Here are 10 tips to help you breastfeed after that bundle of joy arrives:
1. 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.
2. Always be close to your baby
Sleeping in the same room as your baby will give you plenty of opportunities to breastfeed your baby. I can’t tell you the amount of times the midwives offered to take my baby away from me to put in the nursery. I firmly stood my ground and am so happy I did. When you get home, keep your baby in your room with you.
In the first few days you might need to massage your breasts to get the milk flowing and clear any ducts. The midwives will be able to assist you in this.
4. Rest up
You will need as much sleep as you can get. So as soon as your baby falls asleep, do the same! Forget about the washing, and dishes, and just focus on resting your body. If you can get someone to help you clean the house, like a relative or a cleaner for the first few weeks then do it.
5. Eat nutritious meals
You will need to refuel your body. Breastfeeding makes you ravenous, and you will need to increase your calorie intake. So if you have someone who is offering to help you out, let them bring you food. You can also ask your partner to help you prepare meals in advance, mason jar salads are a life saver. Or during the last few weeks of your pregnancy stock up on preparing food that can be frozen, and get that freezer full. Things like: spaghetti sauce, chicken schnitzel, soups, casseroles, lasagne. There are so many meals you can freeze.
6. Drink plenty of water
You will be super thirsty! Always have a bottle of water around, and ask your partner to help make sure these are refilled. A wonderful rule to follow is to drink a glass of water every time you nurse your baby.
7. Seek qualified advice
You may start to receive unwanted advice from an aunt or relative. Most of this advice will be completely uneducated and misinformed. Do not listen to people who think they are experts. Yes, it is good to talk to trusted friends and family who have been there before. But do not be afraid to seek expert advice from a qualified lactation consultant or a midwife. The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) runs the National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268) who can provide reassurance and give you knowledge about how breastfeeding works and help in overcoming common hurdles.
8. Make a breastfeeding zone
When you get home, pick a comfortable spot to turn into a breastfeeding station. Make sure you have all the necessities on hand: water, tv remote, nappies, snacks, phone charger, nightlight, nursing pillow, nursing pads, and anything else you may need within arm’s reach.
9. Limit visitors in the early weeks
If you can, limit visitors to your home so you can have plenty of time to relax and breastfeed. The last thing you want to be doing is entertaining visitors.
10. Stay calm
In my opinion, babies can sense your energy. The calmer you can be, the easier your milk will let down. I found that on the days my baby was unsettled, it was because I had something going on and I wasn’t calm. Look after your mental health. This is not the time to be biting off more than you can chew, be realistic with what you can and cannot do. Learn relaxation techniques such a deep breathing.