Whilst driving back from a children’s party last night I was listening to a conversation on the radio about breastfeeding, as it was World Breastfeeding Week from 1st – 7th August. World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration that is held every year in more than 120 countries worldwide and supports and empowers parents to enable breastfeeding.
I was lucky enough to exclusively breastfeed my son for the first year of his life and it was a time I cherished, from the midnight feeds, the afternoon cluster feeds and my favourite time of day, the bedtime feeds. However, it wasn’t always plain sailing and sometimes breastfeeding isn’t so we’ve asked some mama friends to give us their top tips, to help new mamas and mamas-to-be, who are hoping to breastfeed, make your breastfeeding journey a little easier for you.
“I think my top tip is to be relaxed with it. Every time my eldest is shouting or wants my attention and I’m getting stressed, my newborn suddenly finds it really hard to feed but if I’m calm and relaxed then she just feeds away. So try to feed at a time when you can be relaxed (as much as you possibly can)”
Jessica Walpole, Mama of 2 girls
“Nipple shields were a life saviour for me and I would highly recommend them, to let your nipples recover from the initial soreness of breastfeeding. Get advice on the latch as I thought my baby was on properly but he wasn’t getting enough boob in his mouth which is why it was hurting me.”
Victoria Edwards, Mama to a boy
“Don’t expect breastfeeding with your new baby to be established for a good month when it will begin to feel a little easier, it still took me this long with my third child. Also, don’t worry about a feeding routine, sometimes they may just want a little drink. Just get to know your babies cues and don’t get stuck on the feeding every 3-4 hours as it’s not a one size fits all! It’s the most amazing experience and it’s been worth every bit of nipple pain with all my three children!”
Faye Askew, Midwife and Mama to 3 boys
“Both you and your baby are new to the process, so take a deep breathe and try not to stress as it does get much easier, your milk will come. Day 1 to 4 can be the hardest, but when the milk comes it is a sigh of relief for all. They also say that the flavour of the milk is dependent on the food we eat, so eat a variety of food ready for weaning. Lastly, enjoy it, it is a chance to sit down with your feet up and enjoy the snuggles with your baby.”
Linda Tanner, Mama of 2 boys
“It is completely new and takes 4-6 weeks of learning but well worth it in the long run. Don’t buy any fancy nursing bras to begin with, as you can be sore and swollen so I lived in nursing crop tops that are so comfortable. Then you can treat yourself to some new underwear when your breast size settles.”
Alex Jones, Mama to a girl and boy
“My advice would be to not give up too quickly, it can be quite stressful if you find it difficult, be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help! I bottle fed my first baby and was lucky enough to breastfeed my second, so every baby is also very different, so don’t worry if it doesn’t work out, fed is best after all.”
Lucy Rich, Mama to a girl and boy
“I love the big swaddles. I found these really useful for covering up with when I’m out and about or for mopping up spilt milk. If you do feel embarrassed or haven’t got the hang of feeding when you are out and about, some places have exclusive feeding areas, like shopping centres, so it’s worth investigating before you set out on your travels. Planning makes it a little less stressful.”
Kelly McGuane, Mama to a boy and girl
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are some amazing breastfeeding consultants and support groups. I found getting naked really helped! In the first couple of weeks, just take your top off and put baby on you, it’s amazing they can find the milk themselves, so you can learn together before you head out in public. Remember to take a break if you and/or your baby is stressed but most of all enjoy it, it’s a beautiful, fun, amazing thing! If it doesn’t work this time, then try expressing or formula, but do whatever is right for you and your baby.”
Katie Cross, Mama to a boy and girl
“Always arm yourself with a drink, your mobile phone and the remote control!”
Caroline Marley, Mama to a boy
“I had a little bag that I kept nipple cream, pain killers, lip balm, hair band etc. with me when feeding so I always had everything I would need nearby. Make sure you also have plenty of water and snacks near you, as you need to keep up your energy to feed your baby and you get really thirsty.”
Zoe Bradbury, Mama to 2 girls
“Always pack spare nipple pads. It is worth paying for the more expensive brands to save on any embarrassing leaks!”
Emma Gilbert, Mama to a boy and girl
“Plenty of food and drink is essential as you cannot expect your milk supply to be rich and plentiful if you’re not getting the calories or hydration yourself. I had mastitis early on with my second baby as he wasn’t latching on properly. I knew something wasn’t right, so I was really persistent with getting help because I’d had mastitis with my first baby, I knew that having a raised temperature was something to look out for, so the minute I started to get the shakes and felt like I had the flu, I called the doctors to get medication.”
Sara Barron, Mama to 2 boys
For help, advice and support, as k your midwife, health visitor, children’s centre or GP for help. They can also tell you about other breastfeeding support available near you. You can also search online for breastfeeding support in your area, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 (9.30am-9.30pm daily).
See below for our top 5 products to make breastfeeding easier for you:
1. Muslins for coverups and spillages - the bigger the better!
2. A Pouch for all your essentials
3. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream - a lifesaver for sore nipples
4. Breastpads - we love these My January Baby reusable leopard print ones!
5. Water Bottle - the Liewood stainless steel water bottle has a thermal function and keeps liquids hot for up to 12 hours and cold up to 24 hours.