What can I do in the first week after birth to help establish breastfeeding?

Nancy says: "One of the most important things is to find a really comfortable feeding position that allows you to relax and recover while breastfeeding. Babies nurse very intensively during this time, and no woman should have to choose between getting her rest and feeding her baby. Watch a video in which mothers of newborns demonstrate these ideal 'starter' breastfeeding positions at www.NaturalBreastfeeding.com. These positions allow babies to use their inborn feeding behaviours to latch deeply, comfortably and effectively. You don't have to be skilled at latching her baby when using these positions. Once you've found a comfortable position, to establish healthy milk production, all you have to do is to focus on her baby and respond to baby's feeding cues (rooting, hand-to-mouth, fussing) by breastfeeding. Keep in mind that breastfeeding has been around a lot longer than clocks. Keep the focus on the baby, not the clock."

I'm scared I'm going to fail. Why is breastfeeding so hard for so many women?

Nancy says: "Because we humans have large brains and overthink it. We are the only mammal mothers who worry about whether or not we have enough milk. We also live in cultures that medicalise birth and breastfeeding, which can complicate the process. Another factor that makes breastfeeding hard is that many of us grew up watching bottle-feeding as the norm and many mothers unconsciously try to translate what we know about bottle-feeding to breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this doesn't usually work very well because bottle-feeding and breastfeeding norms are very different."

I'm struggling. What can I do?

Dr Dupuis says: "Get information and skilled help as soon as possible. One consultation with a trained breastfeeding specialist can make all the difference. You will need a lot of patience as mothering can be really hard. I'm very aware that most mums are not well prepared for this eventuality. What I know is that with perseverance, things almost always get better. In my experience, the successful mother is not necessarily the one who doesn't face issues, but the one who perseveres through hardship. Parenting in itself is a challenge! And in your struggles, know that you are not alone. There are mamas who have been through it before. Try to reach each out to them. Their help, testimonies and reassurance in this hard time will be invaluable. In the UAE there are breastfeeding support groups such as La Leche League or online support on Facebook in groups such as Breastfeeding Q&A UAE, and Breastfeeding Mums in Dubai where you will feel understood. I'm always amazed by the strength and dedication of mums to do the best for their babies."

Read more: Where to find breastfeeding support in the UAE