I am still breastfeeding my daughter well into toddlerhood and the experience has been so rewarding watching my child thrive and grow.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed even before falling pregnant. While I was pregnant the thought did seem daunting to me. I came from a small family and was the first of my cousins to fall pregnant, and the first in my friendship circle too. I had not really seen anyone breastfeed their baby in front of me.
Although breastfeeding is natural, it doesn't always come easily and is a learned art. Like any new skill, you will get better with practice.
Here are my 6 tips for success:
1. Get educated BEFORE the baby arrives
I can't stress this enough. Let me tell you when that baby comes you won't have time to shower let alone read up on breastfeeding. Most babies breastfeed within an hour of being born, so it pays to learn what to do well before your baby is due. Please guys if you do any online research, make sure you are seeking good quality information from reliable sources. I would recommend reading some good books instead though. Learn about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, and all the facts and myths. Mentally preparing yourself is so important.
2. Sign up to a breastfeeding course
During your second trimester you may attend a breastfeeding course. The NHS and breastfeeding support groups such as La Leche League UK offer some amazing courses. Run by a qualified educator they will cover important content like: the first feed, skin-to-skin contact, positioning, attachment, milk supply, partner roles and common concerns. They will allow plenty of time for questions and will give you information to take home with you.
3. Stock up on the necessities
Look, lets me real here, you don’t really need anything to breastfeed other than a comfortable chair. But if you want to be super prepared here is a list of some items which you may want to purchase: a few nursing tops (or button ups) that are easy to pull down, a few good supportive nursing bras, nursing pads, cream for sore nipples and frozen gel packs. Some mums also find it helpful to have a rocker, a sling, a pump, breast milk storage bottles or bags, or a nursing pillow, but you can do fine without these.
4. Be educated about how labour can affect breastfeeding
You can improve your odds for successful breastfeeding if you can reduce or limit interventions during labour. Attend the labour course run by your hospital to get more information and ask plenty of questions.
5. Know your body
Check to see whether you have inverted nipples. Do not worry if you have inverted nipples, just know that there are devices which you may need to use to help you.
6. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after you deliver.
Babies who are breastfed within the first hour generally have more successful breastfeeding experiences than those who aren’t. Give plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
Nina Belle (aka Judgy Mummy), is a 30-year-old Australian blogger, wife and mother. A breastfeeding advocate, Nina is successfully breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter. Passionate about breastfeeding she aims to inspire and encourage other women to breastfeed their children well into toddlerhood. Nina also writes about pregnancy, baby topics, parenting and fun DIY activities. Her blog is www.judgymummy.com.