3 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months and then adding solids and continuing to breastfeed until a year. There are many benefits of breastfeeding including reduced risk of asthma, diabetes, and ear and upper respiratory infections.

Breast milk is easier to digest and contains antibodies that can boost your baby’s immune system, and it’s free. Every expectant mom has heard that ‘breast is best’ and while many hope to breastfeed, new mothers are often surprised that sometimes the natural option can seem anything but. Almost all breastfeeding mothers face challenges, from mastitis to supply issues to a painful latch.

While health experts encourage breastfeeding, many mothers find that doesn’t necessarily mean that their chosen pediatrician will know how to help achieve their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding is different for every mom and baby and asking for help can be crucial in those early months.

Ask for Help

You come home from the hospital, sore, exhausted and bleeding, entrusted with a precious, tiny baby that you have decided to keep alive with your breast-milk. Despite your detailed pregnancy daydreams, it’s not going as well as you had hoped. Your nipples are bleeding and cracked, your baby seems hungry around the clock, and no one is sleeping more than thirty minutes at a time.

While researching online and talking to experienced family and friends can be helpful, making an appointment with a lactation consultant can be invaluable if every feeding is painful or your baby isn’t gaining weight.

Lactation consultants can check for a proper latch and make sure that your supply has come in so you can be sure your baby is getting the nutrition that he or she needs. A lactation consultant will have more experience and knowledge dealing with the various issues that are common with breastfeeding.

Watch your Baby, Not the Clock

For the first few weeks of life, it can feel like your baby is nursing around the clock. Probably because they are. While it can feel frustrating, even debilitating, it is also the best way to establish your supply and your breastfeeding relationship.

Most newborns will want to breastfeed every two hours, day and night. Watch them for signs of hunger, such as sucking motions, rooting, and restlessness. Let your baby nurse from both breasts thoroughly and burp after each breast.

There is no set time, let them nurse until your breast feels soft or they are satisfied. Many moms feel like they are failing if they struggle to get their babies on a predictable schedule, but if you can give yourself and your baby some time to establish your supply and settle in, you will find your rhythm together.

Take Care of Yourself

Stay hydrated and make sure to eat healthy snacks and balanced meals regularly. Put on your favorite show and try to relax a little bit while breastfeeding.

Keeping this little human alive is hard work and even though nothing has gotten crossed off your to-do list in weeks, you’re doing important work. Also keep in mind that there are so many ways to feed your baby, and very few breastfeeding journeys involve a year of exclusive breastfeeding free of bumps and detours.

Breastfeeding, pumping, formula feeding, or any combination of the three will keep your baby healthy and thriving. Most important is finding what works best for you and your family. Be on the lookout for symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety and talk to a healthcare provider if you feel that you need some extra help.

Rely on a partner, parent, or friend when you can and remember that you can’t take care of your baby if you’re not taking care of yourself.

While it can be challenging, breastfeeding your child can also be one of the most special times of your life. With a little patience and self-care, and some help from experts and family alike, you have a better chance at success.

Follow Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *