Nourishing your baby is the first of many learning curves that you'll both face together.
Breastfeeding doesn't require a lot of essentials, other than breasts, a baby and a lot of perseverance and patience. However there are items and some key pieces of advice that can make your journey go more smoothly.
There's no one way of perfecting breastfeeding, as every mum, and breast, is different.
We asked one of Australia's most well-known midwives, Midwife Cath to share her...
Top 10 tips to successful breastfeeding
1. Consider getting professional education about breastfeeding from a midwife or lactation expert, and do your research, prior to the birth of your baby.
2. Nipples are such an important part of breastfeeding – however not one nipple is the same. Years ago, we used to check nipples prior to birth and I continue to do this. I recommend that you discuss the shape of your nipples with your midwife prior to birth to manage your breastfeeding expectations.
3. Regardless of whether you think you'll need them, I recommend including nipple shields in your hospital bag as a packing essential. The NUK nipple shields are made of extremely thin silicone offering natural skin contact between mum and baby, can help relieve discomfort in the early stages of breastfeeding and allow calm and natural sucking.
4. Get as much physical contact with your babies as soon as possible once they are born, for as long as possible.
5. Surround yourself with a village of good professionals who provide positive advice and support in the early stages while you learn and improve latching and establish a strong milk supply.
6. Focus on listening and learning from one core support person in establishing feeding and developing that initial connection with your baby.
7. Don't try and rush it, we all want feeding to be quick and easy, but it takes consistent, hard work. For breastfeeding mums, milk can take 6-8 weeks to completely establish. Understand that each day gets better and every day will be different.
8. Let Fathers or partners take an active role in bathing, dressing and wrapping the baby and giving expressed breast milk at night time. It's a win for dad who can play a part in the day with their newborn, a win for bub who develops a lifelong connection with both parents, and a win for mum who gets a physical and emotional break from the constant needs from the baby.
9. For mums who have smaller babies (under 2.5 kilos) or mums with inverted nipples, it is recommended that you consider incorporating a breast pump into your feeding routine. This supports babies who need additional milk and support with feeding if they cannot attach or suck effectively from the breast.
The technology behind breast pumps is incredible. The NUK Nature Sense breast pump has 16 options for speed and suction to ensure maximum efficiency. It even has a memory function, so you can keep it set on the right setting that works best for you.
10. Take advantage of the products that are available to you, from nipple shields to breast pumps which can support in expressing milk and give mums a much-needed break; they are all wonderful solutions in supporting you in how you choose to feed your baby.
Always remember, that no matter your journey, you are doing a great job and your baby is beautiful.
Midwife Cath is an ambassador for NUK, a leading provider of products and solutions for new parents, to make their everyday life easier.
Visit www.NUK.com.au for more information or follow @NUKAustralia.