Tomorrow marks the launch of National Breastfeeding Week (Sat 20th June – Fri 26th June), an annual celebration that aims to promote breastfeeding and provide continual support to breastfeeding families around the globe.

For those mothers who make the decision to breastfeeding, the experience can be hugely rewarding, but the early days aren’t always easy.

To help more new mums get off to a good start, we’ve spoken to some of the experts at childcare agency, Tinies, to get their top tips for breastfeeding success.

Getting a good latch

“A good latch is so important,” says Nicki Pope, a Tinies Maternity Nurse. “Don’t be afraid to keep taking your baby off and re-latching until you get a good comfortable latch. If a baby isn’t latched on properly they may be distracted at the breast, nipples may feel painful, your breasts may still feel full at end of a feed and the baby may need to feed more often. Seek help from a lactation consultant if feeding is painful.

“Perseverance is key, the first few weeks of breast feeding can be very tough. You will feel like you could do with an extra pair of hands to position your baby and breasts with. Many new mums have feelings of guilt if they dread feeding times and are not enjoying feeding when so many articles say it’s the easiest thing in the world. IT DOES GET BETTER.”

Tess Rendall, a Tinies Maternity Nanny, suggests looking out for the following signs to ensure your baby is correctly positioned:

  • Baby’s cheeks should be full and not sucked in, when attached.
  • Baby has taken most of the Areola into his/her mouth. You shouldn’t see the areola from above. If you can see most of the areola this means that the baby is most likely latched onto the base of the nipple.
  • Baby is awake when latching on, not asleep. If asleep, de-latch, wake baby up, wind baby and then put baby back to breast – fully awake.
  • Baby has his/ her lips flanged out – not rolled in – detach and latch on again if this is the case.
  • Baby has tongue down when latching on.
  • Baby’s ear / shoulder and hip is in line.
  • Baby has tummy to mummy.
  • There is no gap between the baby’s chin and the breast – this would indicate a poor latch – detach and latch again.

Put a ‘feeding kit’ together

To make life easier, Nicki advises putting together a kit bag that contains all the essentials you might need whilst you are feeding your baby at home.

She says: “You can include things like, a refillable water bottle (one with a sports top as can open with one hand) something to read, cereal bars or fruit to snack on, baby nail clippers (it’s an excellent time to trim your baby’s nails once they are relaxed and full of milk), nipple cream, muslins and your phone, that way you shouldn’t have to be up and down during a feed and can relax.”

Feeding

How can you be certain your baby is feeding properly? Tess points outs some of the clearest indicators that is having an effective feed:

  • Try and make the feeds, active feeds. Baby needs to be awake to feed with their eyes open. Active feeding throughout –  if baby falls asleep during feed- detach baby and wind baby- then latch on again. Your baby needs to be aware they are feeding.
  • Baby needs to keep their tongue down when feeding. There is no clicking sound when baby is latched on – a clicking sound when baby is latched would indicate that baby’s tongue is up.
  • You can see the whole of baby’s jaw line moving when feeding (up to/including the ear.) If just the mouth is moving it indicates a poor latch – de-latch and start again.
  • Baby should have a rhythm when feeding – suck, suck, suck, swallow. You should hear the baby swallowing.
  • It should not hurt or pinch during the feed – this indicates the baby has a poor latch – detach and start again.
  • Baby should settle well after a feed. If they are waking up within 10/ 15 minutes of being put down, check for wind. Then if rooting around for food again – even though you have just done a full feed – you will need to re-access your latching and attachment.  The only time this could potentially not be about incorrect latching and attachment, is possibly a growth spurt.

Winding

Like bottle fed babies, babies that are breastfeeding can experience trapped wind. To help keep them comfortable, Tess makes the following recommendations:

  • Baby does need winding throughout a breast feed as they do get wind.
  • A baby will fall asleep on their wind during a feed – de- latch baby- wake them up – wind them and then latch again.
  • Baby has to be ‘rooting’ for you to latch on again after a wind session – if you have not got a burp and they are not ‘looking / rooting’ – chances are they may still have wind.
  • However if baby is very uncomfortable they will ‘root’ as they are looking for comfort! When you latch them back on, if they fall asleep straight away or pull off crying, chances are it may still be wind.

Do you have any more top tips for breastfeeding success that you would like to share? Please add your comments in the box below.