Five Breastfeeding Tips Every New and Expecting Mom Should Know
For some, breastfeeding comes quite natural. For others, it can be challenging. Many things can happen to derail breastfeeding success. However, rather than giving up, it is crucial for mothers to get help. In honor of national breastfeeding month, we wanted to share five tips to help mothers everywhere have the most significant chance of success at breastfeeding.
Five Breastfeeding Tips Every New or Expecting Mom Should Know
- Enlist Help Right Away – We recommend that expecting moms attend a breastfeeding class before giving birth. This will provide some of the foundational information necessary for breastfeeding success. Following delivery, ask for help from the maternity nurses or hospital lactation consultant. Your child’s pediatrician may also have some suggestions for success. Breastfeeding is not only new to you but also your baby. Getting help early on will ensure they are latching on correctly, which minimizes discomfort. Cape Fear Valley Health and First Health of the Carolinas offer a variety of classes to assist expecting moms in their journey. Find out more here and here. Additionally, here’s a checklist to help you understand if your baby is breastfeeding correctly.
- Feed On-Demand Initially – When your baby is first born, it is essential to let them feed whenever they want. This helps increase the supply of milk your body is producing. Allow babies to empty the first breast before offering the second. Burp your baby between breasts to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort. It should take a new baby around 15-20 minutes to empty a breast. If they are still hungry, they will continue to nurse when offered the second breast. If they aren’t hungry, offer the breast they didn’t nurse from when they request to feed again. Should your baby be consistently unable to empty both breasts, we recommend pumping the second breast to relieve pressure. It also provides the opportunity to begin stockpiling that precious breastmilk!
- Do Not Offer a Pacifier – Babies are born to suck, however, it is important that they not be offered a pacifier too early. This is because a pacifier can adversely affect their ability to nurse correctly. The way an infant sucks on a pacifier is different than breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms wait until breastfeeding is well established before offering a pacifier, usually 3-4 weeks. You can find more information on pacifier use here.
- Eat Well and Stay Hydrated – It is crucially important for moms to eat a well-balanced diet when breastfeeding. The vitamins and nutrients that you eat will help your baby flourish. If your body is lacking the nutrients needed to sustain both you and baby, you will end up suffering more than your baby. This is because the mammary glands get first dibs on any available nutrients in your body for milk production, leaving you with the leftovers. Eat plenty of protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Staying hydrated is also very important as it helps encourage your body to continue making milk. Limit caffeine, and if you drink alcohol, avoid breastfeeding for two hours after. You can find more information on breastfeeding and diet here.
- Take Care of Your Nipples – Nipples need proper care to stay healthy while breastfeeding. Allow milk to air dry on nipples after breastfeeding as it can help soothe them. In fact, massaging a little breast milk before and after feeding can be good for overworked nipples. If leaking is a problem, use pads and change them regularly. Avoid washing breasts with anything but water. Soaps can remove the wonderful oil that the Montgomery glands (bumps on areola) create to moisturize and protect nipples. Get help as soon as possible if your nipples become overly dry, cracked, bleeding or are extremely painful.
Breastfeeding should be a special time for you and your baby. A time for bonding and a time for healing your body while strengthening theirs. The team at Rainbow Pediatrics want to ensure your breastfeeding success and are available for any questions or concerns. Simply schedule an appointment by calling today.
More information on breastfeeding as provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics website for parents, Healthy Children, can be found here.