My tips on successfully breastfeeding:
- don't worry about doing everything. You need to rest to build up a healthy milk supply and the housework will always be there but time with your newborn or young baby slips away so fast and before you know it they're a toddler and don't have as much time for you.
- drink plenty of water. Lay off the tea and coffee for a while, or at least cut it down. Water is the best thing for a breastfeeding mum and baby.
- listen to your baby. I know this can sound a bit trite but you and your baby need to get to know each other and your baby will let you know how they're going. Whether it's throwing up from too much feeding or needing extra feeds because they're going through a growth spurt there'll be some indication of what needs to be done.
- don't be afraid to ask for help. Once more I'll post the link to the Australian BreastfeedingAssociation for those who live in Australia. Christian was my 5th child and I still needed their experience to help me through a rough patch.
- Find positive, supportive people who will encourage you to continue when you're feeling like giving up. This doesn't mean people who'll just tell you to 'suck it up, Princess' but people with helpful advice.
- This may fly in the face of some public opinion but I don't recommend supplementary feeding. Your body is able to cope with your baby's demands. If you think they are extra hungry feed them more and soon enough you'll be supplying more milk. I personally think that supplementary feeding interferes with a mum's milk supply too much but also feeds the doubts that are there in the back of your mind. That's not to say that the occasional bottle doesn't come in handy. I have to confess that even after having seven cherubs I've never expressed milk using a machine, only hand expressed for some relief, and so when I've had to leave my baby with someone I've left a bottle, but I prefer to leave them only between feeds anyway so the bottle is just a back up.
- get a sling or a wrap to wear your baby at times when they're needing comfort, not a feed. I can't believe that I waited until my 6th child to get a sling but it is the best investment ever! I don't mean the usual clip on pouches that are found in most baby shops, that hurt your back, neck and shoulders, but something like a ring sling or a Moby Wrap. I bought my ring sling off Ebay, you can just search 'ring sling' and I made my own wrap, it's so simple and no sewing. There are plenty of instructions on baby wearing on the internet to find out how to use the sling and wrap. I was able to go to the beach with 4 children on my own. I had the baby in the sling and was holding the toddlers hand at the edge of the water while the other two paddled in front of me. It was so liberating. I've also been able to feed while walking around the shops, with no-one the wiser, something I never thought I would do.
- Research, research, research! If you want to be successful at something put the effort into the research. You won't regret it.