We know breastfeeding can be hard but we also know that when mummies get the right techniques and a good understanding of the basics, you can definitely overcome the challenges. With perseverance and the right support, you are well on your way to having a fulfilling and successful breastfeeding journey for yourself and your baby.
Here are some basics of breastfeeding that mummies need to know and understand to ensure a smooth breastfeeding journey:
How Breastfeeding Works
Many of us think that all we need to do is to put our baby at our breast and we can start to breastfeed. However, it is not as simple as it seems. Breastfeeding requires a lot of practices, skills and understanding the mechanisms of the human body. For example, when your baby latches or when you start to pump, your breasts receive stimulation and this activates your hormones which helps in milk production and also to eject milk out from your breasts – this is more commonly known as ‘letdown’. Some mums may experience a tingling sensation while others see their milk start flowing from the breasts when this letdown happens.
Breastfeed Baby Frequently & On Demand
Do you remember the concept of “Demand = Supply” that we learnt in school? This is how we often shared about this concept in breastfeeding too! Mummies often wonder if they will ever have enough milk but yes, the body is so amazing that when babies drink from the breasts, the body refills them up again. Many mothers are naturally worried about their milk supply but if you constantly breastfeed your baby on demand (that is, anytime your baby needs to), your body will automatically produce more milk. So don’t doubt yourselves,you have an amazing body that knows what to do. Trust your body’s abilities to be able to nourish your baby with the best!
The same idea works for Exclusive Pumping (EP) mums. You will need to pump regularly throughout the day and night, ideally at every 2 to 3 hours. Just like how babies need to latch frequently to ensure mummies’ supplies are maintained, EP mums need to pump no longer than a 3-hour interval for a maximum of 20 minutes to ensure a regular supply of milk.
Deep & Correct Latch
For breastfeeding to work well, it is important to know what is a good and deep latch to minimise the breast pain during the initial days. Sometimes, we hear from mothers that latching is painful. Breastfeeding should never be painful, and when it does, it means that the latch is poor. It is important to correct this early to prevent pain for yourself and to ensure that there is nothing that stops your baby from getting enough milk.
Do note that some babies may have conditions like a lip or tongue-tie and can make it painful to breastfeed or frustrating for your baby to latch. These conditions can be solved by getting it checked by a paediatric dentist.
Get Comfortable While Breastfeeding
Some mums get tired from long hours of breastfeeding and we understand this can be very challenging. To be able to breastfeed for an extended period, you need to find the right breastfeeding position that suits you and your baby.
Some positions allow mums more room to rest such as the side-lying position or the laid back breastfeeding positions. You may also want to consider using the breastfeeding support pillow or simply propping more pillows to help yourself get more comfortable with nursing.
Empty Your Breasts Well
A common complaint we often hear from mommies is that the baby seems hungry all the time.
You can try this method called breast compressions, which is to start the flow of milk when it slows down while your baby is latching. A slow trickle can sometimes make your baby fall asleep while feeding so do breast compressions to start the flow and your baby will drink again. Do this until your baby feels very full and will automatically unlatch, sometimes falling into a deep sleep. It is important for your baby to drink till your breasts feel empty.
For mothers who express their milk out, it is important that you get a good pump that fits well and which your body responds optimally, too. A good-sized flange (not too tight or too big) can help you to express your milk effectively. Some mothers also hand express at the end of a pumping session to reach spots which the pump could not reach. Emptying well will also prevent other complications like blocked ducts and mastitis.
Remember Point 1, when the breasts are empty, they get filled up again. But if your breasts still have a lot of milk, the hormones in your body will tell your brain not to produce more milk.
Managing Blocked Ducts & Mastitis
We know that these are every breastfeeding mother’s most feared but this is also a condition which is commonly experienced, not only by new moms. Preventing blocked ducts is important as it can prevent other complications such as a drop in supply or even mastitis. Blocked ducts can be resolved by ensuring that the baby is feeding frequently and ensuring that your baby empties your breasts well. However, there could be other reasons why blocked ducts could occur.
Eat & Rest Well, No Stress!
We understand that taking care of a baby can be really exhausting but having a good diet, plenty of rest and managing stress plays an important role in helping you achieve a smooth and successful breastfeeding journey.
Having a good diet, especially one that is filled with warm and nutritious foods, plus plenty of fluid or soup which encourages pro-lactation can help you produce an abundance of milk for your precious baby. When you are in good health and relaxed, you will be able to produce more milk!
We hope the above tips will provide support and motivation for mummies to continue breastfeeding! We understand that breastfeeding may be challenging but with the right techniques and a positive mind, mummies will do well in their breastfeeding journeys!
When you are faced with these issues, know that you are not alone. WhatsApp Madam Partum at 81660060 to find out more. We will be here for you to answer your questions about breastfeeding.