The first few hours are crucial in establishing the breastfeeding relationship.
First things first, get laid back and comfy… oh yes, fully comfy and let your marvellous baby find the breast. Skin to skin contact is amazing at helping the milk flow and allowing baby to explore and find the breast and the nipple. Here are some fantastic resources which show you more about this wonderful technique which is saving many breastfeeding relationship.
Watch this mind-blowing video showing a newborn baby initiating breastfeeding itself
Get ALL the SUPPORT you and your baby need and deserve
Whilst breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not uncommon for any mother, whether experienced or not, to come into some difficulty along the way. It is vital that you seek out support from those who can support you with the particular challenge that you are encountering. This is particularly crucial in the first few weeks whilst Breastfeeding is established for both the baby and the mother. Your midwife, both in the hospital and in the community, is there to support you emotionally and physically with the Antenatal period, which includes Breastfeeding. ALWAYS ask and INSIST on all the support that you need. If they can’t help you at that moment, seek support from another source until they can spend enough time with you.
Looking after your Breasts
We are not used to having a particularly intimate relationship with our breasts, but now is the time to start. Here are a few tips (not exhaustive)
If your nipples feel sore after feeds, express off a little bit of milk and rub that over your nipples Ensure, particularly in the early days when your milk comes in, that each breast is fully emptied before changing sides. Many problems occur because of blocked milk ducts. When your baby finishes a feed you can check your breast to see if there is any milk left using your hand to massage the breast. Feel around the breast with your thumb and forefinger. ALWAYS push towards the nipple. To ensure your breasts are well looked after you should be fitted by an experienced nursing bra fitter.
It is really important for those around you to be supportive of your decision to breastfeed, and particularly important for those you live with to play a key role in this. This doesn’t necessarily mean expressing so that the father can offer a feed, but really so that your needs are taken care of allowing you to breastfeed your baby when you need to.
This can be anything from asking you if you’d like a drink when you sit down to feed your baby; to preparing dinner; to giving you a massage; listening and understanding you through the challenges; tending to the baby’s care in other ways like bathing, changing nappies and burping (if necessary).
Attachment & Positioning Check List
Are you comfortable? Adjust your position and cushions until you are.
Let your breast lie naturally, a flat hand on your rib cage can provide some support if necessary, but is should not be necessary to squeeze or shape your breast, as this can cause bruising and blocked ducts.
Bring your baby towards your breast not vice versa Depending on your breast shape, the baby’s chest should face your chest. If you have larger breasts you may find the baby approaches the breast from below.
Your baby should have a straight back, i.e. its head will not be twisted round and the baby’s head should be slightly tipped back to make swallowing comfortable.
As the baby’s mouth opens wide, aim the nipple towards the roof of its mouth with the lower lip well away from the base of the nipple. Their mouth should be wide open with the bottom lip rolled out and down.
Your baby should be snuggled well into the breast with their chin in full contact. The muscles at the side of your baby’s face move as they suckle.
You can often see the baby’s ears move as well (their cheeks are not sucked in as if sucking on a teat). You can often see fast sucks change after a minute or two to deeper and slower glugs.
Your baby should be relaxed once the feed has started.
Does it hurt? Pain experienced at the start of feeds when your baby is very young usually passes as your nipples get used to stretching. If this continues, break the suction in the baby’s mouth with your little finger and try again or try another position. i.e. underarm, lying down etc.
If your nipples are squashed or misshapen after feeds re-check your technique. (Text from Sheffield NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor)
Local & National Support
Below is a list of support you can get with Breastfeeding. The local support is relevant to Sheffield, and National to England.
Local Support – Sheffield
Your Midwife or Health Visitor – Ask them for their contact details
Infant feeding Advisor – Sally Stanley 0114 226 8249 (Daytime answer phone)
Breastfeeding drop in sessions – Peer supporters attend these drop-in sessions and are a great resource to tap in to, as well as other breastfeeding mums. Ask your midwife for your nearest Breastfeeding support group or peer supporter. If you live Sheffield then I’m happy to meet up with you for a peer support session (I’m NCT trained volunteer peer supporter)
Jessop Wing – Antenatal Clinic Thursday 12.30am-3.30pm – Drop in clinc
Rotherham Central Children’s Centre Friday 10-12 – Drop in clinic 01709 336 660
Most Children’s Centres will have a breastfeeding support group or drop-in, contact your local one for times of the sessions. Contact 0114 281 1881 or EYECS@sheffield.gov.uk or visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/childrenscentres to find your local Children’s Centre.
NCT Breastfeeding Counsellors
Sophie MacFadyen 0114 268 3520
Helen Lang0114 236 5245
Ruth Oscroft 01246 450 074
National Support Lines
NCT National Breastfeeding support line 0300 33 00 771 (8am to 10pm)
Breast feeding Network Support line 0300 100 0210(9.30am to 9.30pm)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 08444 122949 / 0300 100 0212 9.30am to 10.30pm)
This group ALSO offer some email counselling to deal with non-urgent breastfeeding questions, although some situations are easier to discuss on the phone as they can ask about all the relevant details. If you do email them please include as much information as possible in your initial email including: Baby’s age and how they are currently fed so that they can more accurately reply to your questions or concerns. They aim to reply within a week. email@example.com
La Leche League 0845 120 2918
Health Talk online – interviews with different women about their experiences with breastfeeding
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – charitable organisation with all manner of up to date, well researched breastfeeding information and support
NHS – Video (full screen available) on information about the benefits and logistics of breastfeeding
Scotland NHS breastfeeding support – excellent video on Baby Led Feeding
Kelly Mom – Very comprehensive breastfeeding FAQs and troubleshooting problems
La Leche League – includes FAQs, forums
Breastfeeding Online – Handout guides to specific questions and issues
Watch a DVD about breastfeeding, issues and real life experiences
Biological Nurturing – A non-prescriptive recipe for breastfeeding, anapproach to breastfeeding based on semi-reclined positions that benefit mother and baby
Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to update any of the information provided here, or if you know of any other Breastfeeding support either locally or nationally
So many people have been through similar issues you may be experiencing, and because of that there are loads of helpful hints and tips available on Breastfeeding on the internet, but BEWARE of advice from well meaning friends online or in real life, as some information is not factually correct and could interfere with the breastfeeding relationship.