We all know about the countless benefits breastfeeding our baby offers and want to offer him the best. Truth is, while nursing is a rewarding experience and great for your little one, it can be downright frustrating when you encounter one setback after another. If your resolve to nurse is flagging as a result, here are suggestions to make breastfeeding work for you.
• Create a routine
If hourly feeds are exhausting, introduce set times every three or four hours. “Too little and often may mean your baby’s snacking instead of getting a full feed,” says Lisa Clegg, a maternity nurse and author of The Blissful Baby Expert. As he may not actually want milk, you need to distinguish hunger from wanting comfort. “Try a paciﬁer and, if he’s genuinely hungry, he won’t accept it for long.”
• Get covered
If your breasts are feeling the strain, try a nipple shield to lessen pain. “It’s normal to have some latching-on pain for the ﬁrst 15 to 30 seconds of a feed, so bear with it, but speak to a lactation consultant if it lasts longer,” Clegg says.
• Change position
One size doesn’t always ﬁt all when it comes to feeding positions, so switch it up to see if it makes a difference. “The football hold can work better for bigger breasts, for example, while the cradle hold may not be as easy for your baby,” Clegg points out.
If hourly feeds are exhausting, introduce set times every three or four hours.
• Look after yourself
Breastfeeding not only makes you hungry, it’s also dehydrating. So, if you’re feeling run-down, make sure you’re eating and drinking enough. Clegg’s advice is to snack little and often, and always keep a bottle of water next to you to sip regularly during feeds.
• Try mixed feeding
Try offering both breast- and formula milk to your little one. Some mums offer one bottle of formula a day, while others do a 50/50 split. It can help give you a break, but may reduce your milk production. Try giving a top-up formula feed at the same time each day within a 24-hour period, so your milk supply adjusts.
• Seek help
"Most mothers ﬁnd breastfeeding challenging in the ﬁrst few weeks,” says Dr Mythili Pandi, president of the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore) or BMSG. “I often explain that it’s like learning a new dance — both partners need to get in sync by practising together. Mothers should ﬁnd help early on, either by contacting the BMSG, or consult a lactation expert,” she advises. BMSG also holds monthly breastfeeding classes for expectant parents and those returning to work, she adds. Visit www.breastfeeding.org.sg for details.
• Get help
When you express your milk and introduce a daily bottle, it lets your husband or another carer feed and bond with your baby, so you can rest.
Other breastfeeding stories you may like…