Some first-time moms expect that they will not need breastfeeding tips as whatever they and babies do intuitively, should work fine. I don’t want to be the one who brings the bad news, but certain challenges might happen and it’s worth knowing what experienced moms and experts have to say about potential nursing difficulties and the best solutions.
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1. Breastfeed in the first hour after birth
Ideally, you should make your first breastfeeding session within the first hour of birth.
This is not only important for the baby to start learning the process as early as possible, but even more important for the mother’s body. Early skin-to-skin contact gives your brain signals to start producing breast milk.
The first breast milk your baby will taste is called colostrum, it’s yellowish pre-lactation milk, the baby doesn’t need anything else in the first hours.
In cases when the baby needs medical support immediately after birth, it’s recommended that the mother tries to express colostrum with hands to start sending the breastfeeding signals to the brain.
2. Avoid pacifiers and bottles in the first month
It’s not recommended to give pacifiers or bottles to your baby in the first month because it takes away time from the breast and can suppress hunger. As a result, in the critical initial breastfeeding month a pacifier is interrupting your demand and supply chain.
Your baby needs this time to get used to breast and your nipples, and not to artificial nipple replacements. With bottles babies also get used to easier and faster milk flow and then they don’t want to do the necessary latching work to get the milk in a natural way.
3. Try to change breastfeeding positions
The position called Breast Crawl is the most intuitive for a newborn. However, if your baby’s still learning or has difficulties finding the right latch, it’s good to experiment with different positions.
Another benefit of rotating positions is to prevent sore nipples as baby’s latch will be applied to different parts of the breasts.
4. How can I relieve pain from breastfeeding?
Right after nursing (within the first minute) you may experience a medium level pain because the baby was pulling your nipple and areola. This short-time pain is normal. However, if your baby doesn’t get your areola in the month and consistently causes pain in your nipple, this might end up in cracked nipples pretty fast. So if this is the case, you probably need a doctor to help you with these lactation issues.
· Moisturize your nipples to reduce the pain
If breastfeeding results in having your nipples cracked, you need to apply nursing ointment or a purified lanolin nipple cream.
5. How long do you feed on each breast?
Just for a few first days of nursing, your nipples will steadily toughen up, so initially, 5 to 10 minutes breastfeeding on each side should be enough.
In the first months, babies are still learning the process, just like you. So it takes to some babies up to 20 minutes on each breast. With more experience, babies take 5-10 minutes on each side.
6. How long is a breastfeeding session?
Every baby has a unique nursing pattern, newborns usually spend 10-15 minutes on each breast. The duration of your breastfeeding sessions will vary depending on many factors. Low milk supply could be low and the baby could take a longer time to nurse. Your baby might be sleepy or distracted too easily, this could also slow down your nursing.
7. How can I increase my breast milk supply?
There are so many breastfeeding tips for increasing milk production, including nursing frequently to support the demand and supply chain, increasing liquids consumption for the mom, avoiding bottles and pacifiers, etc. You can read another post about all the ways I suggest to increase milk supply within 48 hours.
8. Use breastfeeding aid
You know your baby is on the way, and if you are ready to breastfeed, it’s good to stock up some helpful tools. I’d recommend you my favorite one:
- Nursing Pads. When you are just starting to breastfeed, it’s quite possible that your nipples might leak from time to time. You can use these washable pads to avoid awkward situations.
- The Boppy. This is a classic nursing pillow with great reviews from all breastfeeding moms I know personally.
- My Breast Friend. This nursing pillow is very firm, which helps you find the right latch and positioning.
- Motherlove Nipple Cream. If you have a problem with sore nipples, this cream works just amazing – it moistures and cures your nipples with olive oil, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula. It’s all organic and safe for the baby.
9. Breastfeeding Tips for working moms
It is not easy to maintain your breastfeeding routine if you have to start working, I’m sure some these tips will help you keep up with your nursing.
Test pumping before returning to work
It’s recommended to start practicing pumping once a day in advance before you have to return to work. This allows you to test any possible difficulties, get used to the process and avoid additional stress when you actually have to leave for work.
Teach your baby to drink from a bottle in advance
Knowing that you will have to return to work soon, try to get your baby used to drink from a bottle. Start with small amounts, even half an ounce is good, to begin with.
Try to pump frequently and with less milk
Not many moms understand this, but the frequency of pumping is more important than the duration of each session. If you think about it as some 30 minutes of pumping, no wonder why you want to forget about this idea once and forever before you even start pumping. You don’t have to spend that much time per session, just 5 minutes is enough to keep your milk supply working perfectly. If the pumping sessions are not frequented enough, your breasts will remain full of milk for longer periods of time, which will give your body a signal to reduce milk supply. That is no your goal, right?
Practice power pumping on weekends
For working moms, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep milk supply high, so as additional help you can try power pumping on the weekend. On a day off you have time to pump frequently and in short sessions (usually it’s a 10 minute-session every hour). Making your breasts empty every hour you give a signal to your brain that the body needs to produce more milk.
10. Don’t panic if something went wrong
Every breastfeeding woman has her difficult moments. It’s not a reason to panic if you feel pain some days or your nipples are bleeding – take it one step at a time and see how it goes the next day.
If you get yourself into a negative state of mind because of breastfeeding challenges, this will not help your body to produce more milk and the baby to learn the best way to latch. Relaxing and taking it easy is important even when you are pumping – this helps you increase milk production (don’t have to believe me, just try it yourself). I didn’t look for a medical evidence on this, I’m just sure that being positive in general helps you achieve better results in all aspects of life 🙂
If you feel like whatever you try, the milk supply is low, give yourself a permission to breastfeed for 7 months even if you initially planned it for a year. Life goes on, don’t blame yourself! Just the fact that you made the effort to breastfeed for as long as your body allows you, makes you a great mom!
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I share healthy recipes, clean eating ideas, and meal plans for weight loss, as well as give you the best tips on wellness, pregnancy, and parenting advice.