While breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t always come so easy. Linda Hill, one of UpSpring’s certified Lactation Consultants, shares and discusses 6 breastfeeding tips to help new moms.
While we’ve all heard the phrase “breast is best,” this doesn’t always mean it’s easy! Breastfeeding is not a skill that is easy to practice until the baby is born, so it is normal for mom and baby to take some time to warm up to it. You’re both beginners so give yourself some slack. As you’re picking up your hungry, crying baby in the middle of the night after only a few hours of sleep, it may seem like a daunting task to get your baby to latch and nurse all without turning on a single light. Or if you’re concerned about making sure your baby is getting enough food these breastfeeding basics can help you increase your milk supply. We’ve been there and to help mom get off to a good start, here are the top 6 things new moms should know about breastfeeding:
It is estimated that breastfeeding can take up to 35 hours per week and we’ve found this is especially true in those first few months of breastfeeding with your newborn. It’s important to have frequent feedings (every 2 hours) in the first days and weeks of a baby’s life not only because it’s great to help her gain weight, but it also supports your milk supply and cueing your body to start producing more milk. Another dietary way to help increase breast milk supply is to add a breast milk supplement like a CAPSULE or a DRINK MIX with Fenugreek. In between nursing sessions, it’s also suggested you pump and remove the last drops of breast milk which tells your body to continue making that much. Find more ways to increase your breast milk supply here.
Take advantage of skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin is when mothers and fathers remove their shirts and other clothing and hold their baby on their chest while wearing only in a diaper. The closeness of baby to his mother will keep him calmer, which will in turn make latching and feeding easier. One of the best and equally worst things about pregnancy is the hormones, but while you’re breastfeeding these hormones can be your greatest asset! The hormones that are responsible for helping your body make breast milk and establish a letdown are oxytocin and prolactin and those are stimulated by the skin-to-skin form of contact. Keep this in mind as motivation to keep up the baby snuggles! Another fun fact about breastfeeding is that when you hold your baby skin-to-skin, your breasts increase or decrease in temperature as a response to your baby’s body temperature. Now you can call yourself your baby’s best bottle warmer.
Getting A Good Latch
Breastfeeding, while it may cause tenderness, should not be very painful. If you’re experiencing difficulty, try adjusting the angle that you’re holding your baby. Double check that the entire areola is in the baby’s mouth and if you’re feeling pain after the first 30 seconds, try breaking the latch and trying again. Keep in mind that breastfeeding is not something you can practice and it may take a little time as both you AND your baby are newbies at this!
After you and your baby have figured out a better latch and they’re getting enough to eat, your nipples may still be feeling the effects like cracked or sore. One of the easiest things to do is apply an organic nipple balm, but make sure it’s not just ANY nipple balm. Lanolin is a common ingredient found in nipple balms for breastfeeding moms, however, it is not safe to give to your baby, meaning you’ll need to wipe it off of your already tender nipple before breastfed baby. No thank you! This is why we here at UpSpring created an organic nipple balm with all food-grade ingredients so that moms can get the relief they need and not have to worry about any negative effects for their baby.
If you are experiencing pain beyond the initial latch and you’ve tried the above mentioned options, or if you think your baby isn’t getting enough food, then it’s time to seek the professional support of a Lactation Consultant (L.C.). An L.C. has to be recertified every five years, meaning you can be assured they are trained and up to date on the most recent breastfeeding tips, tricks and methods.
Discover breastfeeding secrets with our in-studio guest!
Feed Baby Well
Babies are sleepy and may have a tendency to sleep at the breast rather than eat well. It’s ok if his eyes are closed for the feeding, but you need to hear sounds of swallowing to make sure he’s eating enough. If he is snoozing too much, play with his arms and legs during the feeding to help keep him awake. You may find that if your baby is fussy often and you’ve ruled out other issues such as colic, it may be because they’re not nursing for a full feed, which would allow them to eat to contentment and go about 2-3 hours between feedings.
Sleep When Baby Sleeps
You’ve probably heard this phrase a thousand times, and you’re likely to think it’s a cliche, but IT’S TRUE, sleep while the baby sleeps. Sleep plays a massive role in your body’s ability to recover. Sleep helps regulate hormones, blood pressure, memory and so much more. And while you’re recovering from childbirth and breastfeeding your baby, you need as much regulation on your side as possible. It’s a running joke in mom groups for a reason, coffee is mandatory. Your baby will be eating every couple of hours through the night as well, so don’t expect to get your normal amount or length of sleep.
Don’t Get Discouraged
There is no recipe for how a baby and mom should explore the first few days of breastfeeding. While breastfeeding is natural, it is not always easy. It’s not exactly a skill you practice until you have the baby so you’re learning as you go! It’s important that you as a mom practice what you’ve learned and listen to your baby. Remember there are many breastfeeding support groups and the internet has made it possible to connect from anywhere. Give yourself grace and remember you are not alone if you struggle. Breastfeeding is one of the most valuable things a mother can do for her baby and her health.