Tips for breastfeeding success
You’re holding your brand new baby in your arms, feeling a huge rush of love, but the whole process of breastfeeding is proving trickier than you thought it would be.
Breastfeeding expert and author Pinky McKay is the first to admit that this most natural of acts can be difficult to start with.
And she should know. Having breastfed her own five children, she knows first-hand the challenges and joys of mothering through breastfeeding.
While breastfeeding is natural, it’s also a learned skill, says Pinky – meaning preparation is key!
“It’s like riding a bike or driving a car. You wouldn’t simply hop on a bike or get in a car and expect to cruise off without any instruction or preparation, would you?
“By preparing for breastfeeding you give yourself a much better chance of beating the ‘booby traps’ and getting through the early days more easily,” she says.
- Related: How to survive your first year of parenthood
- Related: How to deal with the pressure of feeding a newborn
Read books and watch videos about breastfeeding
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant says it’s best to learn about breastfeeding before you have a crying, hungry baby in your arms.
“Read a good book about basic breastfeeding – how milk is made; how to tell when your baby is hungry; how to tell your baby is getting enough milk; and how to boost your breast milk supply.
“And watch videos of babies breast feeding and go to a breastfeeding class,” she advises.
“The Australian Breastfeeding Association offers antenatal breastfeeding classes, free counselling and support groups, where you can talk to women who are happily breastfeeding, so you can get positive, helpful information, rather than horror stories.”
Get to know ‘the girls’ (your boobs)
Diabetes, thyroid disorders and inverted nipples or widely spaced, tubular or uneven breasts can make breastfeeding more difficult, says Pinky.
“It can be helpful to see a lactation consultant and create a breastfeeding plan before you have your baby,” she says.
“Getting support early can make a huge difference to your experience. I like to say ‘every breastfeed is a success’ – however much milk you can give your baby or how long you breastfeed.
“Even a teaspoon of breastmilk has millions of germ-killing cells.”
Set aside time
You should plan to do nothing but learn to breastfeed for the first two weeks or so of your infant’s life, advises Pinky.
“Netflix and chill has a whole new meaning,” she smiles. “Set up your feeding station and a feeding basket – with snacks, water bottle, breast pads, phone and the TV remote.
“Most importantly, surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and offer practical help, such as meals, laundry and shopping.
“A supportive partner is a huge factor in your breastfeeding success, so discuss with your partner how they can support you – taking time off work, censoring visitors, allowing you to rest, feeding you and being positive about breastfeeding can all help – and never asking ‘are you sure you have enough milk?’”
- Related: How dads can share the care
Find Pinky’s free ebook ‘Making More Mummy Milk, Naturally’ here.
Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.
Written by Liz McGrath.