We've all seen movies where the mum has just given birth and is laying back, relaxing, and cooing as her newborn instantly latches for the first time. It looks like the most natural thing in the world. However, many mums find that when it's their turn to feed their little one for the firsttime, natural isn't the word that comes to mind.
Medicinal drugs, interventions during labour, the shape and size of the mother's nipples, delayed arrival of milk, and the characteristics of the infant's mouth are just some of the reasons responsible for a shaky start to breastfeeding.
The good news is, with the right help, nearly all mothers can successfully breastfeed. However, the single best piece of breastfeeding advice for new mothers is to be patient throughout the initial few weeks. Allow yourself and your little one time to master this new skill.
Our best breastfeeding tips for new mums
1. Get your latch right
If your little one isn't attached to the nipple correctly, it can cause damage. The damage can occur as the result of just a few breastfeeds performed in the wrong position. So, nailing the latching the first few days should be a top priority.
When extreme damage occurs, mothers may need to take a break from feeding to allow their nipples to heal. During this break, infants can establish a preference for bottle feeding, and therefore when you want to return to breastfeeding; it can be tricky.
Educating yourself before the arrival of your little one may help you to get your head around the process. But the best help will come from the lactation consultants who will be there to assist you while you're in the hospital. Be sure to see a lactation specialist and get them to assess your baby's latch before you head home.
2. Relax and be patient
Few mothers get it right straight away; more commonly, it takes a few weeks to get the hang of it completely. The first couple of days aren't an indicator of how your journey will go. Many mothers struggle immensely in the beginning yet go on to feed their babies for several years. Try to go with the flow and take any small wins you get.
We know it can be hard to relax and be patient ifyour baby isn't getting any milk or is becoming distressed during feedings.That's why taking a stash of expressed colostrum to the hospital is highly recommended. You can use this to feed your baby when they can't latch.
Your doctor will provide you with syringes to store your colostrum and information on keeping your milk fresh. Expressing is not recommended before 36 weeks’ gestation.
3. Demand feed
Breastfeeding on demand or 'responsive' feeding describes a method where a mother feeds their baby whenever they're hungry. The alternative style is called ‘schedule feeding’, which involves a timed schedule based on the baby's age or weight. For example, a mother might feed their newborn every three hours, even if bub shows signs of hunger in between.
Demand feeding in the first few weeks is when it's most important, as this is when the mother's milk supply is established. Breastmilk production works on a supply and demand basis, so the more the nipple is stimulated and breasts are drained, the more milk is produced.
4. Take care of your nipples
Nipples were just a part of our body tucked awayunder our clothes 90% of the time. Now they are a vessel to provide food to a hungry, demanding baby. It's no wonder they get a little bruised and battered in the process.
Taking the time to protect your nipples will help to prevent damage. Lanolin nipple balm is a great cream that provides safe and effective relief. Unlike other creams, it's safe for little ones, so you don't need to wipe it off before feeds.
5. Air out your skin
If you are experiencing cracked or sore nipples, airing them out is one of the most effective ways to heal. If your nipples are constantly wet from feeding and then tucked away in your bra, infections like nipple thrush or dermatitis can occur. Both conditions are extremely painful for breastfeeding women and very high on the list of why many women stop feeding prematurely.
Exposing your breasts to sunlight can do wonders for tender nipples. So try to find a few minutes a day for some topless sunbaking; it might be the only time in your life it's acceptable!
6. Keep bub in your room
Having your little one close by overnight is a great way to improve your understanding of their needs. You'll start to pick up on the sounds they make while they're resting and know whether they're hungry, cold or just looking for a cuddle.
It's a great way to ensure you stick to demand feeding 24/7 rather than just during the day.
7. Avoid dummies
Dummies can be a wonderfully helpful tool, but it's best to avoid them for the first few weeks. Babies instinctively suck, and they may choose to suck away on their pacifier instead of feeding. Skipping feeds is detrimental to your baby and their needs but also your milk supply.
8. Don't stress about your milk supply
Many mothers spend so much time worrying that the milk they're producing isn't enough to feed their babies. The truth is that most women have enough milk to support their bubs hunger and growth needs.
Cluster feeding, in which babies feed super regularly, is extremely common in the first few weeks and even months. Many women take this constant feeding as a sign that they don't have enough milk, but really, it's just your baby's way of asking your body to make moremilk.
If your little one has six or more wet nappies aday and seems happy after feeds, they're most likely getting enough milk. However, if you're feeling concerned, there's no harm in chatting to your health professional for peace of mind.
9. Prevent Engorgement
Engorgement occurs when a breastfeeding woman is producing more milk than her baby needs. It can be very painful, and because the breasts become so large and hard, it can be difficult for a baby to latch correctly.
Regularly feeding your baby is the best way toavoid engorgement, but you may find you need to hand express a little milk before each feed to relieve the pressure. However, be careful not to express too much, because this will increase demand and only worsen the engorgement.
10. Try different positions
When your feeding 8-12 times a day, being comfortable is super important. Don't sit through an uncomfortable feed; instead, gently unlatch your little one by placing your pinkie in between theirmouth and your nipple. Then, allow yourself to get comfortable and relatch.
You may also find that changing up your little ones' position helps keep your muscles and joints from stiffening. Football hold, cradle hold, cross-cradle hold or even laying down are just some of the positions you can try out. So pop those names into YouTube to see the positionsin action for yourself.
11. Try a lactation aid
In Shape Mummy is a breastfeeding specific health shake designed to support the needs of lactating women. Each shake contains over 12g of protein, vitamins and minerals to support postpartum needs, and galactagogues, herbs used to support milk production.
Finding the time to make meals can be tricky when you’re in the throes of breastfeeding. And that’s why we recommended incorporating a daily nutrient-dense smoothie into your schedule. Adding oats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and plant-based milk is a great way to ensure you meet your nutrient needs each day.
If you are going to incorporate a shake mix into your diet, it must be a breastfeeding-friendly formula like In Shape Mummy. As what you ingest can pass through your milk onto your little one.
Breastfeeding newborn tips
We've spoken a lot about the challenging parts of breastfeeding in this article, but the beautiful bits that come with breastfeeding far outweigh the hard bits. The opportunity to bond with your bub while you're breastfeeding is second to none. It's a wonderful experience that has so many health benefits for you and your baby, and you will never regret pushing through.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.
Fast Track Weight Loss & Support Milk Supply with the
In Shape Mummy Health Shake
Many Busy Mums don't have time to cook health food and exercise ALL the time.
Great news! Now you can Fast Track Getting In Shape with our Quick, Easy and Delicious Superfood Meal Replacement, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums.
Support your Milk Supply and Boost Your Energy while you Lose Weight with our Premium blend of Organic Pea & Brown Rice Protein, 25 Vitamins & Minerals, Probiotics plus Organic Superfoods.
Enhanced with Milk Thistle and Fenugreek which are herbs that have been used for centuries to Support Breastfeeding. Plus, Probiotics to help strengthen your babies immune system.
100% Breastfeeding & Vegan Friendly. Contains NO Artificial Nasties, NO Soy, NO Dairy, NO Gluten & NO Caffeine. Made in Australia.
Enjoy as the Quickest and Easiest Healthy Meal!
FREE 12-Week Healthy Weight Loss Support Program worth $168 with any shake purchase.
Mums are RAVING about the In Shape Mummy Health Shake...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I'm loving it so far.. I'm already down from in weight and I feel great :) Not exaggerating when I say this is the best purchase I ever made .. can't wait to get to my first mini goal of 65kgs then set my new goal of 60kgs :) .. so far it's been life changing, thank you so much!! It has literally boosted my milk supply. I used to pump 160mls and now I average 240mls .. I've never been able to get that."
- Tania, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
""I discovered In Shape Mummy Health Shakes not long after my second baby was born. He has an intolerance to dairy so I was looking to find something that was safe for breastfeeding, and also vegan friendly. I have recently started a detox program with the help of a naturopath. She was so impressed with the ingredients that she has encouraged me to continue having it! In Shape Mummy has not only helped me lose weight, but it’s helped me nourish my body when I’ve been time poor and sleep deprived. It’s the only shake that I actually enjoy the taste of! My breakfast everyday includes ice, almond milk, water, a banana and my In Shape Mummy (my current fave is the caramel fudge!). At 11 months postpartum I feel great! And my breastfeeding journey is still going strong - my milk is in perfect supply for what Bub needs. I cannot recommend In Shape Mummy Health Shakes more highly!”
- Melanie, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I am so grateful for all the people behind the In Shape Mummy Health Shake. It has helped me lose my post-pregnancy weight in a healthy way and very helpful during days where I had to wake up early for school drop offs and going to work. I've lost 15 kgs and I couldn't be any happier. I've regained my energy and have lots of time to play with my 2 kids. It's breastfeeding-friendly which is even better for me because the nutrients this Healthy Shake has is good for my little one. I feel great and motivated to work out even more when I saw my results. I'm so in love with this Healthy Shake!!! Thanks to Lisa and the rest of their team. ♥️"
- Maureen, WA
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I've lost 35 kgs thanks to the In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. 110 kgs to 75 kgs! Juggling two little boys under 2 years old doesn't leave much time for healthy choices for Mummy and the In Shape Mummy Health Shake is such an easy solution to get all the goodness I need to keep going! My older son is 20 months and I didn't get the chance to lose the weight gained whilst carrying him before I was pregnant again with baby #2. I easily gained 40kgs across the two pregnancies and no thanks to terrible pelvic pain in pregnancy #2 wasn't able to keep active. Now that my second son is here and the pelvic pain has gone I have stuck to replacing breakfast with my shake and walking every morning for the duration of the morning sleep. Some days I will do a second shorter walk during his nap. I'm still able to enjoy yummy healthy foods and definitely do not feel like I'm going without. I no longer crave sugary foods as the shake sets me up for the day with its magical satisfying ingredients! The shake has become even more of a must since returning to work! If I thought I was busy before, life just got a whole lot busier! Now that I've lost the weight, I have more energy, zero aches and pains and have a better mood. I tell all my friends about In Shape Mummy because easy weight loss doesn't need to be a secret! Xx"
- Carly, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I have lost over 30kg with In Shape Mummy Health Shakes, exercise and a complete diet change. I started at size 22 and am a loose size 12 at the moment… and nearly a 10! I feel so much better! With my injuries in my spine, pelvis and knee my weight loss has been the best thing for my pain. 7-8 months ago I couldn’t have even imagined I could drop this much weight! The change in my life has been insane! My advice to other mums is “stick with it and don’t give up!” Thanks so very much for your In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. They are the best thing for mums on the go and while breastfeeding as well. Words can not express how grateful I am with my weight loss. I couldn’t of started this without your shakes. My life is forever changed."