5 Golden Tips Every Breastfeeding Mother Should Know
Breastfeeding is an ultimate expression of divine motherly love. "Giving" is nature's law, and mothers nourish their newborns helping them grow and thrive. A newborn baby finds refuge in the mother’s arms. In return, the mother is filled with an overwhelming sense of awe, as she experiences firsthand a most remarkable miracle. Sometimes she experiences challenges while breastfeeding her newborn; this is where a little guidance from experts may help to make her journey less complicated.
Undoubtedly, motherhood can be an empowering journey. But it’s a journey that demands complete dedication and care. Breastfeeding is natural, but some women may experience breastfeeding complications, such as painful nipples, latching difficulties, and low milk supply. There are several contributing factors to breastfeeding complications. Some common factors include:
- A delay or interruption to the first and early breastfeeds
- Unnecessary routing procedures separating mother and baby
- The unnecessary introduction of non-human milk (formula)
- Commonly taught forceful techniques
Below are some helpful breastfeeding tips that every breastfeeding mother should know.
- Avoid unnecessary medical intervention: It’s important to acknowledge that there will be times when medical intervention is necessary. However, it’s preferable to avoid unnecessary intervention such as induction of labour, if possible. Unnecessary induction of labour increases the risk of further intervention and may make breastfeeding more difficult. Women are encouraged to talk to their health care team about the benefits, risks and alternatives, when induction of labour is being recommended. It’s okay to ask why.
- Early skin-to-skin contact between mother & baby: Soon after giving birth, the newborn should be with the mother for skin-to-skin contact. This helps to awaken the newborn’s instinctive skills for survival. Early breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby. Skin-to-skin increases the oxytocin hormone and reduces the risk of excessive blood loss.
- The First Breastfeed: The first breastfeed usually commences within 30 minutes to 1 hour following the birth. The newborn baby will instinctively locate the nipple and some breast tissue and feed leisurely over the first 2 - 3 hours. This is known as the '3 Golden Hours' A delay or interruption to this precious time, increases the risk of breast engorgement and mastitis. During this time, the baby receives colostrum, which is thick in consistency and rich in nutrients, providing essential immunological factors.
- Breastfeeding position: Commonly taught forceful techniques dramatically increase the risk of painful nipple trauma. It is preferable not to hold the newborn baby by the back of the head, neck or shoulders to force your baby to your breast. Please do not allow anyone else to do this to your baby. The healthy newborn baby instinctively knows what to do, with only the gentle guidance of the mother.
- Feeding from both breasts: Once your milk volume has peaked, it’s preferable to switch to feeding from both breasts each feed, with a rest and digest period. This reduces the risk of breast engorgement and mastitis, and also reduces the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances for the newborn and young baby.
Whether you are a first-time mother or have been through it all before, please consider these golden breastfeeding tips. If you would like expert guidance and support please consider the Thompson Method Breastfeeding Program, which has helped thousands of women worldwide avoid or overcome breastfeeding complications.