One of your first nurturing acts as a new mother will likely be feeding your baby. For many women, that will mean breastfeeding. As natural as breastfeeding is, you may still worry and stress about providing the proper nutrients for your baby. And you probably have a million questions about how it all works and how to do it correctly.
Our best advice: relax, you and your baby will get the hang of it eventually. To help calm your worries, we’ve put together a list of the 9 best breastfeeding tips for new mothers.
- Anticipate Your Baby’s Desires
Rather than waiting for your baby to cry, you can anticipate their needs by watching for a few tell-tale signs. When your baby is hungry, they may:
Turn or raise their head repeatedly.
Open and close their mouth.
Stick out their tongue.
Suck on whatever is near.
If you see your baby making these moves, offer your breast right away. Your baby will be happy that they don’t have to struggle to get your attention, and you’ll build a level of intimacy that will deepen your mother/baby relationship.
2.Let Your Baby Determine How Often And How Long To Nurse
Your baby knows their needs better than you do right now. Let them determine how often to nurse. Don’t set a predetermined interval between feedings and then deny your baby food just because not enough time hasn’t gone by.
On the other hand, there’s no need to wake a sleeping baby to feed them simply because three hours have passed. Let your sleeping baby lay peacefully and feed them when they wake.
Similarly, let your baby determine how long to nurse. Remember, your little one knows how much they need better than you do right now. Don’t worry if nursing time only lasts ten minutes, and don’t panic if it stretches on for forty-five. Some babies are fast eaters, while some like to take their time.
3.Get Comfortable While Nursing
You’re going to be spending a significant amount of time holding your baby to your breast while they feed. If you do this in an unsupported sitting position, it can get uncomfortable quickly. Additionally, trying to maintain an uncomfortable position for a prolonged period of time can lead to significant back, shoulder, and neck pain.
Not to mention, the constant squirming and moving on your part can disrupt your baby’s breastfeeding and result in irritability and increased hunger. That’s why it’s so important for you to be comfortable throughout the process.
We recommend one of two positions for comfortable breastfeeding:
Lie on your side with your baby facing you.
Sit in a reclined position with your baby lying in your arms.
A bed or a large couch with plenty of pillows to support your back and arms make these positions ideal for breastfeeding. Find the one that’s right for you but don’t be afraid to mix it up once in a while depending on your own needs. The more attentive you are to your own comfort, the more nursing sessions will be a pleasant break for both you and your baby.
In addition to making sure you and the baby are comfortable while nursing, try your best to relax. Your baby can sense if you’re tense and nervous about breastfeeding, and they won’t latch on correctly. Your baby can’t relax if you’re not relaxed.
Examine your environment as well. If you’re in a stressful environment or an environment that makes you uncomfortable, opt for a change of scenery.
Maybe spend a few minutes before nursing to give yourself a pep talk. Take a few slow, deep breaths. This is supposed to be an enjoyable time of bonding with your new bundle of joy, not a stressful one.
5.Help Your Baby Find The Right Position
Through the course of breastfeeding, your baby will likely find the position that’s best for them. Pay attention to this position so that you can make it easier to get into quickly. Every baby is different, but there are a few general guidelines that you can use to find a position that works for both you and your baby.
Your baby should be positioned so that their mouth is level with your nipple.
Their head should be tilted backward slightly.
If possible, they should latch onto the entire areola, not just the nipple.
Their chin should be right up against your breast.
First and foremost, don’t force these positions. Your baby may prefer a slightly different position. Just let it happen naturally while you make sure that your baby is comfortable and can breathe while they nurse.
6.Don’t Be Alarmed, Leaking Is Natural
In the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it’s common for milk to leak from your breasts. Don’t be alarmed, this is completely natural.
This leaking will eventually lessen or disappear completely as your baby continues to nurse. In the meantime, simply place a nursing pad in your bra to absorb the leaks.
7.Take Care Of Your Skin
The skin of your breasts is very delicate. With regular nursing, your skin can become dry, chapped, irritated, and even cracked over time. This can make breastfeeding a painful experience. Luckily, you can protect against chapped, cracked skin by taking a few precautions.
Don’t over wash. One or two showers a day with a gentle cleanser is plenty.
After a feeding, pat your breasts dry with a soft cloth.
Let your breasts air out periodically to avoid irritation from clothing.
After a feeding, apply a healing product like Soothing Moisturizing Balm or Bust Firming Serum.
Use Nursing Comfort Balm in-between feedings to ease discomfort and moisturize sensitized nipples.
Taking care of your skin with a healing product is one of the best ways to keep the breastfeeding process enjoyable for both you and your baby. When you’re comfortable, your baby will be comfortable.
8.Don’t Worry, You’ll Have Enough Milk
Milk production depends primarily on your baby’s needs. Your little one’s sucking stimulates the release of the hormones prolactin and oxytocin which further stimulate milk production. But it doesn’t start with your baby’s first suckle. Your breasts have been preparing to give milk since the start of your pregnancy.
So don’t worry, you will have enough milk.
During the first two or three days of breastfeeding, you may notice a thick yellowish-orange fluid coming out of your breasts. Don’t panic. That fluid is colostrum and it’s just what your baby needs at the moment. Colostrum is very nutritious and contains high levels of antibodies. These antibodies boost your baby’s immune system so they can fight off infection.
Last, but certainly not least, stay hydrated. So a good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water whenever you breastfeed. Yes, every single time. This will ensure that your body can make enough milk and that you’re staying hydrated.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Your baby will thrive right before your eyes when you follow these tips!