Breast is best – this is a mantra that many health experts and pediatricians strive to instill in new parents. This is mainly because according to research, breastfeeding has been proven to be the best source of nutrition for babies up to two years and beyond. So are the 8 breastfeeding tips.
While there is no question that breastfeeding beats all other sources of nutrition in terms of babies’ health, it’s also one of the hardest to provide. Many mothers complain that breastfeeding is painful, tiring, and time consuming which are all inconveniences new mothers would much rather not face.
If you’re a new mum struggling to get the hang of breastfeeding, try to put these breastfeeding tips into practice for an easier and more fruitful experience both for you and baby.
8 Breastfeeding Tips
- Ask for Help – Ask any new mum and they will tell you that figuring out how to make a baby latch for the first time is one of the hardest things to do. Latching is an instinct for new borns, but there are a vast majority of babies that struggle to figure out the function.
When your baby is unable to latch, he or she may not be able to suckle properly thus making it difficult to consume enough milk in one feeding. While a new mum might do her best to assist with latching, it can be equally confusing.
While you’re in still in the hospital after giving birth, make sure to ask a lactation specialist or nurse to assist you in learning how to get your new born to latch. They should be able to provide you the right strategies and positioning to ease the process.
- Prepare for Size Changes – At first, your breast milk supply will be just enough to fill in your little baby’s stomach. But after a few weeks of consistent feeding, you will experience size changes in terms of your breasts.
For a while, this can be very uncomfortable, giving rise to tenderness and discomfort around your chest area. The process of feeding your baby may also become very painful as your breasts become engorged with milk.
Make sure you prepare for size changes by having comfortable nursing bras available for you to use. You can also opt to try out different nursing positions to reduce discomfort while breastfeeding your baby.
- Designate a Breastfeeding Area – Your baby will start developing feeding habits as soon as he or she is born. That said, it’s important that you make sure to provide the necessary guidance to help this starting phase of learning.
Babies recognize routines as soon as they’re born, and this is something that all mothers should aim to leverage. By providing your baby a familiar and structured environment, you can prompt them to do certain activities like feeding without having to provide too much direction.
Make sure to have a specific area for breastfeeding so that your baby can identify when it’s time for feeding. This will make it easier for your baby to identify routines, and will mark the beginnings of proper eating habits.
What’s more, having a specific breastfeeding area will make the entire experience more comfortable for you. By providing yourself a specifically designed breastfeeding chair and affording several pillows to optimize your posture, you can breastfeed much longer without worrying about back pain.
Breastfeeding Tips & Techniques
- Get a Massage – When you leave your breasts for long periods of time without stimulation, milk can accumulate in the ducts and cause minor clogging. This can impede further milk production until your baby latches for feeding.
Massaging the breasts will help move away any accumulated milk sediments and will encourage your breasts to produce more milk. This will help ensure that there will always be a steady supply of breast milk whether you’re pumping or feeding directly.
If you’ve gone for an hour without breast stimulation from pumping or direct feeding, take a few minutes to massage your breasts. Work gently with moderate pressure, manipulating the breast tissues in a circular motion to encourage production.
- Refrain from Using Bottles and Pacifiers at First – Your baby will be able to distinguish your nipple from a bottle as early as the first few weeks of life. That said, it would be ideal to avoid using bottles and pacifiers at first, and stick with direct feeding only during your baby’s first 2 months.
When your baby gets used to bottles and pacifiers, they become more likely to reject your nipple when you offer it for feeding. Unless you’re planning to pump breast milk, a baby that refuses to stimulate your breasts will most likely be the start of the plummet of your milk supply.
As a general rule, it’s always best to avoid giving your baby any other feeding instruments to suckle on while they’re still young. This helps your little one become more accustomed to your nipple, and thus prevents them from rejecting in even when they’re introduced to bottles.
Be careful to introduce bottles too late however, as this can also make it difficult for you to feed your baby especially if you need to leave for work. Babies who are exclusively directly breastfed are known to avoid feeding from bottles, which can prove to be a major challenge for mums who can’t be with their babies at all times.
The best time to introduce bottles to your baby would be at around 2 and a half to three months of age, which is usually the duration of a typical maternity leave.
- Watch What You Eat – Whatever a mommy puts into her system ultimately becomes what she puts out. The milk you produce will depend greatly on the food you eat, so as a lactating mother, it’s only right that you keep a watchful eye on what you put into your system. You can also check out our post 5 Things to Eat While Breastfeeding.
There are lots of foods that can negatively affect your breast milk and cause problems in your baby. To avoid fussiness, rashes, sleeplessness, and other unwanted difficulties your baby might encounter, refrain from eating green leafy vegetables, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and spicy food.
It’s also important that you stay hydrated at all times so your body has enough fluids to convert into breast milk. This will keep your supply at a constant high for consistent and trouble-free feeding.
- Make it Comfortable for Your Baby – Some babies become avoidant of breastfeeding because mothers fail to make the experience comfortable for their little one. Some examples of common mistakes include improperly positioning the baby, smothering the baby with the breast, and feeding in a poorly ventilated area.
When you breastfeed, it’s ideal that you take your baby’s comfort into consideration. The ideal position would be to have your belly against your baby’s belly, which reduces the amount of stress on his or her tiny body.
It’s also important that you keep your baby’s head slightly lifted at an angle to prevent difficulties with swallowing the breast milk. Let your baby’s head rest gently on a pillow, and use your arms to support their back.
Because body heat can be easily exchanged between you and your little one, avoid breastfeeding in an area that provides little ventilation. As much as possible, select a cool, breezy environment or a room with air conditioning.
Breastfeeding Tips – Pumping
- Pump as Much as Possible – Some mums don’t pump if there’s enough supply in their freezer. But reducing your pumping practice to only the times when your stored supply is dwindling can prove to be dangerous for your milk production.
Your breasts are encouraged to produce more and more when you milk more often. If your system detects that it’s producing milk that’s being left untouched, it can tell your breasts to reduce the milk production.
This could lead to a decreased milk supply which can make it a challenge to express enough milk to store and offer your child. So even if you have a freezer full of breast milk, always pump whenever you can.
You can store newer milk and discard of older bottles of milk if you don’t have enough space in your freezer. You can also find online marketplaces that offer to purchase breast milk for a reasonable cost. This allows you to make a profit off of your surplus and prevent your milk form going to waste.
While some might think that breastfeeding is easy and trouble-free, it can actually be a major challenge. Aside from ensuring the comfort of both you and your baby, you also have to consider the quality and amount of milk you produce.
No doubt, most mothers struggle with the first few months of breastfeeding especially if they’re new to motherhood. But there are things you can do to ease the process and make the experience more fulfilling not only for you, but also for your baby.
Don’t worry about the struggle – breastfeeding is all worth it, especially if it means being able to give your baby the best nutrition. Keep these 8 breastfeeding tips in mind the next time you sit down for a feeding session and establish a loving, nurturing, and caring relationship between you and your baby minus the stress.