Top tips for sucessful breastfeeding

We often spend so much time reading books preparing for birth far less time getting ready for breastfeeding. If you think about it we spend a few hours in labour but maybe months breastfeeding.

Read this post to help get the best start and join us at our Preparing for Birth workshop. To help  you along the way we have prepared helpful hints.

Here’s the tips

Whilst some women find breastfeeding straightforward, a large number of have us may have some form of struggle.

Even on my second baby, and as a doula supporting breastfeeding women, I had issues. So here goes:

  • Prepare for breastfeeding by doing your research. Ask other mothers who resonate with you about their experience. Doing a breastfeeding workshop can be very helpful to give you the basics.
  • Skin to skin contact after your baby is born and for the next few days is extremely beneficial in helping establish breastfeeding. All the research backs this up. Skin to skin means naked baby bar a nappy. And topless mummy both wrapped in a blanket.
  • When your baby is born, let them sniff and nuzzle into your breasts. Don’t worry too much if they do not latch on straight away. But do keep them close to your breasts.
  • If you have had a long birth or your have had opiate drugs (epidural and C-Section) your baby will most probably have a suppressed suckling reflex. This will kick in but it will normally take longer. Again, skin to skin and not to be worried if your baby is very sleepy.
  • To help a baby who may be less interested after a C-section or epidural or pethadine, try placing your pinky finger in their mouth and lightly pressing rhythmically on the roof of their mouth to encourage sucking.
  • Unfortunately the support in hospitals is often far from satisfactory. Have a plan B. If you are having problems ask for help from your hospital’s lactation consultant. These are very very busy women, so rather than depend on staff midwife to chase her up. Get her phone number at your next prenatal visit, save it into your phone and ring her from your bed. If you are at home or the hospital staff are too busy, call up your local independent lactation consultant.
  • Your baby gains a lot of weight in the last two weeks of pregnancy. When they are born the first couple of days is all about switching on instincts and both of you learning how to latch. A baby will normally lose up to 10% of their weight in the first few days.
  • Your milk is already “in”. It just takes 2-4 days to increase in volume. Before then you get a few magical drops of golden amber nectar in the form of collestrum. Do not be pressurised into a full on feeding schedule before that time. You baby has enough fatty supplies to keep them going.
  • If for some reason your baby does need supplementing. A syringe is a perfect delivery mechanism. A bottle can nearly always be avoided.
  • No matter how many people tell me it doesn’t hurt. Most of the time for the first 2 weeks or so, that breastfeeding can be a bit uncomfortable on the nipples and take your breath away! What you need to remember is that one day in that first two weeks, that sensation will just fade away and become a nice tweaking sensation. So try not to be put off by that discomfort at the beginning, it does wear off I promise.
  • If your baby does not get a good latch, take them off and try again. But do prize their mouth open rather than pulling your nipple out.
  • What does a good latch look like? Lips flanged. More areola in the babies lower jaw. Nose free of the breast. Baby swallowing milk. (Pauses in the action of the babies jaw action for swallowing the milk).
  • Try and feed your baby the moment they start to wake. It is far easier to feed a sleepy baby than one who is crying and distressed.
  • Get help if things are not working out. Email The elbowroom and ask for me Lisa. They will give you my mobile number and I will give you a bell.

Start coming to our mothers group on a Tuesdays mornings at 10.30am. Mingle with women feeding and make those connections. Come to our breastfeeding workshop and see films and pictures of a good latch and position.

Learn to hand express milk before each feed. This can be really handy to get milk moving down with a nice few drops waiting for your baby to smell-I have included a handy you tube clip here, but before you start:

  • Sit comfortably
  • Take a few relaxing breaths and let your shoulders down on the exhale
  • Wet a flannel with warm water and place over the boob
  • Like you would for self examination, start to massage in small circles from the outside to the center.
  • Stroke from the outside to the centre
  • This all gets the milk moving and allows you to relax a bit.
  • Now, watch this great clip

Here’s feedback from MOYA SHEILDS

“I found doing an independent breastfeeding workshop in the elbowroom so informative. As a result I feel so much more assured and confident and have been successful breastfeeding my newborn baby girl.  Really simple tips like how to get a good latch, knowing the signs and cues that baby is feeding well and how to spot early signs of infection to prevent mastitis made me feel prepared and informed.  I highly recommend this workshop to all expectant mothers” 

This class is designed to prepare you for breastfeeding and to give you the best chance of getting off to a great start.  It is suitable for first-time mums as well as those who want to have a better breastfeeding experience with their second baby.  Areas covered include:

  • The benefits of breastfeeding
  • Maximising your chances of success
  • How to know if your baby is latched on properly
  • How to know if your baby is getting enough milk
  • Troubleshooting: potential problems and how to avoid them
  • Expressing milk
  • Where to find information and support

Studies show that mothers who enjoy a positive breastfeeding experience are more likely to have attended a preparation course. They are also more likely to have supportive partners! Dads are very welcome and encouraged to come along.

If you would like more information on our Preparing for Birth workshops do get in touch by emailing:, book online or call us on 01677 9859

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