While experts suggest that breastfeeding is best for babies, nursing is definitely not an easy endeavour for mothers, especially when mothers have to deal with engorgement and fussy babies.
Luckily, there are some methods and techniques for breastfeeding mommas that make feeding smoother and more comfortable.
Whether you’re a first-time mum, or someone who’s getting into breastfeeding again, here are 7 tips for you to make the process an enjoyable bonding opportunity for you and your baby.
Create a breastfeeding station
Before your baby arrives, have a nursing station set up for them. This is where you will spend most of your time with your newborn. Hence, we recommend that you choose a comfortable nursing chair and a nursing pillow, as well as a side table where you can place your phone, a bottle of water, a burp cloth, or even a good book.
It may be helpful if you place it in a corner where there’s an electrical outlet, in case you need to charge your gadgets.
Cabbage leaves reduce breast engorgement
All mums experience engorgement, especially in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. This may seem strange, but using cabbage leaves has been proven to reduce breast engorgement.
It’s recommended to leave chilled cabbage leaves on your breasts for no longer than an hour, as it might decrease milk supply if left on for longer than that. If pain persists, the application process can be repeated every 2-3 hours!
Baby should have a good mouthful of breast
To encourage your baby to open their mouths completely, try tickling their mouths with your finger first. Remember to always wash your hands before breastfeeding!
Once their mouths are completely opened, bring your breast to your baby’s mouth, instead of leaning in toward the baby. It’s good to take note of your position when feeding your baby, as not getting it right can cause back and neck pain. Ensure that your baby’s chin and the tip of her nose should be on the breast. Your baby should be tummy to tummy with you too.
If you find this position hard to achieve, you may use a pillow to elevate the baby to nipple height. You’ll know if it’s a good latch when you only see the outer part of your areola!
Get a hands-free breast pump
Breastfeeding is almost as time-consuming as a full-time job. It’s difficult when you want to do chores but aren’t able to do so as you have to stay put and feed your baby, or stay seated in a chair and pump milk. So if you’re willing to invest a little for your convenience, try the Elvie breast pump.
It’s a hands-free breast pump that fits right in your nursing bra and allows you to multitask and move around while pumping. So you can say goodbye to staying idle and get productive even while you’re expressing once you get your hands on the Elvie breast pump!
Make sure to keep yourself hydrated all the time -- you are eating and drinking for two after all!
It can be useful to keep several water bottles nearby during your feeding session. Better yet, bring a bottle everywhere you go; place one in the diaper bag, your tote bag, or your child’s stroller.
This way, you ensure that your body has enough fluids to make milk, and see to it that you’re keeping yourself hydrated wherever you go.
Take care of your skin
Frequent friction with your baby’s mouth can cause your nipple to dry out, become chapped, irritated, or even cracked. It’s therefore important to care deeply for your skin to avoid further irritation or worse, infection.
You can take note of these precautions to ensure maximum care for your skin (and the baby’s too!):
1. Use a gentle cleanser when taking a shower. 1-2 showers is enough.
2. When drying your breasts, pat dry them.
3. Air out your breasts from time to time.
4. Apply nipple cream or soothing balm to soothe nipples.
Get support if you need it
Breastfeeding can get discouraging at times, so it’s important to seek support -- from your partner, your family, and from a community that goes through the same experiences with you. A local community, called Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group, is an organisation made by mothers for mothers. It aims to give emotional support to breastfeeding mothers in Singapore.
Of course, besides emotional support, and learning these breastfeeding techniques, you also need to be equipped with the right materials like nursing pillows, nursing chairs, and breast pumps.