Whether you’re a new mom or very experienced, breastfeeding can be intimidating. Not only is it an intimate bonding time with your child that you’re probably looking forward to, but also you may be scared of how it could go wrong for you and your child. Here are ten of the best breastfeeding tips for new moms.
The Right Position
In any given breastfeeding session, you’ll notice that your child will move into a comfortable position for themselves, so make sure to help them get into the right position. While there is no one right position for all babies, your child will have their own, and there are a few tips that you might find handy when helping your baby find that position.
For starters, they should be in a position in which their mouth is level with your nipple so that they don’t have to turn their head that much. With their head tilted slightly backward, your baby should latch onto the entire areola, and their chin should be up against your breast so that their nose is clear. However, your baby might prefer something a little different to this, so don’t force any one position.
How You’ll Know Everything’s Fine:
Some tell-tale signs that your nursing is doing just fine include: your baby releases your breast at the end of the session and look drowsy, their skin will be pink, and their muscles will be relaxed. During the actual breastfeeding session, they should be sucking and swallowing at an eager and regular pace, and they’ll likely swallow every time they suck. Your child’s diapers should also be very wet during the feeding, and they’ll most likely have about four to eight bowel movements every day within the first few weeks of life.
The number of bowel movements will decrease as time goes on, but their bowel movements should be soft. Another of our breastfeeding tips for new moms is to pay attention to your baby’s weight gain. Every month, your pediatrician will weigh your baby and let you know if your child is gaining weight regularly, so there’s no need to worry too much about their weight.
Remember to Hydrate Yourself
This one’s obvious, but don’t forget to drink enough water for yourself; it will benefit both you and your baby. One of our highly recommended breastfeeding tips for new moms is to drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed so you can make enough milk.
Watch for the Signs
When looking out for the signs that your baby is getting hungry, a few important ones are if they open and close their mouth, if they suck on the nearest object, or if they turn or raise their head repeatedly. Pay attention to these signs and start breastfeeding when you see them instead of just waiting for your baby to cry; it will give you much less stress and deepen your bond with your baby.
Don’t Fret Over Milk
You may be worried about whether or not you’ll produce enough milk during the span of your time breastfeeding, but it’s nothing to be worried about. As your baby nurses, they will stimulate the release of the hormones that make your breasts produce milk, and over time, your breasts will produce the right amount of milk for your baby.
Another one of our essential breastfeeding tips for a new mom is not to worry when you notice a thick yellow-orange fluid coming out of your breasts for the first two or three days. This fluid is called colostrum, and it’s filled with antibodies that will boost your baby’s immune system and help them ward off infection.
Skincare is Important!
Your breasts will likely become cracked, dry, irritated, and chapped over time as you nurse regularly, so make sure to take care of that delicate skin. The more chapped and dry your skin on your breasts are, the more pain you might experience while breastfeeding, so use a gentle cleanser once or twice a day, pat them dry with a soft cloth after feeding, avoid irritation from clothing by airing out your breasts, and apply a serum or balm that firms and moisturizes the skin.
Beware of Engorgement
Engorgement is most likely to happen when your baby has just been born, and it consists of a painful swelling and stiffness of your breasts because you’re producing more milk than your baby consumes. Engorgement can make it more difficult for your baby to feed, so avoid this by nursing your baby as often as possible.
Leaking is OK
If you see leaking, don’t be alarmed. Leaking milk from your breasts is completely normal during the first few weeks, and it will eventually decrease or stop happening all together as your baby nurses more and more, Use a nursing pad in your bra to absorb the leaking.
The Best Nursing Positions
Another one of our best breastfeeding tips for a new mom is to find the right position for you as well. Sitting in an uncomfortable, unsupported sitting position will only cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, so we recommend a few positions: Sit reclined on a bed or couch with plenty of pillows with your baby lying in your arms or lie on your side with your baby facing you. The more comfortable and relaxed you are, the more your baby will be too.
Don’t Be Shy, Ask for Help!
Within an hour after giving birth, you should start breastfeeding your newborn. During this time, your nurse will check on you and your baby, so you should ask as many questions as you can. Give your nurse or lactation consultant all of your concerns and worries ahead of time while in the hospital so that you can have the proper guidance and have peace of mind that your baby is latching on and nursing well. After leaving the hospital, don’t be afraid to call the hospital and ask to speak with a lactation consultant if you have any more questions.
At Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women, we’re here to help with any concerns you may have as a new mom. Our experienced and trained professionals would love to answer your questions and guide you through your journey of motherhood, so book an appointment as soon as you can!