Choisissez votre langue: Français
If your baby’s position isn’t quite, your nipples can become cracked and sore. Try to feed before your baby starts chomping too hungrily, and make sure she opens her mouth really wide to take in as much of your breast as she can rather than just pulling on the nipple. Help them heal by rubbing on a little breast milk – simple but effective!
Check with your midwife or health visitor that the soreness isn’t due to thrush – if it is, this will require treatment.
Don’t use soap when you wash your breasts as this can dry out their natural protective substances. Instead, allow your nipples to dry out between feeds, using good stay-dry breast pads, specially designed breast shells or a clean tea strainer without its handle – although don’t use either of these last two continuously as this could damage the delicate milk ducts around the nipple. Going topless as much as possible helps too – just pretend you’re on a tropical beach!
You might have blocked milk duct – a common cause is a bra that’s too tight. Massage towards the nipple, apply a warm flannel and feed your baby from the lumpy side to help ease the blockage. You need to get things flowing again to prevent mastitis.
Sometimes when your milk first comes in or you haven’t fed your baby for a while your breasts get engorged – so full they get hard and swollen – and it becomes hard for your baby to latch on. The answer is to keep feeding your baby frequently – express some milk first by hand or with a breast pump to soften your breasts. A shower, bath or warm cloth can help, as can wrapped ice packs and even putting chilled cabbage leaves in your bra! And don’t panic, it usually gets better in 24 hours.
These are symptoms of mastitis, which is inflammation of the breast. If they happen to you, keep feeding your baby from that side first and see your midwife or doctor as you may need antibiotics. Don’t worry it’s fine to keep on feeding throughout – the antibiotics prescribed for mastitis won’t harm your baby. Just take good care of yourself, eat well, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
There can be more problems getting the baby latched on in the early days but these can be overcome with expert help from your midwife or health visitor – don’t hesitate to ask for as much help as you need.
Tell your midwife before your baby’s born if you’ve had any surgery, so you can discuss the possibilities and be prepared. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to feed.
Generally, you can eat anything you like, even things avoided in pregnancy, although you may find that large amounts of acidic fruit or some vegetables like onions, cabbage or sprouts can make your baby a bit windy and unsettled at first. It’s important to eat a varied diet with plenty of fresh foods. Different flavours get through to your baby in your milk, which is thought to make weaning easier.
There’s no reason why you can’t successfully breastfeed after a caesarean, but you may need more help in getting comfortable and your milk could take a little longer to come in than after a natural delivery. You may well be more tired and need more help in the early days, but otherwise all the usual principles apply.
You don’t have to wear a maternity bra but any bra you wear must fit properly. Your breasts should be well supported but not restricted as this can lead to blocked ducts and even mastitis. Get yourself properly measured and fitted during the last three weeks of your pregnancy or soon after the baby is born.
Slowly! Giving up too suddenly can lead to painful engorged breasts, so try dropping 2 feeds a day and your milk will gradually reduce. You should be able to stop in 2 to 3 weeks.
It’s fine to have a drink, but as a tiny amount does get through in your milk, you should keep it to a minimum – preferably no more than 1 unit (equivalent to a glass of wine) a day – and definitely no binge drinking.
Find out if there are any local breastfeeding or mum and baby groups you can pop along to – feeding worries are a lot easier to handle if you can laugh about them with other mums in the same boat. And if, after giving it your best shot, you finally decide to mix or bottle feed, don’t feel bad about it. You have given your baby the best possible start, so congratulations. And babies will pick up on your mood – happy is definitely better.