Welcoming a brand new baby into the world is a beautiful experience. But the prospect of breastfeeding for the first time can make some new mums feel anxious because they haven’t done it before.
One must-have item which will greatly assist you in your breastfeeding journey is a breastfeeding cover.
What is a breastfeeding cover you may be wondering? Well, it’s a large, soft piece of fabric which covers the mum and baby while breastfeeding. It provides an airy space and acts as a barrier, to provide privacy for the intimate moments of nursing or pumping milk.
At Mama Jewels, we sell a breastfeeding cover made from bamboo and organic cotton, which is a lightweight and naturally breathable material. The breastfeeding cover comes in lovely patterns of mustard dots, mustard swirls or green leaves. Like a one-shoulder top, the breastfeeding cover slips nicely over the mum’s body, feeling roomy and super comfortable.
The natural swaddle wrap breastfeeding cover is also ideal for wrapping your baby to sleep, as well as for cleaning up after feeding and winding. It is a great accessory to prepare for motherhood, plus it makes the perfect breastfeeding gift for a pregnant spouse, relative or friend.
So, what is a breastfeeding cover and is it necessary?
You might feel perfectly comfortable when breastfeeding your baby in front of other people at home or in public.
However, the act of breastfeeding can be long, uncomfortable, messy and draining. Several times a day nursing mums have to feed a hungry, irritable baby, who might spit up a lot or have trouble latching on to the breasts.
Breastfeeding and pumping also come with the hassle of changing in and out of nursing bras, fiddling with breast pumps and nursing pads, and dealing with tenderness or soreness in the nipples.
So, a breastfeeding cover can help solve many of the challenges that come with nursing.
A breastfeeding cover is a necessity for mums who want privacy, as the fabric hides the mum’s chest area and the sight of the baby sucking. This is excellent for mums who may need to pump milk urgently to relieve their breasts from being overly full.
Also, a breastfeeding cover makes the process of breastfeeding easier and less nerve-wracking. The cover allows the mum to use both hands, making it really practical and functional if the baby needs help to latch on to the breasts.
Additionally, a breastfeeding cover creates a protective barrier. This helps bring peace of mind for any nursing mums who experience spraying or leaking from their breasts, due to an overabundant milk supply.
Moreover, a breastfeeding cover removes any visual distractions from the baby’s environment during feeding. As babies grow, they become more interested in the world around them, so they may get distracted and start pulling off their mum’s breasts.
It is a real nuisance for mums when their baby’s eyes are roaming and their limbs are wriggling during breastfeeding sessions. Distractibility is common at around 8 to 10 months, which can be frustrating for mums. When this happens, the mum has to coax the baby back to the breast, sometimes multiple times.
If a baby is distracted during breastfeeding, it can make mums incorrectly assume that the baby is trying to wean. It can even put off mums from wanting to breastfeed altogether.
Hence, a breastfeeding cover can help the baby concentrate much better on feeding, which improves the overall experience of breastfeeding.
If you are breastfeeding and your baby is really distracted, follow the tips below:
- Always breastfeed in a comfortable spot in a quiet, dimly lit room.
- Make sure it is just you and your baby at your breastfeeding station. It can be very distracting if any older children walk in and out of the room and interrupt you while you are breastfeeding.
- Use pillows for your back and for the baby, if it provides better support.
- Minimise the distractions in the room, by lowering the television volume and reducing any harsh lighting.
- Put on gentle music or a white noise machine to drown out distracting sounds.
- Speak or sing to your baby in quiet, soothing tones.
- Be patient. Breastfeeding is a skill that both the mum and baby are learning together, so it takes time to get it right.
- Rock the baby gently, as the motion can improve the baby’s focus.
- Give the baby a rattle or teething necklace if they are fussy or suffering from gum soreness.
- Try switching the position you are sitting or laying in.
- Pump milk when you are not feeding if your breasts are feeling full.
- Speak to your doctor or health visitor if you have any concerns about breastfeeding.
What are the signs that the baby is full after feeding?
- Baby turns their head away from your breast or bottle
- Baby’s mouth looks moist after the feed
- Baby appears content and satisfied
- Your breasts feel softer after nursing
- Baby slows down sucking
- Baby starts to play or becomes easily distracted
- Baby starts to fall asleep
- Baby starts to cry shortly after feeding starts
How do I get my baby to latch deeper?
- Hold the baby close with their nose level to your nipple.
- The baby should have its head tilted back a little bit, so it can open its mouth wide, like a big yawn.
- The baby’s mouth must form a seal around the nipple, covering much of the areola (dark area of skin around the nipple).
- Make sure your nipple is high and deep in the baby’s mouth, so their tongue can reach as much breast as possible.
- The baby’s chin should firmly touch your breast.
- The baby’s cheeks should look full and rounded as they feed.
- After feeding, your nipple should look normal and full, as opposed to creased, sloped or compressed.
Why do babies cover their faces when nursing?
Your little angel might bury their face into your chest or armpit or nestle under a blanket. When a baby places their cheeks against a comfortable surface, this is a form of self-soothing behaviour.
Skin-to-skin contact releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone, which helps cement an attachment between the baby and its primary caregiver.
If the baby is tired or hungry, it might bang its head against your chest. Not to worry, this is a normal reaction while babies are learning to hold their heads up. Try keeping one hand cupped behind the baby’s head to support them better.
Speak to your doctor or health visitor if you have any concerns.
You should take great care if your baby’s face gets covered with a blanket. Blankets are not recommended until your baby reaches at least 12 months old, as they can put the baby at risk of accidental suffocation.
Should I wake my newborn to feed?
That depends on the baby’s age, weight and overall health. You should feed your newborn frequently so that they gain back the weight they lost after birth. During this period, you can wake your baby for a feeding, especially if they sleep for more than 4 hours at a time.
Once your newborn has hit the milestone of gaining back their birth weight, it is generally fine to wait until they wake up to feed them.
Your newborn should feed at least 8 to 12 times a day for the first few weeks of their life, or whenever they are hungry.
Breastfeeding your baby regularly helps to establish and maintain your breast milk supply. It is important to breastfeed at night because this is when you produce more hormones (prolactin) to build up your milk supply.
How long should you breastfeed?
Exclusive breastfeeding (breast milk only) is recommended for around the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Breastfeeding alongside solid foods is best for babies from 6 months.
You and your baby can carry on enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as you like. Ideally, breastfeeding should continue into your baby’s second year or beyond, alongside other foods.
To stop breastfeeding, phase it out gently, so both you and your baby can get used to the feeling. You can do this by stopping one feeding at a time, perhaps at night time if you prefer, so your baby sleeps comfortably.
If your child is under 12 months old, the breast milk must be replaced with formula. If they are over 12 months and are having a variety of food and drinks, they will not need a replacement feed.
In the first 12 months of your baby’s life, first infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk. Cows’ milk can be introduced as the main drink from 12 months onwards.
We hope that we covered “what is a breastfeeding cover?” thoroughly and answered all your breastfeeding cover questions.
Find out more about Mama Jewels by visiting our website here.