Every new momma out there has to decide whether she wants to breastfeed or bottle feed her new bubba.

Anyway, a number of my friends have recently started popping out babies left, right and centre – yay, welcome to my world! – and they’ve been asking me for breastfeeding advice and tips as I had successfully breastfed for over a year { I didn’t think it was for me and I didn’t really want to do it.  I even brought formula milk to the hospital but I gave it a go…and it somehow continued… }

breastfeeding tips

So I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience if there are newbie mamas out there who are needing a little bit of help with nursing.

1.  Newborns only need a few drops of breastmilk so if you cannot latch on properly, use a syringe as a temporary measure.

Immediately after giving birth, I decided to blackout and I couldn’t hold my baby and let her naturally latch onto my nipple and suck colostrum.  The midwife came round with a little syringe and…well…she milked me!  You lose all dignity when you give birth!  She then squirted the few drops of golden-syrup-like substance into Bunty’s mouth.  They only need tiny amounts at the start.

2.  Don’t be afraid to give formula milk if you need to.

So I struggled with breastfeeding for the first 2 days.  I let her suck directly onto my nipple but the problem is, she didn’t latch on properly.  She sucked for ages and ages till my nipple hurt like crazy.  My nipple got all cracked and bleedy.  I decided to stop then and there.  I refused to breastfeed her until my nipples had healed.  Instead, we gave her formula milk in a little plastic cup.  Yep, the nurses make you feel like you are committing a heinous crime and I had to sign a form to give myself consent to feed my child formula!  I did, however, try to hand express milk but it was only a few drops but I figured it was better than nothing.

3.  Use Multi Mums to allow cracked nipples time to heal

Your body is healing after childbirth so it may not deal with sore cracked nipples straight away.  Instead give it a helping hand by applying this oh-so-soothing compresses.  My cracked nipples would heal within 24 hours with these miraculous patches.  And I would sometimes use them in between those crazy growth spurt phases where they nurse constantly.  Yeah they are rather expensive but so worth it.  { Alternatively, you could try cold cabbage leaves }

4.  Get a good electric breast pump to express

Around day 4, my milk came in and my breasts were engorged but my nipples were still extremely sore.  I was still reluctant to have baby feed straight from boob.  Instead, I put my electric pump to good use to express milk into bottles and let others feed her.  I had the Medela Swing and it was good but it had its crazy moments where things went slightly haywire but that’s another post for another day.  { Please let me know if you want a more detailed review on it }  Yeah, I know people worry that newborns get nipple confusion but seriously, they aren’t that smart yet!  Well, at least, Bunty wasn’t…HAHA!

5.  See a breastfeeding consultant to identify issues and rectify them

No matter how many times you read about breastfeeding and watch videos on it, it doesn’t come as naturally as some people think it does.  I definitely needed a helping hand and after speaking to my maternal health child nurse and seeing a breastfeeding consultant – things started to click.  They helped me get into a more comfortable feeding position and supervised me during a feed to evaluate if I was doing anything wrong.  I couldn’t grasp the football position but I got the cradle position – and I started to understand why I needed to bring the baby’s mouth to my entire boob and not just bring my nipple into her mouth.  It’s all about latching on properly and all that jazz.  They are also not judgemental about anything which helped tons.

6.  Feed one side each feed

So I used to switch feeding sides every 10 minutes.  However, that was super annoying because it would mean having to break the latch with my finger inside bub’s mouth.  This would make her cry.  Instead, I felt it was better just to let her completely drain one boob per feed.  It meant that she was getting the real good creamy hindmilk stuff and not just the watery foremilk.

7.  Increase breastmilk supply by doing whatever works best for you

For me, this meant a lot of skin-to-skin contact with the baby, hot towel compresses on boobs before feeding and drinking lots of warm soy milk.  I occasionally supplemented with formula but even when I felt she sucked me dry, I still let her keep sucking on the boob because it helped increase my supply for the next feed.  And if I had extra milk, I would express it out and freeze it for later.  I have heard that fenugreek tablets and some magical cookies help but never tried them.

8.  Try and get comfortable during feeds because you should enjoy it too!

Do whatever you need to do to relax and get comfy because sometimes bubs will nurse for aaages!

We bought a rocking, reclining chair which I used for nursing during the day.  At night and the early hours of the mornings, I got comfy with lots of pillows and TV shows.  Now that there is Netflix, I highly recommend subscribing to that!

9.  It’s okay to be nervous about breastfeeding in public

I know some mums are loud and proud about nursing in public.  Rightly so.  But not everyone feels the same way.  I was nervous about breastfeeding in public.  Especially when we went travelling in Hong Kong where the culture is totally different.  For example, there are rarely any kissing scenes in Hong Kong TV series!  Anyway, this was resolved by using a nursing cover – which was a hand-me-down from my friend Di.  Unfortunately, it got stolen along with my handbag a few months ago – gurrrr! – so I can’t even save it for our next bub.

10.  You are in control so don’t let anyone or anything affect you

For example, if you fall ill and you want to stop nursing, do it.  But if you are worried if your illness will affect your breastmilk, it shouldn’t.  I continued nursing when I had nipple thrush, food poisoning times two and hand, foot and mouth disease.

Also, if want to to keep nursing your child till they are 5, then that is your choice.  I stopped when B turned one and if you want some weaning tips, I’ve written a post about my experience here.

That concludes my tips on breastfeeding but if you have anything to add or ask, please feel free to share in the comments section.

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