When I gave birth to my first daughter, she had trouble learning how to breastfeed. Would you believe that it actually took 5 weeks to teach her how to do it? There are so many tips I wish I had known ahead of time. Hopefully, you won’t have to learn the hard way like I did.
1. Make use of a lactation consultant. The lactation consultant I used was a miracle worker. She got the insurance company to provide me with an electric dual breast pump so that I could continue to extract my breast milk and feed it to my daughter through a special finger feeder. This device worked to teach my daughter how to suck, so that eventually I could breastfeed normally.
2. Stay dry. Continuously washing your nipples will cause them to crack, which will make breastfeeding painful. It is best to keep them dry. If you find that your nipples are drying out, place a cabbage leaf over them. Your bra will keep the cabbage leaf in place. This is something I did frequently, and can vouch that it works.
3. Relieve engorgement. Especially in the beginning weeks it is common for your breasts to become engorged. You will need to express some of the milk in your breasts in order to relieve the pain. If your baby isn’t hungry to do this naturally, you can use a breast pump. Save the breast milk so that dad can feed the baby later on. A warm wash cloth is also extremely helpful.
4. Positioning. It is important that both you and your baby are comfortable while breastfeeding. The make special pillows to place under the arm that you use to cradle your infant. This was a lifesaver for me. You may also want to try holding your baby like a football, or laying on your side with the baby directly up against your breast. Try a few different positions to find out which one works best for you and your baby.
5. Cloth breast pads. No matter what I did, the disposable breast pads I picked up at the grocery store always showed through my clothing. I thought that was quite embarrassing. There was no getting away without using them either, as I leaked all the time. Fortunately, I found a set of cloth breast pads. These fit nicely in my bra, and didn’t have rough edges that were evident through through my shirts. Best of all, they were cheaper to use in the long run.