First comes the bundle of joy then comes the feeding. For many mothers with a newborn, breastfeeding is the most preferred method of feeding the child. While it looks like an easy and natural process, breastfeeding can be a source of stress for many new mums. The struggles range from milk production, appropriate clothing and adjusting to this new process. Women over the years have shared breastfeeding hacks with each other. Here are some you can use.
- Stay Hydrated
To produce milk you require plenty of fluids in your body. Ensure that you are drinking plenty of water and other fluids. It is easier to drink fluids if you have them by your side. Have a bottle of water by your side, a flask of milk or tea nearby. This makes it easier to stay hydrated all day and night. 7 Tricks For Keeping Yourself Hydrated Every Day
- Consume foods that assist in milk production
For some mothers producing milk is a challenge. This leads to an underfed baby and we know how cranky hunger gets babies. If you are undergoing this struggle, it’s normal. Feeding on food or products that help with milk production will solve this problem.
Lactation cookies are a preferred method of boosting milk production. The cookies contain oats, which aid in this. If this is above your budget, you can also try fermented/sour uji. This is one of the most popular breastfeeding hacks in Kenya. The downside is that too much fermented porridge will give you a pot belly but the baby’s nutrition comes first. You can always lose it later.
Cocoa is another top hack in having a constant supply of milk. Taking a number of hot chocolate cups will ensure that you can feed your baby on demand. Some mothers also claim that wheat products helped in increasing their milk supply. This includes chapatis and bread. Traditional foods like njahis (turtle beans) also rank top in the recommendations.
In the same way, everybody has different pregnancy and birthing experiences, breastfeeding is different for many mothers. The food that worked for one mum does not necessarily work for the other one. Try out these foods and figure out which one works for you.
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- Use nursing pads
Sometimes you could have milk leaking due to overproduction. Having wet t-shirts and milk stains is common for lactating mums. This can be a challenge, especially for first-time mums. It can be very uncomfortable especially with people around. Luckily, there are both disposable and washable nursing pads. Most baby shops and supermarkets have these products. You don’t have to worry about milk leaking as you interact with people at work or on the street.
- Handling engorgement
Sometimes your breast clogs with milk. The breasts feel firm and swollen. This is usually painful and it makes your breasts feel heavy with milk. The breastfeeding hack to deal with this is to use a warm towel to massage the breast and then express some of the milk until the discomfort is gone. You can also take a warm shower while massaging and expressing.
- Track the breast sides as the baby breastfeeds
It’s easy to forget which breast the baby last breastfed. To track this you can use mammary minders. Alternatively, you can use a rubber band and put it on the hand side of the last breastfed breast. Tracking the breasts is important. Sometimes you can feed the baby but the baby continues crying of hunger because they are underfed. It can be confusing because you would expect the baby is full after a feeding. However, it could be that you did not have enough milk on that side. Tracking helps you know which side to breastfeed the baby.
- Use a scarf to cover yourself
For many new mothers, the idea of yanking out a breast to feed the baby in public is uncomfortable. However, it can be tricky to balance between covering your breast, checking on the baby feeding and making sure not to suffocate the baby while covering them. A simple cover-up is an infinity scarf. It’s easy to carry around and you can cover up fast before the baby cries in anticipation of feeding.
- Use a breast pump
Technology has been kind enough to have such products for lactating mothers. You can pump the milk for later use. Just make sure to store it correctly and label it for later use. This is a useful breastfeeding hack because it makes it easier to store milk when you have excess production. This is also essential for working new moms.
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- Feed on demand
Babies are also humans just like adults. The same way that an adult eats on demand, try to feed the baby on demand. Some people call this baby-led feeding or responsive feeding. You can tell when a baby wants to breastfeed and when they are not interested. The idea is to let the baby lead the process. Don’t impose a strict schedule of feeding or limit their feeding period. Let the baby breastfeed to satisfaction.
Feeding on demand is important because it helps with synchronizing your milk production with the baby’s needs. It also ensures that newborns get enough milk for their nutritional needs. Some experts even suggest that it is good for the emotional and cognitive development of the newborn. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk you produce. This feeding method helps with the feedback system between suckling and milk production. The feedback system controls the lactation process.
- Keep snacking
When a newborn comes into your life, it overtakes everything else. Do not neglect yourself by not feeding enough. Eat enough food to have nutrients for yourself and the baby. Make sure you feed on healthy snacks and meals. 7 Healthy Snacks To Eat Throughout The Day That Are Great For Children Too
- Have a support system
A support system is a crucial breastfeeding hack for any new mum. This is one of the breastfeeding hacks that is underrated. It’s easy to get into postpartum depression due to the mental challenges that come with being a new mother. Have a partner, family or friends that encourage you. If your milk supply is low, it is important to have someone who helps you come up with solutions. After all, they say it takes a village to raise a child.
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What other breastfeeding hacks can you share with new mothers?