Planning on breastfeeding but not sure what to expect? We asked breastfeeding mamas who've been there to share their best tips, pointers, and words of wisdom for soon-to-be mums. Here's what they had to say:
1. Don't be surprised if it hurts (at first)
"Breastfeeding HURTS in the beginning. Your nipples are cracked and raw, your boobs are sore, and letdowns can be painful." "The first two weeks are the hardest. I remember standing in the shower wondering if it was going to hurt to shower for the next year until I weaned her. Now (after 10 months) it's not nearly as painful as it was those first weeks."
2. Practice makes perfect
"The answer to most nursing problems? More nursing! And get support — online, in person, professional, other nursing mamas — whatever it takes to get you through the tough spots."
3. Invest in some comfy nursing tanks and bras (you'll be living in them soon)
"Stock up on nursing tanks. They are so easy and you don't have to pull up your shirt. You can layer them under a zip-up, hoodie, or cardigan." - Hint Modibodi’s Maternity range is the ideal wingwoman here!
4. Moisturize those nips!
"Lanolin cream: buy it now. It also works as an excellent lip gloss!" "If you want to save on nipple cream, try using olive oil and your own breast milk for healing those chapped, painful nipples!"
5. Create a breastfeeding station
"Set up a breastfeeding station and know that you could spend up to 10 hours a day there in the beginning. I have a radio, iPod, a large bottle of water, a notebook to track feedings, and wet/dirty diapers a remote control fan in front of us, breast pads, and pillows”
6. Don't be afraid to breastfeed in public
"The best thing my baby did to me was to force me to nurse in public. Once I had, it didn't feel like that big a deal and was very freeing to feel like I could go anywhere with him and not worry about it." "Breastfeed in public however you're most comfortable doing it (with a cover, blanket, etc.). If you're always having to change plans or sit alone, it will feel like much more of a chore." Remember that breastfeeding — even in public — is a beautiful thing, so don't be embarrassed. And that BFing on a Westfield toilet is not as fun as doing it on the bench outside the bathroom!"
7. Look for early Feeding Cues
Early cues are very simple to spot. Feed your baby when:
Later feeding cues such as head bobbing, hands to their mouth, circling arms and feet and crying make it more difficult to latch your baby. Do it whilst they are sleepy and dopey.
- They just start to wake - you will find it easier to put them on your breast
- Their tongue starts to poke out
- They turn their head from side to side looking for a nipple
8. Look into lactation consultants — before baby comes
"Get the number for a lactation consultant with a good reputation or the number for your local Lactation Group before you have your baby. By the time you're having issues, you may be too upset/tired/frustrated to look up numbers."
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate...
"It's super-imperative to drink plenty of water. I got lazy with this early on and almost lost all my milk."
10. Be Careful Where You Take Advice From
People will offer you opinions or advice whether you want it or not. Be careful what you do with it. Though you may have been advised with best intentions, the thinking and knowledge on breastfeeding has come a long way even in the last 10 years. So though someone might be trying to help, they might be giving dodgy advice. Best to check and cross-reference with either a professional (lactation consultant or breastfeeding advisor be it a postpartum doula or volunteer) or one of the evidence-based websites.