Top breastfeeding tips for new mums from Holistic Lactation Consultant JWP
There is so much that can be done to support one's breastfeeding journey. If you are pregnant and reading this, tips 1 and 2 are for you. And if you find yourself reading this while you are already breastfeeding, skip ahead to number 3.
1. Invest in your nest
Create a nurturing and comfortable resting space for yourself and your baby. As you'll be spending a lot of time resting and nourishing your baby, it's essential to set up a nest that makes you feel safe and cozy. I recommend using beautiful linens, soft yet supportive pillows, and fabrics that provide a comforting embrace. Take the time to make this space special by including artwork or visuals that uplift you. Keep snacks and nourishing food readily available. Planning can significantly boost your mood during challenging days and nights.
2. Know your breastfeeding/lactation support options
Explore local breastfeeding support options. This could be a service provided by your local hospital or council, or a private International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who can visit you at home after your baby arrives. If possible, consider having an antenatal consultation with a lactation consultant to assess your breast shape and size and identify potential struggles in advance. This consultation can also help you understand what to expect and develop a breastfeeding plan aligned with your goals. Consulting ahead of time ensures that you have already established a connection and know what to expect when seeking support during such a vulnerable time.
3. Nutrition for breastfeeding and postpartum well-being
I always recommend a protein-rich breakfast as soon as possible after waking and that all main meals have protein, fibre, healthy fats, plus slow carbohydrates (ideally consumed in that order). Focusing on your protein intake at regular intervals will help to support a stable blood sugar which means more consistent energy throughout the day and overall greater hormonal balance. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, salmon, beef, chicken and vegan protein powders are all great options to get your 25 grams of protein per meal or 1.4 grams per kilo per day.
Hydration is also essential, as breastmilk is over 80% water, so a lot of your water intake is being diverted to your milk supply. Producing breast milk also requires water. Aim for 3+ litres per day and more during and after exercise and if you live in a warm climate. I recommend having a water bottle at each breastfeeding station in your home. Sipping on a bone broth or a nourishing herbal tea (I love nettle and chamomile) during breastfeeding will also help to keep you nourished and hydrated. If you struggle to drink water regularly, flavour your water with an electrolyte powder, I love Hydramama and LMNT. It’s also helpful to know that watery fruits, vegetables and soups also count towards your daily water intake.
4. Getting out and about with your little one
A lot of new breastfeeding parents are seeking to feel confident with feeding their new baby outside of the house. It can take time to get the right breastfeeding position for you and your baby, and also their needs are changing so rapidly. Most mothers wait at least a few weeks to feed outside of the home, however, if it is your second or subsequent baby, having a toddler in tow may mean your quest to get outdoors becomes more urgent.
When you are out and about, it is a great idea to keep your drink bottle handy and always pack single-handed snacks. Breastfeeding is demanding on your body, and producing breast milk is said to require around 300-500 extra calories per day! Planning ahead with nutritious and yummy snacks will help to sustain your energy levels and milk supply.
You may have seen breastfeeding mothers and babies covering themselves with a light muslin wrap or blanket, however, this can be hot and bothersome, particularly during the hotter months.
Some mothers like to wear a shirt and have given me the tip of unbuttoning the shirt from the bottom, which allows your upper chest area to stay covered. Having breastfeeding-friendly clothing that is not only comfortable, and functional but also makes you feel good is so key. I have heard from my clients that Apero’s breastfeeding-friendly line uses comfortable quality fabrics, and has zips that function well in just the right places. Having clothing that adapts to breastfeeding will help you feel private and secure while gaining your confidence in breastfeeding in public places. During all of the changes during pregnancy, buying new clothes is not uncommon! I think it's great to have an option like the Amalfi dress that is perfect for the later months of pregnancy and also works beautifully for your breastfeeding journey.
Here is what my gorgeous client Emma had to say about her Apero Label pieces:
“I absolutely love their tops and jumpers - super high quality, they wash really well, the zippers are great quality too so are very easy to open and shut (trying to do it one-handed is still a work in progress 😆) and they give me so much more confidence when feeding outside of the house. It’s so quick and easy to open and feed as opposed to buttons (especially when bub is starting to lose his cool) and the coverage to the upper part of my chest personally makes me feel a lot more comfortable when feeding in public as I don’t feel so vulnerable and exposed, which only further supports us in being able to have a comfortable and calm feed when we’re out and about.”
So much goes into planning the birth and the nursery, however life with your baby and how you feel also needs attention. Getting the right support, fuelling your body well and having a wardrobe that caters to your activities will make life as a new mother feel all the smoother.
Joelleen Winduss Paye is a holistic lactation consultant with over 13 years of experience supporting breastfeeding families. She combines her knowledge of midwifery, naturopathy and IBCLC lactation consulting to help parents feel guided and confident in their breastfeeding journey.
As a holistic Lactation Consultant, Joelleen offers consultations at the Maternal Infant Wellbeing clinic in Parkville, in-home visits in most inner-Melbourne suburbs, and virtual consultations worldwide. If you'd like to delve deeper into preparing for breastfeeding, Joelleen teaches a live online workshop on this topic every second month. To work with Joelleen or to register for a workshop, please visit www.jwp.care. Joelleen would love to support you in achieving a positive and empowered breastfeeding journey. You can find more information about Joellen and her contact details by visiting her website or instagram @jwp.ibclc.