In support of World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) we’ve gathered together some down to earth and reassuring breastfeeding tips by Mums, for new Mums. Some of the UK’s best parenting bloggers offered to share their breastfeeding tips for home, out and about, and for work; supporting women to combine breastfeeding and work is the focus of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.
I’ve also designed a little breastfeeding sanctuary, with things to make a corner or two of your home a place to relax and enjoy time with your baby.
Breastfeeding tips by Mums
Always keep a sports bottle of water in places where you sit to feed, I have one in the nursery for middle of the night feeds
A ‘breast vest’ was my best investment, keeps your tummy covered and makes any top into a nursing top.
Polly This Enchanted Pixie
Always check you’ve put your boob away before answering the door to the postman!
Fiona Watch You Grow
Don’t sit down without having your laptop/phone/TV remote to hand! Try to ignore the ‘well meaning advice’ of everyone else, including health professionals, unless there is very clearly a problem. The whole idea of breastfeeding is that your baby and your body will naturally know what to do, so feed when your baby wants feeding and let the rhythm settle naturally. I once heard a health visitor tell the mother of a six week old baby to ‘try to distract her if you’ve fed her within the last three hours or so – you wouldn’t eat a cheese sandwich that often would you?’ It made me scream inside!
Find your local breastfeeding support group. Even if no problems crop up, it can be so helpful to connect with other breastfeeding mums. Groups offer an accepting place to get comfortable with breastfeeding in public if you’re not sure about it yet, a place to find evidence-based information or somewhere where you can share stories with other breastfeeding mums and break isolation.
Don’t watch the clock, watch the baby.
Also, keeping a stash of healthy snacks that you can eat one-handed in easy reach can be really useful. I used to get really hungry breastfeeding newborns.
Adele Jarrett-Kerr Circus Queen
Buy a load of cheap Primark/Asda vests, cutting them across the boob area and then wear under your normal clothes. Then you can feed without your tummy on show/getting cold.
Alison Not Another Mummy Blog
Don’t be surprised if your boobs perform differently. You may have one that produces lots of milk and one that just produces. Every woman who breastfeeds is physically different, so remember that a position that works for your tall, slim friend may not work for you if you are small and curvy. Get into audiobooks and/or Desert Island Discs back catalogue for night feeds. I build a nest in the nursery for night feeds with a great chair, low lighting and water/snack supplies, and got out of bed each time. Worked for me. Oh, and breastfeeding makes you smell of a different sweaty scent at first. Don’t be alarmed!
Eleanor The Bristol Parent
Find an appealing breastfeeding bra. I got some rather pretty sheer ones from Top Shop which made the whole thing nicer. Also Lansinoh breast pads, as ones with only one sticky line fall out!
Rachel The Little Pip
Groups are great for support and besides dresses you really don’t need specific breasted feeding tops, any loose top will do. Also in the beginning always have some spare breastpads packed in your bag in case you spring a leak
Don’t listen to what everyone says and don’t stress about any kind of routine, the more relaxed you and your baby are the better.
Laura Side Street Style
Twitter is great on nightfeeds for chatting to other mums and feeling less alone.
Gillian Baby On Board
Have a bracelet you can easily swap between wrists to help you remember which side to feed from next time.
Penny, A Residence
Try out the various breastfeeding positions to work out what feels most comfortable for you and your baby. I struggled terribly with cracked nipples initially as the only position I knew of was the cradle hold. I then discovered the rugby ball hold which was a god send! It helped my baby latch on perfectly which finally ended my cracked nipple issue.
Breast milk helps to soothe cracked nipples. Spread a small amount of milk around the affected area and aerate.
A boned breastfeeding cover is a must have for when you’re out and about. It covers you completely and the boning allows you to see your baby feeding which in turns gives your baby comfort. So much better than just a scarf or a muslin.
Karen, Wayfair UK PR Manager
Create A Breastfeeding Sanctuary
Something to keep magazines, books and the remote handy, somewhere to store muslins and breast pads and water on tap.
Breastfeeding when you have other children
Have a box of toys that are easy for your older child to access, and if necessary play with alone without problems, rotate the toys in the box so it is always a surprise. I bought a nursing chair second time round and immediately regretted it, you never get to breastfeed in the same place with a toddler running around, and it alienated my oldest. instead, we moved the chair upstairs for night feeds and most the time we made a nest for the three of us on the sofa and had lots of books to read together to hand. It was important to get into a routine that my toddler understood, so I could include and supervise her too.
Penny, A Residence
Sit on the floor to feed (propped up with cushions) so you can play with the first child at the same time.
Gillian Crawshaw Baby On Board
I found breastfeeding the twins at the same time to be a great time saver, tandem breastfeeding. The trick is to get cushions to help prop the babies up and everything you need to hand for half an hour. Don’t forget to go to the loo before you start!
Mari, Mari’s World
Breastfeeding and returning to work
Remember your rights as a nursing Mum. Your workplace has to accommodate you and many are happy to do so. They often haven’t thought about how to accommodate you so try to think of solutions in advance.
When expressing, tell people what you are doing and why. Don’t be embarrassed. Others are often very understanding of your reasons. I had to continue due to my son’s allergies, so for us it was the right choice.
If you plan to express at work, try to have an extra set of all the necessary equipment already there. If you are lugging it back and forth from home you will inevitably forget some key elements. I forgot the bags once and suffered all day.
Don’t forget to try to maintain the routine of expressing. If you keep missing sessions, it will affect your milk production. Blocking time out in your daily diary may help.
Breastfeed your baby at the start and at the end of the day to enjoy precious time with your baby. Going back to work can feel hard after maternity leave so having that time together will allow for that closeness to continue for you both.
Ushma, Reseach Manager at Brunel University London
Make sure you have a supply of expressed milk in the freezer before going back for your first day (frozen milk last for 3 months) so on your first days you don’t feel under stress that baby hasn’t got your milk.
Invest in a decent expressing machine – I have the Medela swing which is very good – it can be battery operated too which is handy if you haven’t got a plug near by where you need to express.
Make sure you take a decent supply of bottles with you as your milk will be in more supply without baby there to take feeds!
Make sure you wear lose clothing, if it’s a hot day a breastfeeding mama will sweat in a whole different way – especially if your boobs are full of milk.
Louise, Team Lloyd
If you have to go back to work but still keen to breastfeed your baby – electric pumps are the way forward. So much easier, electric pumps allow you to express a good amount of milk for your baby in half the time. I regretted not getting a double pump because when you feed from one breast, the other starts lactating. And as a working Mum, every drop counts!
If you are producing excess milk, express your milk and either freeze it for when you’re out and about or use it in food such as porridge, fruit smoothies etc for your 6 month + baby.
If your baby won’t take a bottle, don’t worry. It’s actually a good thing! After I went back to work my expressed milk was used in meals and given to my baby in a free flowing beaker.
Karen, Wayfair UK PR Manager
Do you have any tips to add?