Thankfully, just because you had difficulties with your last breastfeeding experience does not mean you will automatically find breastfeeding difficult with your new baby. Try and think of this time as a fresh start.
This Breastfeeding Experience Will Be a Brand New One
Often, moms who are having their second or third baby may feel like they should know everything already. As a result, they may not be as vocal when it comes to asking for help from their midwife or lactation consultant.
Many moms find it helpful to discuss what happened with a previous breastfeeding experience can be an effective way to mourn the loss of the breastfeeding experience you wanted, find acceptance for what occurred and achieve healing. This allows women to feel more able to move on and start focusing on this new experience to come and work out a better plan.
There are definitely a few essential tips which can help every mom and baby to start off well with breastfeeding in the first few days and weeks:
Attend Breastfeeding Classes
These could include ones at your hospital or those classes which your private midwife provides. Have discussions about breastfeeding and seek help, support and advice during your pregnancy from a health professional with breastfeeding expertise.
Have Skin to Skin Contact with Your New Baby as Soon as Possible After Birth
Babies are often very alert and awake, seeking the breast in the first hour or two after birth. This is often called the “Golden Hour.” This is a really important stage for your baby to utilize all their innate reflexes which they are born with, to find their way to the breast and feed.
If your baby is not yet ready to have a breastfeed in the first hour it is important to continue skin to skin holding and start expressing your milk as soon as possible. Thereafter, keep expressing your milk 8 times in 24 hours to initiate your milk supply, until your baby starts to breastfeed by themselves.
Delay Delivery Room Practices, Such as Weighing or Early Bathing
These can all easily be done after skin to skin contact. This is supported by the Ten Steps of the Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) which many Australian and all New Zealand hospitals follow and adhere to. If you are unsure about whether these practices are routinely postponed in your hospital, then it is a good idea to discuss this with your midwife antenatally and place your requests in your birth plan.
Watch for Your Baby’s Early Feeding Cues
Crying is a late sign of hunger. Most babies will wake up slowly and give us subtle feeding cues before they start crying and really telling us they are hungry!
Look for your baby starting to stir themselves awake, turning their head and opening and closing their mouths, as well as poking their tongue out. This is a great time to feed your baby as they are clearly signalling that they are hungry, yet they are still calm, which makes breastfeeding much easier than when they are crying!
Do not try to put your baby on a routine or ignore early feeding cues to push them out for longer periods between feeds. This is not only frustrating for your baby but will actually upset your milk supply as well.
Rest and Relax as Much as Possible
Take advantage of all offers of help to do the housework, entertain your other children or provide you with delicious meals! Then, relax with your baby as much as you can! This will help your milk to flow and to give breastfeeding the best possible start this time around.
Have a read of the links included in this blog for much more information on getting breastfeeding off to a good start, as well as, knowledge on what is normal and to be expected with breastfeeding.
If you would like to tell us about your breastfeeding experience or tips which helped you the second or third time around join us on our Medela Canada Facebook Page.