mothers, aunties etc breastfeed...but for many women this hasn’t happened and so when they come to breastfeed they have little or no knowledge about it.
So… how do you get to the place where breastfeeding is easy and a pleasure? Well, firstly it is important to recognize that breastfeeding is something we need to learn, just like we learnt other skills in life such as driving a car or cooking. As with all things we learn, preparation, patience and persistence are the hallmarks of success and this applies to breastfeeding as well
Here are some suggestions to help ensure you have a positive breastfeeding experience:
Take a class before baby arrives!
Research shows that learning about breastfeeding before the baby arrives will increase your chances of success. Understanding the basics about breastfeeding will help you enormously when it comes time to actually breastfeed.
Immediate Skin to Skin contact after the birth
Skin to skin is an important first step in the breastfeeding process and most babies will latch and feed within the first hour after the birth.
Feed the baby whenever the baby wants to feed
Newborn babies don’t have a “routine”, they didn’t have a routine in the womb, so why would they have one within days of coming out? Newborn babies have small stomachs that fill up quickly, breast milk is then quickly and easily digested and so they get hungry and need want to feed again. In the first few weeks they need to feed quite regularly, at least every two hours or so, they need to do this because they are growing loads and putting on the pounds!
Make sure baby has latched on correctly to the breast
Take time to rest and recover from the birth and to learn the skill of breastfeeding
Surround yourself with support
If you are having problems access skilled breastfeeding help
Clare Boyle is a midwife & lactation consultant, her Preparing for Breastfeeding Class is available in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.