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6 expert tips for breastfeeding your newborn

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Brought to you by Tommee Tippee Made for Me breastfeeding range.

Those early newborn days are exciting but there’s a lot going on, what with trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and settling your little one, all while trying grab a little sleep and occasional meal yourself.

During a recent Facebook Live for TMBTV, brought to you by Tommee Tippee’s Made for Me breastfeeding range, we chatted to expert midwife Cath Curtin, commonly known as Midwife Cath, who offered valuable tips to help deal with those early days of breastfeeding and caring for your newborn.

Watch our full chat with Midwife Cath below:

1. Look after your breasts

When you start breastfeeding, it’s important to take care of your breasts, which may feel very sore and tender. “Try not to massage those breasts when they’re really big and full,” says Midwife Cath. “You’ve got to look after your breasts and and just keep some cool packs on them.”

Should you get a blocked duct, Midwife Cath suggests popping some ice or an icepack on your breast and letting your baby suck from that side to start with each feed, until it goes away. “Please don’t massage it, because it can hurt,” she says. It’s also important to ensure you have a firm, good fitting maternity bra that still allows a bit of movement. “A bra should be firm – and firm and tight are two different things,” says Midwife Cath. “So there’s definitely no underwires. Sports bras are great, and bras [built into] T shirts are great.”

2. Keep your baby close

According to Midwife Cath, wrapping your newborn baby is important during those early days. “I would say always wrap your babies to feed, and wrap your babies to sleep,” she says. Keeping your baby wrapped and close to you is also a good way to help to stimulate lactation. “The most important way to stimulate your breast milk is your baby,” says Midwife Cath. “It takes a lot of time, especially those first six to eight weeks. Everyone’s surprised how much they actually have to feed. And when you’ve got toddlers and everything else, it’s hard, but to build your lactation up is to have your baby close and feed as much as you can.”

3. Flat or inverted nipples? Try a nipple shield

According to Midwife Cath, mums with flat or inverted nipples can have success breastfeeding with the help of a nipple shield. “If you do have flat nipples, in the early days after the birth, the baby will attach because your breast is softer,” says Cath. “As your milk starts to come in, the best thing to do is put a nipple shield on, then the baby can attach to that nipple shield and what it does is it draws your nipples out.” Talk to a lactation consultant or the Australian Breastfeeding Association for more details.

4. Be organised

It can take time for you and your baby to get into the swing of breastfeeding. You may not be able to do as much around the house, so it’s a good a idea to be prepared in advanced. “Organisation is the key to everything and organising food and having it in the freezer is really important,” says Midwife Cath. “Partners can do a lot with babies too, they can change nappies, get the baby dressed and bathed.”

5. Day feeds are important

Newborn babies may not need long stretches of sleep during the day, but they will need more frequent feeds. “If your baby’s sleeping like four or five hours overnight, always remember that they don’t need a lot of sleep during the day, they need a lot of milk,” says Midwife Cath. “Nothing will happen to a baby if they don’t sleep for hours during the day, but a lot happens if they don’t get a lot of milk.”

Little babies are not capable of having long day sleeps unto about six months of age, so Midwife Cath advises not worrying about catnapping or sleep cycles. “Just respond to your baby,” she says. “And 30, 40 minute naps are really only what they can do.”

6. Get help early

Breastfeeding doesn’t just miraculously fall into place: it sometimes take a little outside help. Midwife Cath feels very strongly about helping women with breastfeeding and recommends that you seek help as soon as possible if you need it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a low supply or too much milk, early support will make all the difference.

“Breastfeeding is the best … it calms your baby, it helps you relax, because you need to sit and feed and Mother Nature’s got it all organised to look after us and our babies,” says Midwife Cath. “Getting help early with breastfeeding will get your journey on the right foot.”

For more breastfeeding advice, visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website. You can also book a private session with Midwife Cath.

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