Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed your baby. It gives them all the nutrition they need at the correct temperature and is great for when you are busy and on the go.I breastfed both my children but it is not always easy, especially on your first child. It takes patience, practice and support. Getting support can sometimes make the difference between continuing beyond the first few days or weeks or giving up entirely.
There are many ways you can get help and support on your breastfeeding journey. Support starts before you even give birth. If you are thinking of breastfeeding, go along to a breastfeeding support group in your local area where you can meet other Mums and Mums to be, share a cuppa and arm yourself with the knowledge to give you the confidence to breastfeed.
Ask at your next hospital visit about local support groups or check out the La Leche League of Ireland (https://www.lalecheleagueireland.com/groups/ ) or Cuidiú (http://www.cuidiu-ict.ie ) or Friends of Breastfeeding (http://www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie/wp/ ) for details of local groups.
Once you have given birth, get as much help as you can while you are still in hospital. There is usually a lactation consultant on hand for questions and to help you position the baby so they latch on correctly. Breastfeeding should not be painful so if it is, ask for help.
Once home the public health nurse will come and visit you. Ask for support if you need it, there are no wrong questions in these early days. If you feel up to it, go along to one of the support groups locally. You will get the support of other Mums and can compare notes! Remember every baby is unique so experiences will differ but, it can be a relief to hear that others are going through the same thing you are.
If you feel you need one on one help, the ALCI (http://www.alcireland.ie ) have a list of local international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLC ) who are trained to support Mums.
Online support groups can also be a great source help. There are forums on all social media channels where like minded Mums can offer each other support and help answer questions and the HSE have an Ask Our Expert section on their website with FAQ’s and one on one support. (https://www.breastfeeding.ie/Ask-our-Expert )
I’m not going to lie, the first 6 weeks can be difficult as you and your baby settle into a routine.It can sometimes feel like the baby is constantly hungry as they cluster feed in the early days. This is totally normal as your body is learning to produce the correct volumes of milk that your baby needs. If you relax, eat well and stay hydrated your body will do the rest.
Best of luck to all mums on their breastfeeding journey. Visit www.mykidstime.com for more help and support on breastfeeding.