Posted on May 12 2018
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experince and gives your baby a great start to life and is a good chance to relax and bond with your baby. Whilst some new mums breeze through breastfeeding for the first time, others find it a big challenge. For me, breastfeeding was a skill that I found very challenging and at times painful. In reality it can be a frustrating and at times painful skill that can take time and lots of practice to master. The good news is that most, not all, breastfeeding problems can be overcome with perserverance.
When my first baby was born I had unrealistic expectations - I thought breastfeeding was going to be easy and felt like a failure when I experienced difficulties. I seeked out the help of the midwives at the hospital and spoke to other mums who were breastfeeding and soon realised that I wasn't alone. I think it took about 6 weeks until I reached the point where I felt comfortable breastfeeding. It is recommended that you breastfeed as soon as possible after the birth of your baby. There are lactation specialists in most hospitals so they and the midwives are a great source of help. I remeber having 3 nurses around me showing me how to position my baby (lol).
If you choose to breastfeed let your nearest and dearest know that breastfeeding is important to you. This will increase your chances of having a support group immediately around you. Advice on breastfeeding has changed over the years so it is very possible that your mum or your grandmother have different advice that they received all those years ago. If you have already left the hospital and you need some help with breastfeeding you can find lactation specialists in your local yellow pages or through your local hospital. The Australian Breastfeeding association also offer phone support.
Your breasts will need a lot of care when breastfeeding. Wearing a comfortable bra that gives a good amount of support will help reduce the chance of back and shouler discomfort. Expressing a small amount of milk and rubbing it gently on your nipples during the early days of breastfeeding is supposed to help nipple grazes. If you do experience painful, lumpy breasts make sure you seek medical help as some new mums do get a blocked duct or mastitus which can be very painful and impede your milk flow.
I found that breastfeeding in a quiet location helped me feel relaxed during the few weeks (although this can be difficult, if not impossible when you also have a toddler). Breastfeeding can become a heated issue (literally) as your body tempreature rises, so if possible sit in a cool location and wear comfortable, lightweight clothes. There are various styles of breastfeeding clothes available to purchase online or in maternity clothing stores which are specifically designed for breastfeeding mums. Choose fabrics that are made from natural fibres such as cotton or bamboo rather than synthetic fabrics which will make you feel hotter and sweat. Make sure you have a tall glass of water handy as you may feel very thirsty during or after breastfeeding. Investing in a comfortable pair of maternity and breastfeeding pyjamas will ensure you keep your tummy covered when breastfeeding whilst allowing easy access to the breast. They are also great during your hospital stay when visitors and medical staff are coming and going.