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  • Writer's pictureRosemary Scott

Top Tips for Learning to Breastfeed

When you're pregnant you often focus on buying all the equipment you think you'll need and booking that antenatal course. Learning about breastfeeding and knowing what to expect is often not considered. Making time for that preparation can make all the difference to your infant feeding journey. Here is your checklist on getting ready to breastfeed:

1. PREPARE: when we book our birth preparation classes we often don't dedicate as much thought to just how we will feed our new baby. It's a good idea to attend an antenatal breastfeeding class or book a 121 session with a professional. If you haven't seen anyone close to you breastfeed you can also watch videos of real women breastfeeding like these from UNICEF. Find out where your local drop-in support is and who your local experts are so you have them to hand should you need them. Identify your source of PEER SUPPORT such as friends who've breastfed before who can support you and talk to your PARTNER about how you see their role. You’ll need their love, support as well as practical help.

If you'd like to talk about how I can support you prepare for your infant feeding journey do get in touch:

2. PRACTICE: it takes time to learn a new developmental skill. When you learnt to walk you fell over several times but you persevered. It’s less common for us to learn a developmental skill in adulthood so we get frustrated. Allow yourself plenty of time and space to dedicate to it. Each feed may feel different but as long as you’re learning why and how you can make the next feed more comfortable then you’re moving in the right direction. In time you'll gain confidence and start to read your baby instinctively.

3. PATIENCE: closely linked to practice, again we don’t often stretch ourselves to this extent in adulthood. Don’t give up on a bad day - stop when you feel emotionally ready and have talked it through with people you trust. Sleep deprivation is awful so be kind and keep life simple for a while. Take it one feed, one day at a time and surround yourself with those who support you.

There is growing evidence connecting the use of relaxation techniques and positive breastfeeding journeys. You can read more about Mindful Breastfeeding here and don't hesitate to get in touch to see if it's right for you.

4. PERSEVERANCE: if breastfeeding is important to you then keep at it. Reach out for expert help if you need it or ask friends and your partner to encourage you even when you’re having a bad day. Remember it does get easier and you are giving your baby the best start. Setting out your personal breastfeeding goals before your baby arrives or in those early days is a good idea. Share those goals with your peel support group and they can remind you of them when you're struggling. Of course this goal should be flexible enough to adapt should you wish to change it.

Watch my Free Breastfeeding Masterclass for more information on how to breastfeed, including a demonstration on how to hand express colostrum and breastfeeding positions.

Do you know what your Breastfeeding Goals are? What does a successful feeding journey look like to you?

Use the steps above as prompts to encourage you to reflect on what your personal breastfeeding goals are. You may even wish to write them down and identify what you may need - emotionally or practically - to allow you the time to achieve them. This could be childcare for older siblings, someone to walk the dog, booking postnatal support to help you in the early days. Then I strongly encourage you to talk this through with your partner so they understand why it’s important to you and how their role fits into that.

You may like to consider writing a Postnatal Plan too. The fourth trimester is often a very emotional time and you're also recovering from birth. Think about what that short period of time looks like for you. How can others support your recovery? Have you considered hiring a postnatal doula for example? You can search the directory at Doula UK or I personally recommend Katherine Knapp in Dorking, Surrey.

If you'd like to talk about how I can support you prepare for your infant feeding journey do get in touch:


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