Breastfeeding made easy

Being a new mother (or even a second time mother), one of the hardest things is breastfeeding. For some people it is just easy but for others (more than you think) it is really challenging.

We assume that latching and drinking will be easy, you will have enough milk and that nothing can go wrong. The challenging part is if your baby is struggling to latch you start to worry about the nutrition, weight gaining, baby sleepy during feeds – the list grows! All that stress and concern is just a vicious cycle that may affect your milk production. Breastfeeding is a science and a skill that you and your baby need to master. I do understand and respect everyone’s choice with regards to breastfeeding but my hope is that these little things that you can do from day 1 might change your whole experience and  stop you from that stress cycle that affects your whole journey.

Many women that I have treated share my sentiments about how overwhelming, frustrating and challenging this process can be.  So be sure – you are not alone and there is help.

A Good start is important!

  1. Be prepared: Understanding the science of the milk production, ensuring that you eat well, drink enough water and get good rest. Decide who you will listen to (there is so much information).
  2. Learn to dance together: Breastfeeding is like dancing together the more you do it the better will you understand one another. Be sure to feed on demand the first 4 days before your milk production starts. Try different positions to get the best latch. Make sure to nurse your nipples – don’t be a dummy for your baby your skin will break.
  3. Make sure there is no medical obstacles : if breastfeeding is painful( it shouldn’t be) ask the doctor’s, the nurses, the lactation consultant to check for a mild, or severe lip or tongue tie( very often missed) and one of the biggest reasons for struggle to breastfeed Inspect nipples to see if they are inverted or flat. Once that is covered your journey can begin

Tips for breastfeeding:

  • Be sure that before you start with a feed that you are comfortable and have a good posture
  • Latching:
    • Bring baby to the nipple and not the other way around
    • Use a breastfeeding pillow to help keep baby in good position
    • Don’t lean forward.
    • Put baby’s whole mouth around areola and not nipple
    • Babies chin and nose is touching breast
    • Baby will have fish like lips
    • You will see a deep suck from the jaws and then swallow
    • Latching is not painful then it is correct
  • To break a baby’s suction put a clean finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth and restart until a good and satisfying latch is obtained.
  • Alternate starting sides and positions of holding baby when breastfeeding
  • Cradle hold (Excellent to start with)
  • Side Lying (make sure baby is strong and latch well)
  • Football hold (comfortable if baby struggling to latch)
  • Laid back (baby struggling with reflux)
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding.
  • First breast for 10 min if you have a slow drinker or use a shield 15 min and then swop until baby is done. Never longer it will help to prevent cracked nipples
  • A good breastfeeding bra that is not too tight or restrictive is important. Too tight might block ducts and then cause engorgement
  • After a feed try to air dry nipples before you just put a bra on
  • After a feed use nipple cream to protect nipple.
  • Breasts must feel softer after a feed.
  • Baby should be back at birth weight on 2 weeks post delivery

Common problems when breastfeeding:

  • Cracked/bleeding/painful nipples
  • Due to wrong latching
  • Tongue or lip ties
  • Baby using mom as a dummy (feed to long on a breast)
  • Mastitis (infection of the breast if left untreated can lead to a breast abscess)
  • Fever
  • Breast red and warm
  • Malaise feeling
  • fatigue
  • Engorged breasts
  • Wrong bra
  • Missed feeds
  • Sleeping on stomach

How can physio help?

We as a team try to offer a multi-disciplinary approach during a mother’s breastfeeding journey. We try to prevent the complications by education prior to start of journey. When problems do arise, we use different modalities to minimize the effect and ensure quicker healing which help to keep on with breastfeeding. For cracked nipples we do laser therapy. Engorgement and mastitis, we do soft tissue massage draining techniques and ultrasound.

Don’t be alone and struggle on your breastfeeding journey – there is help and we would love to help you!

– Dirkie Coomans





Allison Blair

All stories by: Allison Blair