30 Nov Breastfeeding: tips from a doula
Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean it’ll be second nature. Sometimes it takes time, practice and a whole lot of trial and error to get into a breastfeeding groove. Patience and persistence and maybe a little bit of help.
Usually I find mums that say something like: “It’s supposed to be the most beautiful time in your life, and you are tired, full of insecurities, sometimes pain and not knowing if you’re doing it right”, and a lot of times my work, if they have decided to breastfeed is to empower them, let them rest a bit and give them some tips about breastfeeding.
Tips for breastfeeding from a Doula in Barcelona
1. Build up your breastfeeding support community
In many cultures, women grow up watching other women breastfeed. So, a new mom has this experience and an already built-in support system. If you haven’t had this experience, like most of us, attend a breastfeeding class and find a local breastfeeding support group. Barcelona is full of Alba Groups, they are free and consultants are really good and well trained. Also you can find a breastfeeding support group in your CAP (medical centre)
2. Observe and begin to learn your baby’s feeding instincts and hunger cues
- Right after your baby is born, let her lie skin to skin on your chest until she breastfeeds for the first time.
- Learn to identify your baby’s early hunger cues as it is best to start breastfeeding with a calm, quiet, and alert baby. Some early hunger cues include:If your baby is crying, don’t force her to breastfeed. First, soothe your baby by holding, swaying, walking, or rocking her.
- Rooting (moving her head side to side with an open mouth when her cheek is touched);
- Sticking her tongue out;
- Sucking on her hands.
3. Have some pillows, towels, and maybe a supportive chair on hand for you and your baby’s comfort during feeding
- If you are lying down to breastfeed, you may use a towel or blanket to support your baby’s back.
- If you are sitting upright to breastfeed, you may place pillows behind your back (do not just think horizontally, vertically is also great) and under your arms to help you relax and be comfortable while you breastfeed. Have a rolled-up towel or baby blanket within your reach. Place the baby on top of the pillow at your side or in front of you (depending on which position you use) so that the baby is at breast level.
- If you are sitting upright to breastfeed, find a seat with good back support. Also try a footstool for additional support.
4. If you feel you need it Help your breasts make milk
- Breastfeed as much as you can. If your baby is not in the mood pump.
- Massage and gently squeeze your breasts before and during breastfeeding or pumping.
- If pumping, hand express afterwards for a few minutes to help drain your breasts of milk.
5. Look for a comfortable breastfeeding position
It may take some time to figure out the most comfortable, effective breastfeeding position for you and your baby. What might work for one mom and baby may not work well for another. Do what feels good for both of you and whenever you can, breastfeed skin to skin. Here are some commonly used breastfeeding positions you can try.
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