If you’re new at this breastfeeding thing, it’s certainly worth taking some time to review this advice from others who have gone through it themselves and have a few tips to share.
You’ve never done this before, and neither has your baby. The most important tip is to relax. If you relax, your little one will too. Breastfeeding is a completely natural process and both you and your newborn will eventually get it right.
Watch for Telltale Signs of Hunger
Before your baby begins to cry as a way to tell you they’re hungry, there will be other signals for you to catch. They may open and close their mouth or stick out their little tongue, and many little ones will also raise their head in the air to let you know they are getting hungry. Don’t wait for them to get fussy enough to cry. Be ready to feed your baby when they first start to give you their signals.
Make Sure That You Are Comfortable
You will be doing this quite a bit for the next few months, so find an area and a chair or bed that works for you and doesn’t cause any discomfort. Nursing should be a special time for you as well as your newborn. Pillows for your back and arms are recommended to prevent any back, neck, or shoulder pain.
Some moms prefer to lie on their side in the bed facing their baby. A comfy chair for reclining is another workable position. Just be sure you are comfortable so you don’t keep shifting positions, which can disrupt your baby’s feeding time.
Positioning Is Important
Baby’s nose should be next to your nipple and you should be positioned belly to belly. That way baby doesn’t have to turn his or her head. Then point your nipple at your baby’s nose, not their mouth. This allows them to lift their head to nurse.
Colostrum Is Good for Baby
The first time or two that you nurse you may notice a yellow-colored liquid coming from the nipples rather than breast milk. This liquid is called colostrum, and is full of vitamins to boost your baby’s immune system. Real milk will come a few days later.
Prevent Dry Breasts and Nipples
It’s easy for this sensitive area to become irritated with sudden use during breastfeeding, so use moisturizers to keep them moist and never scrub your breasts. Water based or lanolin based creams are best.
H2O Is Still Important
It is vital that you remain hydrated not only for you, but for your baby as well. Drink water whenever you breastfeed, and yes, that means every single time.
Many women struggle with breastfeeding, and the stress it can cause often just makes the situation even harder for new mothers to deal with. Try to take a deep breath and relieve any anxiety over these common concerns:
- You will have enough milk for your growing baby.
- Leaking is natural and it can happen in many situations.
- Lots of wet diapers and more than a few bowel movements each day are perfectly normal in the first few weeks.
When you produce more milk than your baby drinks, your breasts can become engorged or hard. This painful condition also makes it difficult for your little one to feed. The best way to correct engorgement of the breasts is to self express under a warm shower or use a pump until they soften and become more comfortable.
Baby Knows Best
Your baby knows when they are hungry, and they won’t be afraid to let you know too. There is no need to wake them up just to feed them; simply wait until they wake up on their own. Infants will also tell you when they are finished feeding and when the next one should be. Sometimes they will nurse for 15 minutes and another time it could be 35 minutes. Let them decide how long and when they want to eat.
Lose the Pacifier During the First Month
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents do not use a pacifier in the first month after the birth of their child. This device can prevent your baby from feeling hungry when they need nutrients during these first few weeks. After that, using a pacifier is fine.
Ask for Help
This is wise advice and that can be followed while you are still in the hospital. If you are unsure about what to do, there are experts there for the sole purpose of helping new parents find solutions that work for them.
Contact Women’s Health Partners if you are experiencing problems with breastfeeding.