Breastfeeding – naturally designed but not always naturally mastered. It takes preparation, time, patience, practice, determination and support to achieve for most women. We live in a world of complexity and distractions, so simplifying the breastfeeding experience is essential as we adapt to being parents and transition from one of the biggest events of our lives – birth.
Firstly having realistic expectations is essential – to be able to remind ourselves that this is a whole new skill with a little person you just met a few moments ago. Imagine you and your partner having the challenge of rowing down a river in a straight line with no experience, practice or instruction – stressful just the thought of it! But when we equip ourselves with quality education, strategies to overcome challenges and give each other grace and patience, we are on a more successful ‘path’ to achieving our goal.
The beauty of breastfeeding is the frequent opportunities to practice! Get comfortable in a position that encourages your oxytocin to flow! Be relaxed, and don’t be hunched over, all tense and stressed too afraid to move if your baby is feeding. You need to be relaxed Mumma for your milk to flow well. Try some laid-back positions and encourage your baby to search for the breast themselves, getting to know them as you bond together.
Don’t skip skin to skin! Skin to skin is something we can do for weeks after birth, everyday! It promotes breastfeeding and boosts your oxytocin level even more, with too many benefits for me to list here!
Have a rhythm over routine… so avoid watching the clock or following the guide of the ‘smart app’ and actually get to know your baby’s behaviours, cues and body language by watching them. Tune into your instincts.
Be flexible in your day to day, giving yourself grace as you prioritise soaking up the cuddles and letting go of the other ‘jobs’. Reducing stress and anxiety is vital. It is easy to underestimate the impact of stress in regards to breastfeeding. Try to think of your baby like a new pup, they rely solely on instinct reflexes and senses, so this means they can detect the stress and anxiety we feel. Try some deep breaths, soft music, meditation, a quiet darkened room and relax your body!
Support is the glue that holds everything together. If you are concerned about your breastfeeding experience, or even unsure and needing some specialist assessment and support, then never be afraid to reach out! Best not to wait until you feel too overwhelmed – be proactive and seek support early.
Empowered Lactation with Emma
Australian Breastfeeding Association
LCANZ (Lactation Consultants of Australia
and New Zealand)
Check with your local hospital for