Breastfeeding 101

I thought I’d give you all a rundown of the easy, straightforward, foolproof advice I’ve received about breastfeeding, so that you too can feed your newborn with ease. I promise if you follow these easy steps, you’ll be a master at breastfeeding in no time.

Here we go – follow these to the letter, make sure you don’t skip any steps:

  • It shouldn’t hurt. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.
  • It will hurt at first. It’s natural, don’t think that it means you’re doing it wrong.
  • Lean over the baby and let the breast fall into their mouth.
  • Don’t lean over the baby, let them find the breast.
  • Sit up straight
  • Lean forward
  • Lean back against a pillow
  • Don’t use a pillow
  • Let them feed for as long as they need.
  • Don’t let them feed for more than 15 minutes.
  • If you’re experiencing cracked or grazed nipples, pump on that breast for a day to let it heal
  • Don’t pump and bottle feed, it can cause nipple confusion
  • Keep pumping to continue the level of milk production
  • Be careful of pumping as it can over-stimulate milk production.
  • Pumping has no effect on milk production.
  • Have a hot shower prior to feeding to soften your breasts
  • Don’t use a shower or heat packs – they stimulate more milk production.
  • Always offer both breasts when feeding
  • Offer the same breast twice to make sure your baby gets the hind milk
  • Don’t wake a baby for feeds – they’ll wake if they’re hungry
  • Make sure you feed every 6 hours. Wake the baby if you need to.
  • Feed every 4 hours
  • Feed every 3 hours
  • It’s easy once you get the hang of it…

Let me just say, every one of these pieces of advice came from the midwives at the hospital, or well researched books. These are not just well meaning opinions from the general public.

I want to be truthful here for a minute – breastfeeding is hard. It may be a natural thing, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. There is a beautiful connection between you and your child when breastfeeding, and I love being able to provide for Birdie in that way. However, you have to fight your way through the advice, the pain, the doubt, and the 3am desperation to get there. It’s certainly worth it, but give yourself a break if you’re not the instant earth mother that so many people think you’ll be. You’ll get there – with Birdie at 11 days old, I’m only just starting to heal enough to not wince in pain every time she latches on, which is every 3-4 hours. It’s tough. Get someone to give you a big hug, often, just for giving it a go.

Jane xx

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12 thoughts on “Breastfeeding 101

  1. Emma says:

    Great list of advice! The first few weeks are the hardest but it really is worth it, after a while it becomes so easy that you would wonder why anyone would want to be washing and sterilising bottles, boiling water, making formula and waiting for it all to get to the right temp if they had a choice not to.

    • Jane says:

      Haha glad you liked it! I know what you mean about the hassle of bottles – just pumping over the last few days has been a real pain! I much prefer the “on tap” version!

  2. jessicasmum says:

    These all seem like frighteningly familiar snippets of advice. We’re at 3.5 months and it hasn’t been an easy road, but it has been a beautiful one. Breastfeeding is nature’s second biggest labour of love. The first is childbirth…!!

  3. jessicasmum says:

    It does get easier as time goes on, although there are always new challenges! My post Challenges of Breastfeeding might interest you, it documents my own experiences.

    I’ve found that llli.org is a great place to head for sound advice. The La Leche League are reknowned (unfairly) for being somewhat fanatical, although passionate would be a far more appropriate description. The ladies are pretty no-nonsense, very experienced, knowledgeable and always sympathetic.

    I’ve had a quick look back through your blog and huge congratulations are in order for your new arrival, you’ve been through so much to get to where you are now xx

    • Jane says:

      Oh thank you – it’s certainly been a big year! Lovely to just be able to relax and enjoy family life for a while 🙂 I’ll check out the links you mentioned, I had heard about La Leche, but haven’t had a chance to look it up yet.

  4. whilewewaitk says:

    LOL! I had people tell me all of those things too! What I learned was trust your gut and trust what works for you and your baby. I had very badly grazed nipples for the first few days as well, but ended up using nipple shields for 3-4 weeks, which helped to heal my nipples nicely. We have now weaned off the nipple shields and are doing well with breastfeeding. Nipples still hurt at the beginning but after I count to 10 it usually goes away. Hope you are adjusting well to life with a newborn!

  5. Flourishing Fledglings says:

    This is so true! My daughter is three weeks old and I’m struggling at the moment with cracked nipples which really hurt when she first latches on. Midwives say my latch looks fine but they haven’t healed yet and it’s been about a week. I’d like to be able to carry on but formula becomes very tempting during early hour cluster feeds. Hope you are healed now!

    • Jane says:

      You poor thing, it’s so hard when it hurts. Try every cream you can get your hands on, and know that it does get much better, you’re almost there. I was 1000 times better after 2 weeks. Hang in there!

      • Jane says:

        Yep about 2 weeks – my best idea was to “rest” each breast when you can – pump on that side for a day, and give your nipples a chance to heal. Mine definitely took longer than 2 days to stop hurting.

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