You may have heard some pretty terrifying old wive’s tales about breastfeeding. Well, the good news is that there’s absolutely no need to scrub your nipples with a nailbrush to harden them up in preparation. But while some mums and babies have no problems when it comes to establishing breastfeeding, others need some help along the way. And that’s where we come in.
Before your baby is born, it’s a good idea to be as well-informed about breast feeding as possible. We recommend browsing through our Breastfeeding section, and if you’re going to antenatal classes, they should offer a special session on breastfeeding where you’ll learn how to hold your baby and about latching on.
What you’ll need
The great thing about breastfeeding is that you don’t need anything at all – just you and your baby. That said, you might find having a couple of muslins handy to deal with posseting, and if you feel shy about breastfeeding in public, you might want to invest in a couple of nursing tops, or even a nursing blanket. Nipple cream is also a good remedy to have on hand in case of cracked or bleeding nipples – it’s safe for you and your baby.
If you’re not planning on breastfeeding, or if you can’t for one reason or another, here’s a guide to Bottle Feeding.
Breastfeeding and working
If you’re planning on breastfeeding when you go back to work, you’ll need to start getting your baby used to taking your expressed milk from a bottle regularly from around six weeks. For more information see Breast Feeding & Working for more information.
It can takes up to six weeks to establish breastfeeding, and the early days can sometimes be tough. Our best advice is to take things one day at a time, and ask for help if you need it – midwives can be brilliant, but there are loads of other resources out there for you. Lots of SureStart centres also offer breastfeeding drop-in sessions – look out for posters when you visit your GP, or ask your health visitor. Or try one of these groups:
La Leche: League http://www.laleche.org.uk/