Parenting: 7 helpful breastfeeding tips for moms from a baby expert

Sophie Hamilton

How you feed your newborn is a personal choice and the most important thing is to keep baby nourished and happy, whether through breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

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If you choose to breastfeed, your nurse or midwife will advise you on what to do while you are in hospital or at home if you gave birth at home. Breastfeeding is a rewarding and sometimes delicate experience for mother and baby, but when you master it, it’s a wonderful bonding time for both.

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the NHS website recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of your baby’s life, and from six months on solid foods until your baby’s second year or beyond, if desired.

Breast milk contains vitamins and minerals, provides protection against certain infections and reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), childhood diabetes and leukemia. It also helps improve your baby’s long-term health.

HELLO! spoke to Baby and parenting expert, former midwife and Baby Show speaker Rachel FitzD for her top breastfeeding tips. Below, she answers some common questions…

How long should each feeding last?

Rachel FitzD says, “When babies breastfeed, they combine both nurturing and soothing, which has a dual benefit.

Moms quickly realize that, just like grown-ups, some meals are fun and casual, while others are a quick snack before heading out to do something else! So there really is no answer to the question of how long each feed should last.

At first, it may feel like some feedings go on forever and they feel restless. Then, as babies get a little older and start having days where all they want to do is dive in for a quick snack, those same moms find that they really miss the long, snuggly, cuddly feeds.

Try to avoid looking at the clock and find something else to do while baby is nursing, like reading or writing your emails.”

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I’m trying to breastfeed but it’s so painful – what should I do?

Rachel advises: “Our breasts are beautifully evolved to feed babies comfortably for as long and as often as they want and we want. Pain is always a sign that something is wrong and often it is easily overcome with help from someone trained to support mums with Never suffer in silence – ask for help from a specialist.

In the meantime, while you wait for help to arrive, try lying on your side, cuddling your baby close with their nose just below your nipple, and touching the underside of your breast. Then, relax as your little one begins to reflexively get up and find their own way to ride.

Really try not to back up to see what’s going on, as this can create enough space between the baby’s mouth and your breast and interfere with their natural reflexes.”

My husband feels left out of the feeding process – how can I include him?

Rachel says: “The best way for a husband or partner to feel involved in the loving cuddles of breastfeeding is to simply hold the baby to the breast so you can all put your feet up and spend time together. .

Once your partner learns how to do this, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how fun it is to share.

If you want to use bottles, the first feed in the morning is likely to interfere the least with your own feeding and therefore have the least impact on your breastfeeding journey.

But remember that your partner should give the bottle very slowly, taking lots of little pauses for a soothing pat or rock, and let baby say “enough” even if he hasn’t finished the bottle – he knows his appetite better than anyone. and can judge if he needs a good meal or just a little snack at the moment.”


Can you drink alcohol and breastfeed?

Rachel tells us, “Alcohol, like other drugs, can get into our blood and therefore into our mother’s milk. However, it is not necessary to completely give up alcohol when breastfeeding.

The liver removes alcohol from the blood at the rate of about one unit per hour after the first hour. So take a drink and wait a few hours before giving your baby a meal if you want to prevent him from getting any from your milk. Remember that for your own health, follow the health guidelines for safe alcohol consumption and avoid excessive alcohol.

Despite what you might be told, there is absolutely no need to express your milk and throw it away if you have been drinking (often referred to as ‘pumping and dumping’) because the alcohol in your milk decreases as the level in your blood goes down – so it naturally self-cleanses even when it’s in your breasts!

Finally, don’t share a bed or sofa with your baby if you’ve been drinking, as this can increase the risk of SIDS and bed-sharing accidents.”

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How do I start giving breast milk and formula to a newborn?

Rachel advises, “Introducing formula too early in your breastfeeding journey can confuse your body and cause supply issues. It is therefore recommended, unless there is a clinical reason, not to introduce infant formula for the first six weeks at an absolute minimum.

Once you’ve started, contrary to popular belief, bottle-feeding at bedtime isn’t helpful and will likely interfere with your own supply.

Although babies are very fond of going to the breast in the evening, it is closeness and soothing they seek rather than lots of extra milk, and there is no evidence that giving extra food in the evening in such a way to a bottle makes babies sleep longer. In fact, it can only increase discomfort and wind.

It’s best to give a bottle in the morning a few hours before noon, and if your partner wants to, then that early morning bottle might just give you an extra hour in bed!

Be aware that it is more difficult for a baby to control the amount of milk they get from a bottle compared to breastfeeding, so go slowly or a baby can easily overfeed and become sore. uncomfortable and vomit.

If at any time you feel that giving formula is affecting your own supply, simply reduce the amount of formula you give, allow your baby to breastfeed more often, and your own supply should rebound.”


I think my baby is using breastfeeding as comfort – what should I do?

Rache says, “All babies use the breast for both feeding AND comfort, and that’s completely normal. In fact, babies can switch the flow of milk on and off throughout the feed in order to being able to take a little milk, then calm down-suck a little, feed a little more, then soothe-suck again.That’s the healthy way humans get everything they need all at once, so no need to over-analyze.

This stage won’t last forever and if your baby doesn’t calm down on the breasts, you’ll just have to get up and walk the boards patting and rocking more.

Once you relax and realize that everything is fine and your baby is just a baby, you will find that you can sort your emails, call a friend, book your car for her MOT or, as Jacinda Ardern tells us showed , run a country while a baby feeds and soothes and stays happy and safe on the breasts. Most of us mere mortals are quite happy to answer our emails and have a cup of tea!”

When I want to stop breastfeeding, how can I wean my baby?

Rachel reveals: “Once you start giving family foods from six months, babies very gradually consume more and more solids while slowly and easily reducing their mother’s milk.

This helps your breasts fit really naturally and comfortably without any effort on your part. If you want to speed up this process before your baby can wean itself, you can stop slowly or more quickly by replacing one or more feedings with the offer of a bottle or a cup of formula (or milk of whole cow if over one year of age).

The sooner you stop breastfeeding, the more you are likely to feel full and uncomfortable, and as tempting as that sounds, it might just make things worse.

Instead, wear a firm, well-fitting bra, take paracetamol for pain, and ibuprofen (if you don’t have asthma) if your breasts become red, and using one hand flat (not the knuckles), massage your breasts from the nipple backwards for a few minutes. times a day to relieve any tissue swelling (oedema). This is called “reverse pressure softening” and will help reduce heaviness and discomfort until your milk dries naturally.

If at any time you become feverish, keep doing these things and also talk to a lactation specialist or lactation consultant.”

Rachel FitzD is an infant nutrition consultant and expert on baby and parenting and is the author of Your Baby Skin To Skin. She has a free Facebook group, RachelFitzD Community.

You can find out more about Rachel at which takes place May 13-15 at the NEC in Birmingham. The UK’s leading baby and parenting shows at London ExCel, London Olympia and Birmingham NEC.

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