As a first-time mom, your maternal instincts will center on providing your little one the best possible care. Breastfeeding your baby is probably the most important part right now, and you’ll obviously need some tips on how to go about it, as it’s your first time. But, don’t worry! Momjunction is here to help!
Breastfeeding may come naturally to some mothers and their babies; for others, however, it can take a fair amount of time, patience, and training. So, here we talk about some useful breastfeeding tips for new moms.
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Important And Helpful Tips For A Breastfeeding Mom:
Getting used to this new feeling is the most important part about breastfeeding, but here are some other tips on breastfeeding that are equally important:
1. The Timing Of The First Feed Is Crucial:
- It is always a good idea to try and breastfeed your newborn within the first hour of the delivery, especially if you have had a vaginal birth.
- If you can breastfeed your baby within that first hour after giving birth, it will help your uterus to contract. Not only that, but it will also provide your baby with that first valuable milk from your breast, called colostrum, and is considered to be the healthiest part of your breast milk.
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2. It May Hurt A Bit Or Be Uncomfortable, But Don’t Give Up:
- In the beginning, as your newborn learns how to latch on to your nipples, it can get a little difficult for you to manage the sensation that you will feel in your breasts.
- Some new mothers feel a lot of pain in the initial few tries when their newborn breastfeeds while others do not have any discomfort or pain at all.
- If you do feel pain or discomfort, try to switch your breast or ease the nipple into your newborn’s mouth in such a way that it becomes less painful and a little more comfortable. Do not get worried that if you breastfeed your baby it will always be a painful or uncomfortable experience. Instead, when your newborn is not breastfeeding, you can massage your breasts and nipples, or apply some ointments to ease your breasts and soothe the nipples during breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about some baby-safe ointments to soothe your sore breasts.
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3. Keep Practicing:
- Breastfeeding can require a lot of practicing from both you and your newborn. While it seems that some mothers and their newborns can adapt to the new technique fairly easily, there are many who have trouble breastfeeding their newborns, as the little ones are not able to latch.
- Remember that like any other thing that you have to give time and patience to learn, breastfeeding can also require a lot of your time and patience.
- If you find it difficult to breastfeed your newborn, do not give up yet. There is a lot of improvement that practice will give you and your newborn, and it will help your little one adapt better to the techniques. Try and keep changing your position, and your newborn’s position to see what works best for you. Do not give up and resort to pumping out your breast milk just yet, even if it seems that no amount of practice will help. The first few weeks are the hardest and often take the most time to help get into a routine. Once you keep practicing for the first few weeks, both you and your newborn will understand what works best and things will improve.
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4. Buy Some Nursing Bras:
- While you are about to reach the expected due date, go out and buy yourself a few pairs of comfortable nursing bras. In case you already have given birth and have not been able to shop for them earlier, it is now time that you got them for yourself.
- A good nursing bra will not only provide your heavy breasts the support and comfort they need during the breastfeeding stage, but it will also make it easier for you to feed your baby.
- The best part about the nursing bras is that you will not have to pull up your full dress or bra to feed your newborn. It means that even when you are out in public with your newborn, you will have some amount of privacy while you are breastfeeding, and it will encourage you to feed your baby even more and not shy away from it.
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5. Stop Looking At The Clock:
- When you are a new mother, you will get a lot of breastfeeding tips and tricks from different people, including doctors, friends, parents, family and even strangers who you may meet at the mall or some other place, who will tell you how to breastfeed your baby.
- One of the most common breastfeeding tips for new moms, which they receive from other people is to keep a watch on the clock and make sure that your newborn feeds for a specific amount of time at each feeding session.
- While those who give you this advice may have your and your baby’s best interests in mind, it is also important to note that breastfeeding is an entirely personal connect between you and your newborn. How long a newborn will want to feed can easily vary from baby to baby. While some newborns feed only for about 10 or 15 minutes at each breast and get full, other babies can sometimes latch on for almost half an hour to each breast. Both the situations are normal, as each baby will have a different need and way of feeding. Also, there are various factors that will determine how long a particular newborn will feed at the breast. From the baby’s birth age to whether the baby was preterm and how much milk the mother can produce, there are various factors that will decide the time a newborn takes to feed.
- If you constantly look at the clock while feeding your baby, it can cause you a lot of stress if you realize that your baby is feeding less or more than what you have been told is normal. Once you get stressed while you are breastfeeding, it can have a negative impact on the flow of your milk and may make breastfeeding difficult. Instead of keeping a watch on time as to how long your newborn is feeding for, let your infant feed for as long as possible and till you do not feel that your breasts have become empty.
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6. Let Your Baby Tell You The Time:
- Your baby will be the best person who can tell you how long you have to feed your little one on one breast. Instead of worrying that you are not feeding your baby enough, or that your baby may be feeding a little too much, let your baby set the pace and take the cue from your little one.
- For the first few weeks after your baby is born, you may notice that your baby feeds after a gap of every two to three hours for the entire duration of the twenty-four hours through the day and night.
- Once your baby is hungry, you will be able to spot the signs soon enough. Your baby will start to pucker up the lips and may start stirring in sleep; your baby may also start puckering up their nose and make a suckling motion with their lips even while they are asleep. Your baby may also start to look restless and move their head from side to side.
- Once you notice these signs, you should try and start feeding your baby immediately, as waiting for too long will make your baby too hungry. Once that happens, your baby may find it difficult to calm down enough to feed, and it can make breastfeeding even more difficult for you.
- Gently place your nipple in your baby’s mouth to begin the process of breastfeeding. Let your baby feed for as long as at least 15 to 20 minutes. When your baby is hungry, you will feel a sort of heaviness in your breasts and an ache, which you will want to massage your breasts to relieve the tingling sensation. It means that your breasts are full in anticipation of your baby’s hunger. Once your baby has had enough and has drained your breast of the milk, you will immediately notice the difference in the way your breast feels. It will feel significantly lighter, and there will be no pain or aching in your breast anymore.
- You have to understand when your breast is empty and then help your baby move on to the next one and empty that out too. If sometimes your baby is not able to finish the milk from both the breasts during the same feeding session, do not worry, as it may mean that you already had enough flow in one breast and that your baby did not drink all the milk from both.
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7. Ask For Help:
- In today’s time and age, with so much stress and focus on breastfeeding, it is possible that you are sometimes too overwhelmed by the entire process and get confused. Remember that it is natural not to be able to breastfeed your baby from the start and that there are many mothers who are in the same boat as you.
- Instead of feeling guilty and telling yourself that you are not able to breastfeed your baby, ask for help from those who are qualified to make the entire process of breastfeeding easier and more enjoyable for both you and your newborn.
- Talk to your doctor before giving birth about various lactation experts who are good and whom you can consult to understand how you can breastfeed your baby properly. Also, there are various maternity nurses and consultants who will be available at your hospital where you are giving birth. These are all trained medical staff who have received proper training on breastfeeding. Once you speak to them, they will be able to assist you with some very basic as well as very important aspects of breastfeeding.
- Some tips they will be able to help you with are how to get started, how to place your infant’s mouth on the nipple, how to sit or lie down depending on whether you had a vaginal birth or a cesarean, how you can understand if your newborn is still feeding or has simply fallen asleep, how you can ensure you empty both your breasts so that your newborn gets full, how you can take care of painful breasts and avoid breast sores and many more such topics that will make breastfeeding an easier and more successful experience.
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8. Be Comfortable:
- Remember that you will only be able to breastfeed your baby when you are most comfortable yourself. All moms have a different way of breastfeeding their babies in a position that makes them feel the most comfortable. While you are breastfeeding your newborn in the first few weeks, try to see which position works for you and your baby best.
- If you plan to breastfeed your baby while you are in a sitting position, place a comfortable pillow behind your back. Now take your baby in your arms and place your baby close to your breast. Make sure your baby is at such a distance from you so that you do not have to lean into the front and reach your baby. If you have to do that, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to your back and make breastfeeding difficult.
- If you plan to breastfeed your newborn while you are in a lying down position, make sure you have enough comfortable pillows around you that will give you adequate support. If you have had a cesarean operation, you may find it difficult to sit down for too long and breastfeed, and thus lying down and breastfeeding your baby can be the best option. When you do so, make sure your baby’s face comes to the same height as where your breast is so that you do not have to hunch while breastfeeding. Also, do not be too far from your baby but be in close skin to skin contact with your little one, as it will make breastfeeding easier for both you and your newborn.
- Some babies find it very easy to latch onto your breast, while others need some help, encouragement and guidance to understand what they have to do and how. If your newborn does not seem to latch automatically or does not seem to get it the first few times, do not think that your baby does not want to feed. It only means that your baby will need a little more practice and time to learn how to breastfeed.
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9. How To Breastfeed:
- Place one hand behind your newborn’s head to offer support and place the other under the breast that you are using to breastfeed your baby. Hold the breast in your newborn’s mouth and place the nipple on your newborn’s lips.
- Now gently move your nipple over your newborn’s lips and try to open up the lips so that you can insert the nipple inside. Be sure that your baby takes in the darker part around your nipple too, which is known as the areola. Your nipple should be towards the back of your baby’s mouth and not around the lip area. Also, your baby’s tongue should be placed under your breast and not over or around it.
- Once you can place your breast in your baby’s mouth in this way, you will be able to hear a gentle sucking motion, which means that your baby has started to breastfeed. Once your baby finishes sucking the milk from one breast, you will have to change position and place your baby on the other breast. While doing so, do not suddenly take your breast out of your baby’s mouth, as it will disrupt their flow and may put them off suckling again. Instead, gently insert your small finger in your baby’s mouth to release the nipple and to let your baby keep suckling on your finger instead. Now place your baby to the other breast and let your baby suckle on that again till it is empty.
10. Watch The Signs That Your Baby Is Drinking Enough:
- It is natural to worry as a new mom that your baby may not be drinking enough milk and that you are not able to understand if your baby is going hungry. If you keep worrying about it, it will only lead to stress and may cause a reduction in your breast milk supply and flow.
- To be sure that your baby is drinking enough milk, there are a few signs that you can watch out for to check if your baby is indeed full enough.
- Ask your baby’s doctor at each baby wellness appointment to see if your baby’s weight gain is as per what the doctor recommends at the given age. If your baby’s doctor is happy with your baby’s weight gain, it is a sure shot that your baby is drinking enough milk.
- By the time your baby is two weeks old, your baby’s weight will ideally be about the same as it was at birth (babies lose a little weight right after birth, especially in the first week, which is entirely normal) and will again start gaining more. On an average, your baby will gain about 141 grams each week starting the second week after birth.
- One more sure shot sign that will tell you whether or not your baby is drinking enough milk is the amount of diaper or nappy changes your baby needs. By the time your baby enters the second week after birth, your baby will wet at least about six to seven or more diapers in a day. Starting from the seventh day or so, your baby will also start having frequent bowel movements, though they may sometimes happen at a gap of two to three days, which is also very normal.
11. Looking After Yourself:
- Mommies, remember that unless you first take care of yourself, you will not be able to take the best care of your newborn. While it may sound very difficult especially as you will almost always be short on time, there are a few easy breastfeeding tips that you can still follow in your daily routine.
- Make sure that you stay hydrated at all times and have enough water and fluids throughout the day. To drink water whenever you feel like it, you can keep a jug of water and a glass near your bed and make it a point to drink a glass just before and after feeding your little one. You can also have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetable juices through the day if you do not wish to have only water.
- It is also very natural for you to feel hungry most of the time while you are breastfeeding and it is important not to be hungry, as it can affect the amount and quality of your breast milk and make you weak as well. Keep some easy snacks handy and place them around the area where you will be feeding your baby so that you can munch on some while you are breastfeeding. Make sure that while you are breastfeeding, you only have those snacks that are not too messy and that you can easily have with just one hand. Also, do not keep any warm or hot snacks or liquids near where you will be with your baby as it could lead to potential accidents and injuries, to both you and your baby.
- While it may not always be possible to sleep when your baby does, try and get some naps when your baby is sleeping, even if it means giving up on some chores around the house.
- Speak to your doctor about supplements and foods that you should have at this time and make sure you take all your medications and supplements as asked.
Breastfeeding is one of the biggest gifts that only you can give your baby, but remember that it does require patience and practice, so stick in there and keep trying.
Moms, we are sure you will have some experienced tips to share here, so do come on and help other new moms who will need all the support to breastfeed their babies.
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