Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers
Embarking on a breastfeeding journey can be rewarding and challenging for new mothers. With numerous health benefits for both mom and baby, it's essential to overcome obstacles that may arise during this crucial newborn phase. We've compiled a few essential breastfeeding tips and additional advice for support.
Know Your Baby's Hunger Cues
One common mistake mothers make is waiting for their babies to cry for milk. Learn your baby’s hunger cues to help you anticipate them more efficiently. Waiting until your baby is over-hungry and miserable will lead to unnecessary stress for you and your little one. If you wait too long, your baby might also struggle to latch properly due to engorgement.
Common hunger signals include puckering their lips, sucking their hands or repeatedly opening and closing their mouth, moving their heads from side to side, and rapid eye movement while sleeping. Once you see these signs, offer your breast immediately.
Feed on Demand
One way to increase your breastmilk supply is to breastfeed often. Feed your baby whenever they’re hungry, and don’t rush the process. Avoid timing your baby when nursing, and wait for them to unlatch on their own. Allow them to nurse as long as they want. Remember that every baby’s nutrition needs and nursing frequency vary, so let your child dictate the duration of your breastfeeding sessions.
Try Different Positions
Since you’ll be breastfeeding often, you and your little one must be comfortable in your positions. Breastfeeding in an awkward manner can place unnecessary stress on your neck and back, which could progress into something more serious. Your baby, in turn, will become irritable. The side-lying position is one of the most comfortable breastfeeding positions, especially for mothers who delivered their babies through Cesarean section (C-section).
Watch Your Diet
Good nutrition is essential to breastfeeding success. Your body needs more calories, around 300 to 400 per day, to produce enough breast milk for your little one, so eating healthily is necessary. Choose protein-rich food, such as dairy, eggs, beans, and lean meat. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake and limit your processed foods. Stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks, which can significantly affect your child’s cognitive development.
Stress can influence breast milk supply, so reducing stress must be a priority when breastfeeding. Some stress reduction strategies include taking a warm shower, minimizing distractions, getting adequate sleep, staying active, and connecting with loved ones.
Once you’ve established an efficient breastfeeding routine, consider taking on a new hobby or revisiting your old passions.
Thinking of switching careers and pursuing a higher degree as a family nurse? Choose from various FNP program online courses.
Ask for help
Breastfeeding can be challenging, so surrounding yourself with the right support system is essential. Consult with a lactation consultant or a related expert before giving birth, as they can provide valuable breastfeeding tips. They can also assist you at the hospital after delivery and check if your baby is latching correctly. If you have loved ones who are also breastfeeding, ask them for help too.
A Few More Important Tips
- Practice Skin-to-Skin Contact: Skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding and can help initiate breastfeeding sooner. It also helps regulate your baby's temperature and heart rate, making them feel safe and calm.
- Utilize Breast Compression: Gently compressing your breast while nursing can help stimulate milk flow, allowing your baby to get more milk during each feeding session.
- Take Care of Your Nipples: Keep your nipples clean and dry to prevent soreness or infections. Apply a lanolin-based nipple cream or use breast milk to moisturize and heal cracked nipples.
- Stay Informed: Educate yourself about breastfeeding by reading books, attending workshops, or joining support groups. Knowledge is power, and understanding the process can help you overcome challenges and feel more confident.
- Be Patient and Persistent: Breastfeeding can take time to establish, and it's normal to experience some difficulties along the way. Stay patient and persistent, and remember that practice makes perfect.
Remember that each journey is unique, so be kind to yourself and trust your instincts as you nurture and cherish this special time with your little one. As you master these tips and embrace the beauty of breastfeeding, you'll be laying the foundation for a lifelong bond and a healthy start for your baby.
If you have concerns, consult your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.