Here at Maternity&Infant we want to help mums with breastfeeding wherever we can. Although it is a completely natural process, many people find it difficult to stick to. Worries about how much the baby is actually ingesting, as well as difficulties with latching on, and pain in the nipples can discourage mothers trying to breastfeed.
Ireland currently has the lowest rate of breastfeeding in Europe with only 55 per cent of Irish mothers breastfeeding their babies while they’re still in the hospital. That figure drops to 16 per cent after four months, compared with 90 per cent of mothers from Austrailia, and 80 per cent of mothers in the US.
Regardless of the figures, the question is not why the numbers are low, but what can we do to support mother’s who are trying to breastfeed, but are understandably finding it hard? Although not a complete solution, making it easier for yourself is one of the best things you can do before baby arrives. Why not get a few of these tips and tricks together before your due date?
Support your baby (and your arms) with a breastfeeding pillow. Keep it handy on the couch, or by the chair for when your little one needs to feed. It’ll save you from backaches and exhaustion after the second (or subsequent!) feed that night!
Fennel tea (and other ready snacks)
Fennel tea is said to increase milk production when taken during breastfeeding, so make sure you have a box at the ready for when you come home from the hospital. Breastfeeding uses up huge amounts of calories, so new mums should keep their energy levels up by having ‘easy-open’ snacks nearby to munch on while baby feeds.
Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask your midwife questions about breastfeeding while you’re still in the hospital. Remember this is the first time breastfeeding for both you and your baby, and everyone is different. Some people take to it very quickly, and others need more time. So take it, relax and use the resources that are available to you.
Many new mums find once they run into difficulty breastfeeding that they’d like to see a lactation consultant, only to find they can’t get an appointment for a few weeks. Save yourself the distress and organise to see a lactation consultant the week your little one arrives (assuming they arrive in a timely manner) to get the best, and timely advice you can.
More paternity leave (time with Dad)
Dads this is your time to step up. With mum doing the feeding, make sure you’re there with 110 per cent energy levels for the rest of the time to take on nappy changes, nighttime wake up calls and food preparation. If you can take your paternity leave, organise with your partner when it would be best to do so for the both of you.
Far from advising women to cover up this most natural of occurrences (whatever pleases the individual!), but a beautiful nursing scarf or jumper with a nursing panel, can add exponentially to a new mum’s experience of breastfeeding. Especially coming into the colder months this Autumn and Winter, why not take a look at these decadent nursing jumpers?
Do it. Buy the pump, get the bottles and a steriliser. Make life easy for yourself. Don’t forget nipple cream for nibbling mouths (ouch!) like Lanoish and a nipple assist if you and your little one are having trouble finding your rhythm.
Time for yourself
Whether you’re hanging up your mammary glands for good or just need a day out on your own while Daddy takes on bottle feeds for the day, make sure you spend some time taking care of you. Motherhood is a wonderful experience but it can be overwhelming. So it’s important to mind yourself, physically and mentally. And yes, this is the perfect time for a spa visit, if you’re that way inclined.
Kindle (and other entertainment)
I know this seems like a big ask, but hear me out. A Kindle is light, holds numerous books and is silent. Your newborn will likely drift off while you’re breastfeeding him or her, and with the comfort of a good book, it can help to make that moment all the more peaceful and easier for you. For TV buffs, make sure Netflix is at the ready!