A few handy do’s and don’ts of breastfeeding
There are many myths about breastfeeding and you’ll hear many opinions on what to do, how to do it and personal experiences. With all the information on the internet, from your doctors and nurses it can all be a bit overwhelming. So I decided to compile a short and simple list of common “do’s“ and don’ts”.
- Relax! It is sooo important for you to relax while you breastfeed. Make sure you’re seated comfortably, with enough support so your arms aren’t tensed. Some mums use normal cushions (like myself) or you can buy breastfeeding pillows specifically designed to position your baby for a feed and reduce strain to arms, neck and back. They’re made in a range of fabrics and prices. You’ll find a range of shapes, sizes and prices at any good baby store.
- Sit and enjoy connecting with your baby. This time is not forever and is very precious, so put all things aside and focus on you and your little one.
- Stay hydrated. Breastmilk is about 90% water so it’s important to drink water to ensure you remain hydrated. I tried to organise to have a bottle of water handy to sip on if I felt thirsty while I breastfed.
- I know it sounds crazy but in between the feeds and nappy changes you sometimes forget to feed yourself or don’t have the time to sit down to a good meal. Make sure you have a lot of healthy quick snacks at your disposal to munch on throughout the day. Some good options to keep on hand are:
- Raw nuts, such as almonds, cashews and walnuts.
- Fresh seasonal fruit, such as apples, pears, oranges and bananas.
- Raw vegetables, such as celery and carrot sticks, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado.
- Plain Yoghurt
- Cheeses such as sliced cheddar or tasty cheese
- Wholemeal or wholegrain bread
- Unsalted brown rice crackers
You can make yourself a quick healthy sandwich, cheese and crackers, fruit salad with yoghurt or just grab a handful of raw nuts to keep you going whilst still being healthy.
- Don’t stress – Easier said than done I know! Stress comes in all shapes and forms for mums, and its no surprise with so much to do and so much to juggle while you cater to the needs of a newborn. Try to focus on the task at hand, especially while you breastfeed your bundle of joy. If at any stage of the day you feel overwhelmed take a time out, a few deep breathes in and out, step outside the front door for a breath of fresh air, it can all do wonders. You need to be relaxed both in mind and body, and just keep in mind, as busy and overwhelming as this period may be it will pass, and it will get easier, so hang in there, take it one day at a time. Keep your expectations of what you can achieve minimal and recruit as much help as you can.
- Don’t get disheartened – Breastfeeding is not as easy at it seems for all mums, and successful breastfeeding is dependent on many factors, some outside of our control. If you aren’t able to achieve the duration or level of breastfeeding you desired do not put yourself down, the main thing is you feed your baby. Your wellbeing is also important, and being a happy mum is a better thing than pushing yourself to breastfeed and suffering in the process. Always remember that medical advice and support in the form of your GP, pharmacist and especially lactation consultants are at your disposal to assist in any issues you may be facing at the time. A handy number to remember is also the Australian Breastfeeding Association National Breastfeeding Helpline, 1800 686 268, where you can speak with a mum who has breastfed at least one child and has a Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education.