With being a new mother comes the exciting (and often daunting) challenge of breastfeeding. Let's talk about how to improve your experience with breastfeeding.


1. Welcome to your new full-time job

Breastfeeding is a natural part of being a mother, but it doesn’t always come all that naturally - especially for first-time mums. The great news is, there are ways to make it easier and much more enjoyable.

To put things in perspective, research from the Australian National University estimates caring for a baby takes more than 40 hours a week, and 18 of those are spent breastfeeding. That’s equivalent to a full-time job. Of course, it’s not without its perks: you get a cute baby to cuddle.

The first few weeks of motherhood are heart-warming and rewarding but can also be incredibly demanding. There’s a physical and emotional toll as you and your baby learn the ins and outs of breastfeeding - and that’s just one element of your new 40+ hour week.

Adjusting to a new and sometimes unpredictable schedule of breastfeeding at all hours of the day and night is a challenge. Having a supportive network around you will make the learning curve so much easier and being kind to yourself is key. Take breaks when and where you can try not to overload yourself and prioritise rest.

Motherhood and transparency have really come to the fore in recent decades, so it’s easy to find honest and accurate accounts of breastfeeding, not just warm and fuzzy tales of the 3am bonding experience between a new mum and baby. Knowing what to expect and understanding what’s happening when things don’t go your way are half the battle fought.


2. Support comes in many different forms and formats

When you think of support networks, family and friends immediately come to mind. Many other resources are available in your neighbourhood and at your fingertips, so you can reach out whenever you need to.

Made sure you’re aware of the official breastfeeding support services in your area and note down their contact details before the baby arrives. These facilities are staffed by friendly and understanding professionals who have seen and heard it all so ask all the questions you need to, and enquire about the support they offer.

If you’re not quite sure where to look first, below is a list of support services to get you started:

  • Your local Maternal and Child Health Service (or equivalent in your state)
  • Lactation consultant
  • Australian Breastfeeding Association

Be open about your feeding choice with your family and friends. Be aware that they might not know how to support you, so be clear and ask for the help you need, whether that’s a sandwich or a babysitter for 20 minutes so you can take a power nap.

Remember you always have a friend in the internet. Thanks to high-speed connections and savvy mums, there are loads of forums to tap into for advice and for when you need to have the occasional vent. There are also free counselling platforms if you feel you’re struggling and need an impartial ear.


3. Being comfortable is underrated

A comfortable and supportive nursing bra is the foundation of an enjoyable breastfeeding experience. It might be a surprise to hear that it can also be a real confidence booster.

There are some key differences between a breastfeeding bra and a regular bra that make an incredible difference to your posture and take into account your changing body shape.

Breastfeeding bras are expertly designed to provide support without an underwire. Underwires tend to press against soft breast tissue, leading to discomfort, aching and swelling.

They’re made to cover a larger surface area and the cups are lined with soft breathable cotton. Wide shoulder straps ensure maximum support and equal distribution of the added pressure across your shoulders. Six hooks and eyes at the back of the bra accommodate the expansion of the ribcage.

One of the most noticeable differences about breastfeeding bras is the inclusion of conveniently placed clips. It’s quick and easy to hook and unhook the cups, giving you quick and convenient access to your breast within seconds, a feature you’ll greatly appreciate when your little one is crying while waiting to be fed.

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