Top Tips From Clare Byam-Cook

Top Tips for Breastfeeding

Top Tips for The Baby Show Breastfeeding is not always as easy as everyone makes out and some mothers experience difficulties in the early days when they are trying to get breastfeeding established.

Here are a few tips that might help you know what to expect and what to do if things go wrong:

1.    Correct latching is very important. If your baby is latched on correctly, breastfeeding should be pain-free , your baby should  suck deeply and rhythmically  and he should settle well after feeds

2.    Sore nipples are not part-and-parcel of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should not hurt - if it does, this is an indication that your baby is latched on badly. This will make his sucking less effective so he will find it harder to get enough milk, which may result in him being hungry and unsettled – even after long feeds. Try to find a midwife or feeding counsellor who can show you how to improve your latch

3.    If your baby can't latch on, give him a helping hand. If your baby is not opening his mouth wide and/or you have very large breasts, you can help him latch on by using the balls of your fingers to squeeze your breasts gently on either side of the areola. This should make your nipple protrude and make latching easier

4.    Settling after feeds. If your baby is crying a lot and/or not settling after feeds, don't assume this is normal. Hunger is the most common reason a baby cries or it could be that your baby is suffering from a problem such as reflux, which requires treatment. Seek advice!

5.    Don't be afraid to use breastfeeding aids.  Nipple shields are there to help you if you are suffering from sore nipples or latching problems and you can use a breast pump to express milk so that others can help with feeding - many Dads enjoy giving the last feed of the day with a bottle, while you benefit from an early night.

Following this simple advice, I hope you will find it easier  to get breastfeeding underway. But if you are still struggling, my books and DVD (Breastfeeding without Tears) cover all the common breastfeeding problems in much greater detail, both explaining and demonstrating how to latch the baby on, which nipple shields and breast pumps to use etc.

Clare Byam-Cook
Author of “ What to Expect when you're Breastfeeding....... and what if you Can't?" "Top Tips for Breast-feeding" and "Top Tips for Bottle-feeding".