Breastfeeding a new baby is a skill, and like so many other elements of motherhood, it can take practice to get it right. The process can also be uncomfortable or painful while you and your baby are figuring out a rhythm, but there are plenty of tricks for turning this discomfort into a positive bonding experience for you both. Try these tips and embrace the magic of comfort.
Skip the nursing wardrobe
Motherhood publications might give you the impression that you need to invest in an entirely new breastfeeding wardrobe, but that’s not the case – all you really need is loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and a place to sit down. The only problem is that breastfeeding can be messy, especially when you’re still getting used to it, leaving you with damp, stained clothing. This is where breastfeeding covers and reusable bamboo breast pads come in handy, allowing you to soak up any spray and keep things as tidy as possible.
There’s a lot of information out there on how to prepare yourself for breastfeeding, but the truth is that every mother and baby unit has a unique experience. That’s why it can be helpful to speak with a lactation consultant who can offer you advice on any specific challenges you might be facing. It’s also important to create a “breastfeeding sanctuary” – somewhere that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable – and keep everything you need within it: breast pumps, pillows, towels, and of course, a comfortable chair.
Get the right help
Breastfeeding, like giving birth, can be a complicated process, and things don’t always go according to plan. The problem is that many mothers feel as though they should be able to instinctually figure things out on their own, which can result in minor problems being prolonged and escalated. It’s important that you have someone – a lactation consultant or a doctor – available to answer any questions you or your partner might have about the breastfeeding process. Being surrounded by so much new information can be intimidating, but you’ll work it out much faster if you’re not afraid to ask for help.
Lie on your side
You might have seen other women breastfeeding their babies while sitting upright in a chair, seemingly without a care in the world, but this can be challenging for a new mother. The good news is that there is no reason you should have to be upright when feeding your baby. Supporting yourself and your baby can make things more challenging when the sensations are all unfamiliar, so consider lying on your side for an easier experience. Remember, the “right way” is the way that allows both you and baby to feel as comfortable as possible.
Listen to a podcast
In case you haven’t already fallen in love with one of the many parenthood podcasts available online, now is a great time to test them out. An internet search for “breastfeeding podcasts” will lead you to a wide range of free online resources designed to help you relax and produce more milk for your baby. All you have to do is put your headphones on and let those soothing sounds soak in – you might even come away feeling a little lighter and more energetic!
If you’re still feeling discomfort when feeding, remember that this process is a learning curve, and it’s only natural for these things to take some time. As you and your baby continue to grow your bond and settle into a rhythm, you’ll find yourself feeling more like one of those confident mothers in stock images and social media campaigns – all you have to do is give yourself the space to figure it out.