Breastfeeding baby is quite possibly one of the most intimate and nutritious things that you can do for them – it helps to create stronger bonds between baby and you. Breastfeeding may not be as easy as many mums make it out to be; in fact, it may be a lot harder than you initially expect, but don’t worry, it’s normal for mums to have trouble with breastfeeding baby!
We’ve gathered some helpful advice and information to improve your breastfeeding experience, so keep on reading!
1. Breastfeeding Isn’t Free
Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding isn’t free, but it can be cheaper than relying on formula in the long run. Here are some breastfeeding costs that add up – not all are considered necessities, but they do make breastfeeding life easier:
Sterilisers for pump parts
Milk storage bags/bottles
Nursing cover when you need to feed in public
Supplements to help with additional milk production
2. Newborns Nurse a Lot
It’s completely normal for newborns to be hungry all the time. Breastmilk is perfect for babies and can be digested really fast by them. An additional benefit of nursing so often is that the more you breastfeed, the more breastmilk you’ll produce! Isn’t it interesting how our bodies are able to quickly react to the needs of baby?
Try not to worry about how much baby is eating when they’re feeding, especially when you can’t see the amount of breastmilk that’s being fed to them. Instead, check how many times they wet their diapers a day – 5 to 6 wet diapers indicates a good supply of milk.
3. Experiment with Different Breastfeeding Positions
It’s important to listen to the advice of your lactation specialists when it comes to breastfeeding, but only through experiencing it yourself will you be able to find the best methods for baby to feed. Take advice from others with a pinch of salt – breastfeeding isn’t a black-and-white matter where if you do this step wrong, or if you forget to do something, that feed will fail.
For example, women with larger breasts may be asked to do a football hold, but if doing that is painful for you, please try switching to a different position. Even with a good latch going on, a different position will adjust the angle in which baby latches on and could help with sore and tender nipples. A painful feed will discourage you from nursing, which could result in your breasts producing less milk for baby.
Here are some helpful positions (which your lactation expert should’ve gone through with you) from HealthHub.
4. Get an Extra Pair of Eyes and Hands
Most likely this will be your hubby, so let him know what you need help with when you’re breastfeeding – whether it’s getting extra pillows or adjusting the ones you have, passing you some water to drink or snacks to eat, or even just helping you see if your latch is correct.
Keeping him involved in the process is important as some dads feel like they want to help out but don’t really know how to! Better to guide them along while being patient with them. Eventually, dad will also be feeding baby through a bottle, so get them started as soon as possible!
5. Breast Pumps
One positive effect that breast pumps have on breastfeeding mums is that they can see the milk flow from their breasts! If you’re worried about your flow, being able to see it come out should put your mind at ease.
Another benefit of pumping is that you’ll be able to store surplus breastmilk in your freezer for future use – up to 6 months. Do remember that the nutrients found within your breastmilk changes as baby gets older, so feeding them older breastmilk is fine but not the best option for them.
Similar to having baby feed more often to increase your supply of breastmilk, pumping will also help you establish a good supply of milk! They’re great for regulating or increasing your milk supply.
6. No Cigarettes
This goes without saying, but smoking while you’re breastfeeding is a big no-no, same as when you were pregnant.
For cigarettes, here’s what happens to babies when they’re exposed to it:
They have a much higher chance to get affected by pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections, and eye irritation
Colic has been noted to happen more often in babies if either parent smoke or if the breastfeeding mum smokes
Heavy smoking by breastfeeding mums could cause baby to have more frequent cases of nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea
Babies of parents who smoke have a 7 times greater chance of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Babies and children who are exposed to passive smoke at home have lower blood levels of HDL – good cholesterol that helps protect against coronary artery disease
And here’s how it affects mum when they’re breastfeeding:
Lower milk production
Harder to achieve the let-down reflex
Lower levels of prolactin – the hormone that assists with milk synthesis
It’s ideal if breastfeeding mums can stop smoking, but if they aren’t able to completely stop smoking, they should still breastfeed baby – smoking and breastfeeding is better than smoking and giving them formula as breastmilk gives a lot of immunities that’ll help baby fight illness, and can even counteract some of the effects of cigarette smoke!
If you really can’t quit smoking, try to do these things:
At least cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day
Don’t smoke immediately before or during breastfeeding in order to cut down the amount of nicotine in your breastmilk – smoking during breastfeeding is also quite dangerous for baby
Smoke immediately after breastfeeding to reduce the nicotine in your breastmilk, and wait as long as possible between smoking and feeding
If you need to smoke, don’t smoke at home or anywhere near baby
For help with quitting or cutting down on cigarettes, do call the toll-free hotline at 1800 438 2000.
Pregnancy To Parenthood Seminar Series
If you wish to know more about your journey through pregnancy, as well as detailed explanations of what to expect during labour and delivery, this seminar is for you!
Date: Saturday, 14th April, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm - 6:00pm
Venue: Singapore Expo Max Atria
Find out more about this helpful seminar for mums- and dads-to-be right here: