Hints and Tips
In advance of the day here are some hints and tips that we’ve put together to help to make the whole experience flow (pun intended).
-Weather and climate permitting, topless sunbathing before and after birth is a great way to help to toughen nipples especially if thrush is a problem.
-Feed on demand, follow your baby’s cues. Don’t wait ’til their hand is in their mouth, you want to feed them when they’re calm to establish a good latch. It is especially very important to feed them often during the first few weeks after birth to establish a good milk supply.
-Cluster feed in the evening to get a longer stretch at night.
-There might be days (and nights!) when your baby will want to feed much more often than usual as they go through a growth spurt. This can be a bit worrying at first, because you might think you do not have enough milk, but it is actually rarely the case. In fact, your milk supply adapts to your baby’s needs.
-Drink plenty of water and eat a good protein source with every meal to establish a good milk supply, protein shakes are a good substitute when you’re on the run or as a supplement to diet. Always have some water and a healthy snack within easy reach and sit or lie down comfortably while feeding.
-To increase milk supply eat oats in your diet, take fenugreek capsules or make a tea from the seeds and take Brewers Yeast.
-Take a good prenatal multivitamin before and for a few months after birth to guard against nutritional deficiencies.
-Take high dose zinc i.e. 100mg a day for 6-7 days after the birth of your child to help encourage milk production and also to help with the hormonal rollercoaster after birth. Start within a few hours of delivery (or as soon as you can remember!) and continue for 5-6 days. This is to rebalance the zinc levels in your body as one of the things that triggers labour is zinc moving from your body into the placenta and copper levels rising in the body. Traditionally women ate the placenta after birth to rebalance things but most people prefer the supplement!
-If baby is colicky drink fennel or dill tea or any of the good nursing teas available. Pukka and Holle are excellent brands. You can also give fennel tea to your baby, start off with a teaspoon of cooled brewed tea a couple of times a day and gradually build up to a couple of tablespoons.
-Breastfeeding should not be painful, if your nipples get sore while feeding, more than likely your baby is probably not latched properly. Multi-Mam Compresses give direct relief for the discomforts experienced by breastfeeding mothers such as painful or cracked nipples, sensitivity and pain. Those of us who know these things have found them to be a lifesaver.
-For threatening mastitis put the breast into a jug of hot water and gently rub towards the nipple with the heal of your hand working your way around the breast in 12 segments like a clock. A big handful of marshmallow root or oats added to hot water make it slippery to ease massage.
-A fantastic book every woman keen to breastfeed should read: The womanly art of breastfeeding, from La Leche League International.
And finally Support – support is very important! Midwives are very helpful during your maternity stay in hospital, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from your public health nurse. Having help at home from family and friends is also crucial, not only to help with cleaning, cooking and taking care of baby, but also to allow you to get some time to take care of yourself and to boost your confidence in continuing with your breastfeeding journey.
So give the above some thought if you’re experiencing any difficulties or apprehension around breastfeeding. Remember that you and your baby were made for this but don’t be afraid to look for help and support if and when you need it, there’s lots out there. And maybe start by coming in to Only Natural for a chat on the 7th October.