Everything They Don't Tell You About Breastfeeding
We’ve all heard the common advice about breastfeeding, everything from ‘how to latch’ to ‘how to burp’. But what are the lesser known truths we don’t hear as often? Here are some bits of advice you’ve (probably) never heard before.
Don’t Check Your Phone During Night-time Feeds
While breastfeeding can be boring at night, try not to binge on Netflix or catch up on emails. Lactation consultant, Eileen Murphy, notes turning on lights or the TV can disorient your baby and make it harder to set them on a sleep schedule. We recommend listening to a relaxing podcast instead.
You Don’t Have To Use The ‘Hollywood Hold’
The most common latching technique is to cradle your baby sideways with its head resting on your elbow, but if that’s not working there are 10 other positions you can test out on bub. Everything from lying down rugby holds (look it up) to vertical latching, where your baby faces you and rests on your knee. Experiment to find what’s right for you.
Breastfeeding Can Deflate Your Boobs, If You Don’t Use A Supportive Bra
Yes, it’s true, breastfeeding can make your boobs start to look like old tube socks (*silent screams). One way to prevent this is to find great maternity bras that really lift and support your boobs no matter what stage they’re in. A great bra will support the breast’s ligaments and help recover damage caused by your baby pulling on your breast as they turn their head about. Other preventative steps include strengthening exercises, diet and drinking lots of water.
Drink Water To Produce Milk
Speaking of drinking water, when breastfeeding the best thing you can do to produce milk is to stay hydrated. Your body will keep trying to produce milk even if you’re not, but it can make you feel pretty sick and unwell.
On a similar note, make sure you’re eating an additional 500 calories per day when breastfeeding. Try to eat a nutritionally balanced diet, but if you slip up and eat french fries it won’t hurt your baby. Your body is designed to make healthy, nourishing milk.
Empty Your Milk Often To Reduce Painful Swelling
When feeding or pumping, try to empty your milk during each session, this helps prevent ducts from clogging (don’t worry it’s a rare occurrence!). Similarly, try to breastfeed or pump whenever your breasts are starting to feel heavy and full. If you wait too long they can become swollen and painfully tender. Read our blog ‘Pump or Feed’ for tips on when and how to breast pump.
Breastfeeding Makes You Bolder
Lastly, know that breastfeeding makes you bolder and a protective mummy. Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles show breastfeeding increases your body's threshold for stress by increasing oxytocin and prolactin levels. In a scenario where a stranger was rude to their baby, breastfeeding mums defended their baby’s rights and had significantly lower blood-pressure than solely bottle-fed their babies. They were more stress-resistant - a fantastic side-benefit of the unique mother-child bond.
Having trouble breastfeeding? Remember to take deep breaths, relax and search for answers to your problems. If it’s still not working, see a lactation consultant. They’ll help you and your baby learn to breastfeed. Keep in mind every parent-baby bond is unique and takes time but it’s worth it.