Nursing Tips: Nourish Your Baby, Nurture Yourself
Eight nursing tips given by lactation specialists...
13 September 2017
It’s easy to assume that mothers and babies instinctively know how to breastfeed, but that’s not true for everyone. Each mother and each baby is different, so the experience is highly individual; what works for one nursing mama may not work for another!
If it isn't always easy to breastfeed your baby, you're not alone. Many nursing mums find it takes both time and practice to find the best position and to perfect the art of latching on.
Luckily, there are books on breastfeeding and you have the option of consulting a lactation specialist if you have trouble nursing. Here are a few tips for tackling frequently encountered breastfeeding challenges:
• One lactation consultant advises you not to push the back of your baby's head when you’re guiding them to your breast, because the baby will instinctively chomp down.
• Point your nipple at your baby’s nose, not mouth. The baby will lift her head up, open her mouth wide, and latch on well. Make sure the baby's mouth covers a large part of the underside of your nipple.
• If you’re in hospital, ask the nurse or lactation consultant to check how the baby latches on. It shouldn't be painful if you have the right position.
• When you’re deciding when and how often to feed, follow your instincts rather than a schedule. Learn to recognise the early signs that your baby is getting hungry, (rooting around searching for your nipple; putting his or her hand in their mouth; and looking increasingly alert). That way he or she won’t suck as hard as they will if they’re ravenous.
• There’s a theory that babies feel more secure when their feet are touching something, and that this can translate into easier nursing. Try to make sure that their feet are resting on your arm or another surface while you breastfeed.
• Consider using a nursing pillow; it’ll help with positioning and reduce the strain on your back, neck, and shoulders.
• It’s important to stay hydrated so that you make enough milk. One option is to drink small quantities of water while you’re breastfeeding.
• A very real problem for some women, sore, cracked nipples make breastfeeding painful. There are nursing creams that can help. Just apply a small amount to your nipples after breastfeeding, or as needed. Whatever you use, make sure its safe for your baby to ingest; that way you don’t need to wash the cream off before you breastfeed. The following ingredients are safe for your baby, and kind to your tender nipples! Cocoa butter is a rich, natural moisturiser that leaves skin soft and silky, while Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce the appearance of imperfections on the skin. Pro Vitamin B5 helps by soothing sore, cracked skin.
The most important tip of all: Relax. Understand that you’re both learning about breastfeeding, and remember you can always seek the advice of an expert.