I HONESTLY wish I knew these breastfeeding tips before I started!
Breastfeeding is genuinely HARD and I could have used all the help I could have gotten. Why doesn’t anyone tell you these things?!
But after my first baby, I felt like a pro when my second came along. And these are all the tips and tricks I wish I knew before…
From diet tips to the right clothing, these little hacks will help you prepare for your breastfeeding journey and get you off on the right foot…
Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Learn About Breastfeeding
While absorbing loads of information can be overwhelming, understanding the basics of breastfeeding is important.
Learn all you can about the basics – like how to latch your baby onto the breast, positioning your baby while they feed, what precautions to take if you are taking medication and how often you should feed your little one.
Making sure that everyone around you is supportive is also incredibly helpful as it can be truly empowering when someone close encourages and supports you.
In addition to learning more about the basics of breastfeeding, read literature such as books and online resources, listen to experienced moms discussing their experiences on podcasts or join a support group where experienced breastfeeding mothers help new mums learn how to breastfeed confidently.
There are many free resources available which can provide incredible insight into tips for successful nursing sessions or lactation snacks or recipes for mums who experience low milk supply. Investing time in preparing for breastfeeding pays off for new moms – remember every little bit helps!
Have the Right Supplies
Having the right supplies on hand can save you time and stress while breastfeeding.
To make sure you’re prepared, here are some of the essential items to have: a nursing pillow or bolster, a breast pump with its accessories, an electric or manual pump if you’ll be using one, nursing pads and/or bras, bottles and nipples for expressed breastmilk if you’ll be supplementing with bottle-feeding, cream for sore nipples and a cover for discreet breastfeeding on the go.
Before buying anything new make sure to read reviews to find the right supplies for you.
Breastfeeding can be demanding, and you want your equipment to work flawlessly when needed.
Moreover, it’s important to check that all of your supplies are properly sterilized before use.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
Before you and your baby arrive, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about breastfeeding.
Ask if the hospital has a lactation specialist on staff or someone who can help you if you experience problems nursing.
Your healthcare provider may even be able to provide breastfeeding education classes, so inquire about these, too.
Some topics that should be discussed include common concerns, how to get the best latch and position, nutrition advice and information on introducing bottles.
Knowing what to expect ahead of time can go a long way in making breastfeeding easier and less stressful for both yourself and your baby.
Getting Started Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an incredibly natural and rewarding experience but it can take some getting used to.
It’s important to remember that every mom and baby combination is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
To help you get started, here are some tips to help you create the best breastfeeding experience for you and your baby.
Positioning and Latch
Learning how to transition from baby to breast is a skill that only comes with time and practice, but there are a few positions you can try to make sure your baby’s latch is comfortable and effective.
The most common positions are the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold and side-lying position.
Finding what works best for you and your baby involves a bit of trial and error but below is an overview of each technique:
Cradle Hold: Place your arm behind the back of your baby’s neck to support head while holding the breast in other hand. Your palm needs to be facing up while thumb should be pointing towards nipple.
Bring your baby close in a scooping motion and guide him/her onto the areola making sure lower lip/chin touches first followed by nose before the baby’s mouth opens wide.
Cross-Cradle Hold: This position is similar to cradle hold except hands switch places so that same side hand holds breast whilst the opposite side hand supports behind neck starting latch-on process.
This position can also be great for dealing with mothers with large breasts or flat nipples.
Football Hold: Place pillow on lap as support system and tuck one arm round it while cradling back of baby’s head in other hand helping him/her come onto the breast comfortably at an angle supporting her chin slightly near bottom of areola under nipple which helps latch on better before change in angles happens (ease off until when it tags).
Side-Lying Position: For this one you would lie down on your side (not recommended for bed), pillows propped around body comfortably so that both mommy and baby are facing same direction with arms positioned well for optimal latching following instructions as above, just sitting it out until everything clicks into place!
Feeding on Demand
Feeding on demand means allowing your baby to feed whenever they indicate they are hungry.
You will not need to rely on a clock or feeding schedule; just follow your baby’s cues and watch for signs of hunger, such as rooting, sucking on hands, etc.
This is especially important in the early days to ensure that your baby gets ample breast milk and an adequate supply of breastmilk for future growth.
Be sure not to underestimate the importance of this tip! As a new momma, it can be hard to stay ahead of their needs and sometimes it can feel like you’re constantly trying to stop a “hungry march”.
When you allow your little one to feed often and as needed – whether from one side or both – you are encouraging them to gain comfort from mother’s milk as well as encouraging more frequent let-down reflexes for more efficient breastfeeding sessions.
Doing so will also help regulate your supply and help you secure a plentiful and abundant flow of breastmilk going forward.
When possible, try having skin-to-skin contact with the baby during breastfeeding sessions.
Skin-to-skin stimulates the production of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, making it easier for the baby to latch onto the breast correctly while helping encourage regular and consistent let-down reflexes.
They may get full feedings quickly and efficiently in order to meet their nutritional needs faster – benefiting both mommy and baby in the long run.
Feeding on Both Sides
Feeding on both sides, or double-side feeding, has numerous advantages for both mother and baby.
It assists in supporting your baby’s hunger while optimizing their overall nutrition. In the beginning, it can be difficult to coordinate your baby’s suck and swallowing to ensure they are receiving massive amounts of milk in each feed.
In order to successfully transition from one side to the other and gain the most nutrition possible during each feed, try the following tips:
1. Communicate with your baby: Speak reassuringly with soft tones throughout your breastfeeding session; this will help them stay engaged with their entire meal-feeding experience.
2. Change feeding positions: Position your baby differently during each feeding session; this can be done by lying down horizontally or wiping back for more comfortable positioning for you both.
3. Support latching correctly: If necessary, use a hand-to-breast technique to help re-align and support latching correctly while they feed on one side before switching over to the other – you will feel a better latch when they take full advantage of that breast!
4. Change position throughout feeds: Jumping around between feeds stimulates milk flow and reduces fatigue; rocking back and forth in some sort of gentle movement (e.g.,a rocking chair) enables air to work more quickly through tiny stomach openings so that more milk can be taken inside in a shorter amount time.
5. Gently massage breasts as needed: Make sure that if there are any lumps or discomfort due too tight bras/clothing you massage those out regularly (as often as needed).
Additionally, consistently move from top to bottom areola circle until milk begins flowing much easier on one side than another – this helps lift blockages along with improving circulation within breasts’ tissues overall.
Increasing Milk Supply
Increasing your milk supply is an important part of breastfeeding, and there are many things that can be done to help ensure that your baby is receiving enough milk.
Some of these tips for increasing your milk supply include drinking plenty of fluids, taking prenatal vitamins, breastfeeding on a regular schedule, and avoiding pacifiers and bottles.
Let’s take a closer look at these breastfeeding tips in detail.
Pumping and Storing Breastmilk
Establishing and maintaining an adequate milk supply while breastfeeding is key to successful mother-baby bonding.
Regular pumping and storing of expressed breastmilk can be necessary at times even when breastfeeding is going well, such as during a medical issue of the mother or baby, work outside the home, or during a family trip away from your little one. Here are some tips for pumping and storing expressed breastmilk:
– Choose a quality electric breast pump or manual pump that works for your needs.
– Aim to mimic baby’s feeding patterns by using longer quick sessions over several shorter ones.
– Store expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer; always use clean bottles and containers that are labeled with date, time and amount expressed.
– Ask your doctor if it’s okay to add freshly expressed milk to milk that was previously stored so you can give larger amounts per feed without wasting milk; this also cuts down on washing more bottles than necessary.
– Make sure any leftover milk is thrown out after each feed so bacteria isn’t passed from baby to mother, leading to infections.
– If you are away from your baby overnight or longer trips, store the thawed breastmilk on ice in coolers rather than returning it home if possible.
– If kept frozen at -4 degrees F (approx -20 degrees C) breastmilk stays good up to six months; if refrigerated at 39 degrees F (approx 4 degrees C), it’s good for up to eight days; if kept at room temperature, it’s good for four hours.
Eating A Balanced Diet
It’s important that you eat a balanced diet while breastfeeding, as what you eat can significantly improve your milk supply. Protein is especially important, since the majority of a mother’s milk is made up of protein.
Eating protein-rich foods like lean meat, poultry, and fish can help provide the necessary amount of protein needed to produce a healthy breast milk supply.
Similarly, eating foods high in complex carbohydrates like oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads and pastas can help increase your energy levels while helping to make more breastmilk.
Dairy products such as yogurt are also beneficial when increasing your milk supply.
It’s essential to drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day in order to stay hydrated and ensure adequate production of breast milk.
Finally, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help ensure that you get all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal breastfeeding health for you and your baby.
Drinking Plenty Of Fluids
Drinking plenty of fluids is key to maintaining a healthy milk supply. Nursing mothers should aim for eight to ten 8-ounce glasses a day and increase their intake if they feel thirsty.
Instead of sugary drinks, strive for healthy options such as water, herbal teas, fruit juices, and electrolyte drinks.
A mom’s body stores water more effectively when taken with a low-sodium diet rich in fruits and vegetables which help produce the proteins needed for healthy milk production.
To further ensure adequate hydration throughout the day, carry a full water bottle or flask with you whenever possible and remember to take small sips frequently rather than waiting until you are really thirsty.
Lastly, stay away from diuretics like alcohol or caffeine when breastfeeding because these can contribute to fluid loss disproportionately higher than fluid intake.
Breastfeeding is not always easy, especially for new moms. There can be many challenges and obstacles that come up along the way, like milk supply issues, trouble with latching, and exhaustion.
It’s important to know how to manage these challenges to ensure that your breastfeeding journey is a positive one.
Here are some tips to help manage common breastfeeding challenges.
Dealing with Engorgement
Engorgement is a common problem amongst new breastfeeding moms, where the breasts become overfull and uncomfortable with too much milk. Here are some tips for managing engorgement:
1. Nurse your baby as often as possible, ideally 8-12 times a day. The more you nurse, the more feedback your body receives to regulate the supply of milk it is producing.
2. Try reversing the order in which you nurse from one side to another during each session to ensure that one breast does not become overly full or underfed.
3. Try pumping (or hand expressing) if nursing is not an option due to circumstances like illness or separation from baby; this will help reduce the amount of fluid build-up in the breast and relieve some discomfort.
4. Use warm compresses before nursing or pumping; this helps stimulate blood flow in that area, helping to soften and loosen engorged tissues while making it easier for your baby to latch on correctly and suckle well.
5. Cabbage leaves can help temporarily relieve discomfort caused by engorgement. Place them inside your bra directly against each breast; change them out every two hours until symptoms subside and only keep them on for approximately four hours at a time in total duration for any 24-hour period (as overuse can lead to decreased milk production).
6. If you’re using a pump, use low suction settings or switch to manual pumps — high suction settings can be damaging on already inflamed tissue!
Managing Sore Nipples
The sensitive skin of the nipples can become cracked and sore due to constant exposure to baby’s saliva.
The friction while nursing can also cause sore or cracked nipples. In order to manage and heal sore nipples, it’s important to take a few steps — both before and during feeding times — in order to keep your nipples healthy.
Before feeding, apply a thick layer of expressed breast milk or lanolin cream or gel to protect your nipples from chaffing and damage from baby’s continuous suckling.
Make sure that you are using a clean finger/soft washcloth/cotton swab for the application of the cream which should be applied in a circular motion for even distribution on the nipple area.
• Change the position of your baby on your nipple between feeds, this helps prevent sore spots from forming from excessive pressure in one spot.
• Take frequent breaks between feedings if needed, allowing your breasts time to rest and heal after each feeding session.
• Use cooling compresses such as cold cloths/ice packs as needed during breastfeeding breaks as well as after each feeding session (for up to 10 minutes) in order to soothe the soreness of your nipples before you latch baby again.
• Consider using formulated nipple creams after feedings to promote healing; sample creams include Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream or Medela Tender Care Lanolin Nipple Cream which provide nourishment that can help with repair of cracks in the skin and soothe any discomfort related with dry skin cracks on the areola area including breastfeeding blisters or mastitis spots around this same areas too requiring some care when healing occurs).
Handling Low Milk Supply
As a new mother, the possibility of having a low milk supply can be daunting. However, it is possible to overcome this challenge and still provide your baby with breastmilk.
Here are some tips for managing a low milk supply to help you make breastfeeding successful:
Proper Consumption: Be sure to get enough calories and liquids to support lactation. Eating well-balanced meals as well as drinking water and other liquids such as lactation teas or pumping mixtures will help ensure that your body has enough fuel for nursing and making milk.
Pump Frequently: Try pumping after each time you feed your baby and certainly keep up with your normal frequency of feeding sessions throughout the day.
You may even want to add on an additional mealtime or two throughout the day at various intervals so that you can ensure adequate stimulation of the breasts for increased milk production.
Identify Lactogenesis II: Lactogenesis II occurs when your body begins producing more mature, more nutritious milk around two weeks postpartum which could encourage more frequent nursing sessions if needed.
This can be identified by assessing changes in texture from colostrum to mature white breastmilk, discussing with a healthcare provider, by measuring changes in amounts produced over time via pumping or tracking changes in wet/dirty diapers from infant feedings over time.
Consider Herbal Sprinkles: Some breastfeeding moms have had success with “Galactagogues” or “herbal sprinkles” such as Brewer’s Yeast.
If considering adding one of these herbal supplements into your diet, always consult with an approved medical professional who has been trained in dietary supplementation first!
Nutrition is a key factor when it comes to breastfeeding. Eating a balanced diet can help provide your baby with all the nutrients they need.
As a mom, you also need to make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals you need to keep yourself energized and healthy.
Let’s discuss some healthy tips to help you stay in top shape while breastfeeding.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Breastfeeding requires a considerable level of dedication, so taking care of your mind and body is essential.
A few simple steps can make a big difference when it comes to providing a healthy feeding environment for both mother and baby. Here are some important tips to help you on your journey:
1. Get Support: Breastfeeding can be overwhelming, but having a trusted friend or family member to lean on can help you feel more confident in your ability to care for your baby.
2. Set Goals: Make milk production goals that are realistic and incremental and check in with yourself periodically to ensure you’re reaching them.
3. Eat Well: Eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods ensures that your body has the energy it needs to produce milk for your baby.
4. Stay Hydrated: Aim for 8-10 glasses of fluids daily and avoid diuretics such as caffeine as much as possible.
5. Take Breaks When Needed: If overwhelmed or exhausted, take some time for yourself – do something you enjoy – before coming back to breastfeeding tasks feeling refreshed and strong again!
6. Take Care of Your Nipples: Maintaining nipple health is essential for both giving comfort during feedings and helping you stay healthy during breastfeeding sessions; use recommended nipple creams or oils if needed, always making sure they are safe for babies!
7. Rest & Relaxation are Important too: Find ways to reduce stress during the day, like meditation or yoga – whatever works best for you!
8. Practice Mindful Breathing: This helps regulate hormones while also calming our nerves allowing us better concentrate on what’s important – the well being of baby & mom!
Getting Support from Others
Break the myth that breastfeeding is a natural and instinctive mothering behavior. All women need support while they start to understand what works best for them and their baby.
It’s important to reach out to friends, family, healthcare providers or even strangers to obtain information and support.
You can access local La Leche League (LLL) meetings for emotional and practical help on the basics of successful breastfeeding. LLL meetings provide an informal setting in which mothers can discuss common issues among nursing mothers.
Additionally, you can connect online with other moms who are going through similar experiences via forums and Facebook groups. By sharing stories of successes—and failures—you may be able to find your own solutions that fit your lifestyle.
Your local lactation consultant might also be able to help provide ideas about how to make sure your experience goes off without a hitch.
They specialize in knowledge about latching, positioning, diet, pumping, weaning – all factors connected with successful breastfeeding sessions with your newborn or toddler.
Taking advantage of any kind of help you can get will ensure both you and your little one are happy with their mealtime experiences long-term!
Knowing When To Seek Help
When navigating through the initial weeks and months of breastfeeding for new mothers, it is very common to experience discomfort and pain.
Sore nipples, feeling tightness in the chest or back, engorgement of breasts and other physical discomforts are normal but can be daunting.
Educating oneself on good latching techniques, proper positioning and breast hygiene practices can help to minimize these discomforts.
When these tips don’t seem to be enough, a new mother should never hesitate to seek extra breastfeeding expertise from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). IBCLCs specializes in providing comprehensive help for breastfeeding moms and babies as well as support for any problems that come up during the experience.
These professionals can observe a mother’s medical history, obtain detailed health histories of both mom and baby and assess their health physically if necessary.
Also, IBCLCs often provide preventive healthcare counseling sessions regarding nutrition guidelines unique to each family.
If necessary, they can also suggest lifestyle modifications that support successful breastfeeding or refer the family to other professionals who may be helpful with different aspects of health or comfort while nursing.
In addition, there are several online resources available as well, such as discussion forums moderated by other experienced lactation consultants/moms which offer information on common problems associated with breastfeeding as well as helpful solutions related to skin care during nursing, problem-solving with infants who have difficulty latching or sucking correctly, etc,.
It is always wise for a new mother consider seeking expert advice if she finds herself consistently facing any challenges related to her breastfeeding journey in order to ensure that she – and her infant – receive best care possible!