It’s no secret that the breastfeeding journey, whilst such an amazing and worthwhile experience, can come with its own set of challenges. This is particularly true in those early days of breastfeeding when both you and your baby are learning together.
In an ideal world, breastfeeding would come easily to both of you but very often that isn’t the case and it takes time, patience, and practice to get it right. This was certainly the case for Ivy Parker, owner of Jubblies. Ivy established her reusable bamboo nursing pad business after experiencing the challenges of first-time motherhood and, in particular, breastfeeding.
With a personal understanding of the overwhelming feelings – both positive and negative – that new mothers can experience, Ivy wanted to create products that make nursing mums feel ultra-comfortable and luxurious in their maternity wear. Jubblies aspires to be a tonic for breastfeeding.
Here, Ivy shares her 5 top tips for helping make breastfeeding easier and more enjoyable for new mamas.
1. Find a position that works for you and baby
In those early days of establishing breastfeeding, it’s so important to make sure your baby is positioned well at the breast so that they can latch on and feed effectively. Yet there is no one position that suits all. It really is a case of trial and error to what position both you and baby are most comfortable with.
Some of the most popular positions for breastfeeding a newborn include the cradle hold, the cross-cradle hold, or the rugby ball position. These all allow you a good view of your baby and to see how well they are latched on. Other positions that can work well are the side-lying position, or laid-back breastfeeding – both of which can be very relaxing positions to feed from.
With any position, always try and relax beforehand and make sure your body is well-supported with pillows or cushions. Long and frequent feeding sessions can put a strain on your body if you’re not relaxed and comfortable.
It’s also handy to have our muslin cloth to hand to drape over your baby to keep them warm, or to mop up any unexpected spit-ups!
2. Consider pumping
For some people, pumping is a necessary part of their breastfeeding journey as it offers an important way to increase their milk supply and ensure their little one’s needs are met. For others, it offers flexibility and freedom to their feeding journey. They can express milk for a bottle to give themselves a break or when they know they’ll be away from their baby for an extended period of time. It gives other people, such as Daddy or Grandma, a chance to feed baby and give mama a much-needed rest.
When it comes to selecting a breast pump, there are a plethora of manual and electric breast pumps on the market, as well as low-tech milk collectors. It’s always worth doing some research as to what pump would best suit your needs and lifestyle.
It’s worth noting that pumping is best left to after breastfeeding has been properly established – unless of course you’ve been advised to pump to help increase your milk supply and/or to get your baby’s weight up to where it needs to be. You may also find your baby prefers nursing directly from the breast and doesn’t accept a bottle straight away. If this is the case then you can keep trying with a bottle, remembering to use paced bottle feeding to emulate breastfeeding as much as possible.
3. Manage leaking
In the early weeks and months of breastfeeding, many mamas find they leak breast milk. It’s a fantastic sign that your body is producing milk for your little one, although it can come with its own set of challenges!
We’ve all heard a story about a nursing mum who leaks milk when they hear their baby cry, right? It’s so heartwarming and just one of the amazing ways our body responds to the needs of our little one. However, when it happens to you, you may find you’re caught off guard, but this needn’t be the case.
The best solution is to use reusable nursing pads. These can be placed against your breast on the inside or your nursing bra. Soft to touch and gentle against your skin, they absorb your milk easily. Not to mention they are cost-effective and more environmentally friendly than disposable pads. You can try a free trial pack of our reusable bamboo nursing pads to see for yourself. High-quality nursing pads such as these will keep your breast and clothes dry; just make sure to cleanse and dry the area before use to prevent cracks and sores.
As your body adjusts to your baby’s needs you might find you stop leaking after a while, however, many mamas find they continue to need nursing pads throughout the duration of their breastfeeding journey.
4. Soothe cracks and sores
Your nipples can often feel the effects of baby feeding all the time and the result can be sore and cracked nipples. This will particularly be the case if your baby is not latched onto the breast well and effectively feeding.
To help soothe your sore nipples, many mamas find nipple cream or ointments helpful. Others swear by nipple shields or silver cups. They can give some much-needed relief in between feeds. It may also help to air your nipples in between feeds.
Please be aware that pain whilst breastfeeding should not be considered ‘normal’. If you suspect your baby isn’t latching on to the breast well, or if your nipples are badly cracked or bleeding, then seek help immediately from your midwife or a lactation consultant.
5. Eliminate guilt and seek out the right support
If breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned or as you’d hope for, it can lead to overwhelming feelings of disappointment and guilt. But please don’t suffer in silence. It’s not your fault and the important thing is to seek the right help and support. You know your body, you know your child, and if something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t.
Speak to your partner, friend or family member and let them know how you’re feeling. Reach out to your midwife or lactation consultant and ask for them to look at how your baby feeds. You may be surprised at how a few suggestions and adjustments could make for a more positive breastfeeding experience and outcome.
We women are blessed to be able to feed our babies from our bodies – but sometimes we need tips and help along the way to make it work. As the saying goes, the best things in life don’t come easy! So with all that’s been said, we leave you with one final, heartfelt reminder: you’ve got this mama!
Don’t forget to claim your free trial pack of Jubblies reusable bamboo nursing pads here.
Disclosure: Please seek the help of a medical professional should you need it whilst breastfeeding. The information and references within this guide were accurate at the time of writing and boobingit is not responsible for any inaccuracies post-publishing.