Things to consider...
So now you've thought about breastfeeding, you may want to take some time to think about things to consider in order to make it work for you and your baby. From positioning to gauging success, there are a few points of guidance to help feeding time run smoothy...
There are several ways to hold a baby to breastfeed although it is important to note that all of them have things in common:
- The position must be comfortable for you to stay in throughout the feed.
- The baby needs to be held close to your body, facing your breast.
- The baby’s head, neck and body all need to be in a straight line (head and neck not twisted)
- The baby’s nose should be opposite your nipple at the start
- The baby’s head must be free to tilt backwards as he is brought into the breast
Your baby needs you to respond to their feeding cues. Whenever you feed your baby, hold them close and give them eye contact. Try to feed your baby whenever they ask and for as long as they want at each feed. Some of the feeding cues your baby will display include:
- Hands to mouth
- Turning head
- Licking lips/mouthing
- Squeaking noises
- Light fussing
- Rooting (moving mouth and head as if looking for a feed)
If you’re not breastfeeding, it’s still important to feed your baby whenever they ask and should be little and often. Giving large volumes of formula milk can stretch baby’s stomach and may cause vomiting.
The safest place for your baby to sleep at night is in a cot or a crib beside your bed for the first six months. Your baby needs you to care for them at night and it is normal and beneficial for young babies to wake for feeding and attention during the night.
Night time breastfeeds are especially important for your milk supply. You can make night time feeds easier by:
- Sleeping your baby in the same room as you for at least the first six months
- Learning to breastfeed lying down
- Should have a large mouthful of breast
- Should be pressed into the breast and cheeks should be full and rounded
- May pause from time to time, and will start suckling again without coming off or having to reattach.
- Should be relaxed and contented throughout the feed and should come off your breast on his own when he is finished.
If any areola is visible, there should be more above the top lip than below the bottom lip and your nipple should look the same shape as when the feed started.
Lastly the feed should be pain-free and comfortable for you, although the first few sucks may feel quite strong. Initial attachment may hurt for 10-20 seconds if your nipple is already damaged but the rest of the feed should be pain-free.
For parents who are able to breastfeed, there are a few recommendations for a successful feeding experience: • Try to feed at least once every night – night-time breastfeeds can make more milk!
•Try to feed baby at least eight times in every 24hrs • Offer both breasts at each feed • Watch your baby’s suckling pattern – you should see deep slow rhythmical sucks and swallowing, with short pauses, throughout the feed • Keep baby stimulated and active at breast, by talking, eye contact, stroking her hair etc.
If you think your baby is not feeding effectively, you can ask for help from your midwife or health visiting team. In the meantime, you can try to continue breastfeeding and it may be helpful to express and give your baby the expressed milk as well.
There is also a large range of breastfeeding accessories that are designed to help you and your babies feeding life that little bit easier.
Breastpumps and nursing aids
Discover products that help mums during and after breastfeeding, from Elvie - the world’s first silent wearable breast pump to nipple cream.
Nursing tops and covers
Nursing tops and covers are perfect to wear for breastfeeding Mum's to wear for easy breastfeeding while on the go.
Discover stylish designs from Belly Bandit, Mamalicious and Merino Kids. Soft against the skin and provides excellent airflow for baby when feeding.
Nursing Pillows are helpful for parents to use when bottle or breastfeeding, ideal to use at home or on the go. They help give optimum support for your neck and shoulders when feeding, whilst providing additional comfort for your baby.
Bras and breastpads
Stay comfortable and leak-free while on the go with our range of super soft Belly Bandit Bras and Close breastpads for pregnant and breastfeeding mums.