Many mothers enjoy breastfeeding as they feel it creates a deeper bond between them and their little one. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding is beneficial for babies’ early development, as breast milk is highly nutritious.
For new parents, there’s a surprising amount to learn about the process, like how to latch, which breast pump to buy, how to store breast milk.
Today, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding and pumping. (And we’ve got some top tips for first-time mums too!)
Take Care of Your Health and Body
Your body burns an extra 400-500 calories when breastfeeding, which means you have to keep yourself well-nourished to make up for the calories burned. Keep in mind that your body is also “repairing” itself from having just given birth, so eating well is especially important to keep yourself healthy during this period of time!
It’s also important to monitor your health regularly after giving birth. The World Health Organization recommends having at least four postnatal check ups in the first six weeks after giving birth, and any additional check ups you need to address other issues.
Learn Techniques for Proper Latching
A poor breastfeeding latch can mean your baby isn’t able to feed as quickly or sufficiently as needed. Improper latching can also lead to issues like sore and cracked nipples, which can be extremely uncomfortable for new mums and can affect your ability to breastfeed.
The best way to know if you have a proper breastfeeding latch is to get the help of nurses before leaving the hospital! Or you can check out articles that provide step-by-step guides to help you ensure your baby is latching on correctly.
If you have dry and cracked nipples due to trouble with latching, invest in a nipple cream or ointment to ease the discomfort.
Tip for mummies: Sometimes cracked nipples can lead to bleeding as you breastfeed. In such cases, consult with your doctor as soon as possible or stop feeding temporarily until you heal up!
Be Mindful of What You’re Consuming
You’re not done with eating for two just yet. After birth, you still need to take note of what you’re consuming, because the food you eat will affect what you express in your breast milk!
So what exactly do you need to look out for? What is the healthiest diet plan for breastfeeding mothers?
It’s recommended that you consume foods high in protein, healthy fat, leafy greens, root vegetables, beans and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds. Having these nutrient-rich foods will help you replenish your store of energy and nourish your body so it can continue making milk for your little one.
Be sure to also stay well hydrated through the day -- you’d be surprised how thirsty you can become while you’re breastfeeding!
Also, take note of the foods you should avoid if you want to breastfeed, such as high-fat dairy and meat, alcohol and caffeine. Of course, if you would like to enjoy a night of wining and dining out, simply wait 2-3 hours before feeding your baby. Or you can pump and dump if you’re worried about the contents of your breast milk!
Learn How to Store Your Breast Milk
If you’re pumping or have more milk to express after your baby’s already full (lucky you!), it is important to know how to properly store your breast milk.
Make sure the milk is kept in a clean, sterilized container, preferably one that’s intended for storing breast milk. Having your containers clean and sterilized is important because you need to prevent germs and bacteria from infecting your baby’s milk.
Freshly pumped milk can be kept for up to four hours at room temperature, and up to three days with proper refrigeration. If you’d like to keep it for even longer, freezing your breast milk will ensure that it’s good for up to six months.
To thaw frozen breast milk, put it in the refrigerator the night before you’d like to use it or run your bottle under warm water. The milk should be used as soon as possible since it is only good for another one to two hours.
Tip for mummies: Make sure to label your milk with the date it was pumped, so you know when you have to use it by. This is also useful in helping you use the oldest batch of milk you have on hand first!
Preparing to Breastfeed on the Go
If you’re out and need to breastfeed (or pump), many malls have a nursing room available where you can have the privacy to do so. Or if you're comfortable with breastfeeding or pumping while at a restaurant, that's fine too!
Just make sure you plan ahead so you have everything you need such as wet wipes, burp cloths, as well as your breast pump and extra storage containers if needed!
For a more fuss-free experience, you can get yourself a hands-free breast pump like the Elvie Wearable Breast Pump which fits right into your nursing bra. This means you can pump while you’re running errands, having a meal, or meeting your friends!
Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Not having enough breast milk is a common struggle for many mothers - and is nothing to feel bad about!
You can try increasing your breast milk supply by continually stimulating your breasts by using a breast pump or by using effective breastfeeding techniques such as having a proper latch. There are also various massages you can do that could help with unblocking your milk ducts!
Understandably, you may feel disappointed about not having a greater milk supply. If these techniques don’t work, consider formula milk or various semi-solid foods (if your baby is old enough!). You can also consult your gynae or pediatrician on other alternatives to supplement your baby’s feeds.
Get Everything You Need for Breastfeeding at Hatchery
Looking to shop for all your breastfeeding needs?
Jump onto Hatchery Singapore’s online website where you can find the best baby products in Singapore like compact breast pumps, nursing chairs or nursing pillows.
You can also visit our showroom and check out Elvie breast pump for yourself!