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If you are pregnant and thinking about breastfeeding your baby or a new mom trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, then this post is the one for you. Today we are going to share 30 Genius Breastfeeding Tips that all new moms need to know.
Breastfeeding is not easy by any means. It can be painful, time consuming and quite honestly draining on your body. I've done it with all 3 of my kids and I can tell you that while breastfeeding is challenging, it is also totally worth it in the end.
We've talked to other moms and lactation consultants to round up the best breastfeeding tips and hacks for new moms so we can set you up for success!
BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR NEWBORNS
Breastfeed your baby in the first hour after birth, which is known as the golden hour. Ideally, soon after the baby is born, they'll put the baby on your bare chest so you can have skin to skin contact. While you support the baby's body, let the baby attempt to find his way to your breast and self-attach.
If the baby does not self attach, ask the the nurses for help with positioning the baby so he can latch on to your breast. This early breastfeeding is important not only because it ensures that the baby receives the colostrum, or “first milk”, which is rich in protective factors but it also promotes bonding and helps your uterus contract.
If your baby is unable to breastfeed, then it’s a good idea to start expressing your milk early and frequently until he is able to latch.
When breastfeeding the newborn, relax and don't stress out. Your baby can sense if you are stressed out and may not latch properly. Just know that moms have been doing this forever, you are going to be okay and get the rhythm of breastfeeding eventually.
Get yourself comfortable when breastfeeding the baby. It will also help you with the correct position of the baby and getting the baby to latch. We recommend you take your own boppy pillow to the hospital when you go for delivery. Check out this post for our favorite nursing pillow.
It is essential that breastfeeding moms stay hydrated while breastfeeding the baby. Always have a large water bottle accessible near your favorite nursing chair. You are going to feel thirstier than normal.
Watch your baby's suckling. When the baby is nursing, she will suck eagerly and swallow regularly. Also know that when the baby first starts nursing, she'll swallow each time she sucks. Eventually, when she's had enough or falls asleep the swallowing will decrease.
Keep an eye on your newborn baby's dirty diapers to see if the breastfeeding is going well. Your newborn will likely have four to eight bowel movements each day during the first few weeks of life.
BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR LATCHING
It is important that your baby latches correctly so feel free to ask for help. Most maternity wards have lactation consultants who are great and a reassuring resource for new breastfeeding moms.
The baby should be positioned where the mouth is level with the nipple, with the head tilted backward slightly and should latch onto the entire areola, not just the nipple. Watch the video below!
Here's how you know if your baby is latching well. You will feel a pulling or tugging sensation on your breast and he is getting milk.
TIPS FOR SORE NIPPLES, ENGORGED BREASTS AND CLOGGED MILK DUCTS
If you notice your nipples getting sore, red or pointy, it means that the baby is not latching correctly. Try to position the baby correctly and get the baby to latch properly. The baby should open her mouth very wide and take in a good deal of breast tissue with the nipple ending up way in the back of the baby's mouth, thus preventing any soreness or pain.
If you feel a pinch when the baby is suckling then insert your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth to break the latch as soon as you feel pain -- and then try latching on again.
Also let some milk air dry on your breast after feeding, which can help reduce some inflammation and soreness.
Use nipple cream to keep your nipples soft and supple, and help with nipple inflammation.
Breast fullness can lead to engorgement if your baby is not nursing often enough and/or not removing milk effectively. Engorged breasts can become very full, firm, hard, and the skin can be red, taut and shiny. If you have engorged breasts, nurse frequently (up to 8 times/24 hours), use warm, moist compresses or take a warm-hot shower to relieve your breasts.
Engorged breasts can also be relieved by applying a cold compress to the breast to reduce swelling and inflammation
You can also massage the lumpy engorged breasts with your finger tips while the baby is nursing to get the milk drained.
Gather all the breastfeeding essentials and create a breastfeeding station for you at home so you can be comfortable breastfeeding when you get home and also have the necessary essentials to care for your breasts/nipples. Read this post on the breastfeeding essentials you'll need plus other must have stations in the nursery.
TIPS FOR LEAKY BREASTS
Leaking breast milk from your breasts is a common experience that occurs with breastfeeding. In the first few weeks after your breast milk comes in, it may drip or even spray out of your breasts at any time. Wear nursing pads to absorb the milk.
Your breasts might be too full with milk and can cause leaking. Try to get the baby to nurse more often if you feel your breasts are full.
You can also use a haakaa or a traditional breast pump to relieve the fullness from your breast and freeze your expressed milk for later use.
Often times when you are breastfeeding the baby on one breast, the other side also has a let down causing milk to leak. Use a Haakaa breast pump to collect this milk and you'll have a freezer stash of milk without much effort. Read the post to see why the Haakaa is a game changer for breastfeeding moms.
TIPS FOR PRODUCING MORE breast MILK
When it comes to breast milk supply, it actually depends on the demand. So the more milk that is removed from the breast, the more milk that will be produced. Have the baby nurse more frequently, longer sessions or use a breast pump to remove the milk.
Another option to increase your breast milk is to have the baby breastfeed and then finish off by pumping.
The amount of milk you produce also depends on your health. So eat healthy meals, keep your self hydrated and relax!
Try eating some delicious lactation cookies made with galactagogues, or milk-stimulating foods, like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flax seed meal and whole oats.
TIPS FOR DRESSING WHILE BREASTFEEDING
A good nursing bra or tank is an essential item in a nursing wardrobe. Nursing bras and tanks have special clips, snaps, or hooks that help a section of fabric fold down without affecting the support structures of the bra. Choose tank tops, button down shirts, v-neck t-shirts and wrap dresses for convenience and comfort. Jackets, vests, and sweaters are good to have on hand in case you need to quickly cover an embarrassing stain.
Take a little time to think about your nursing wardrobe and purchase some items before your baby comes. After you have the baby, you are going to be so busy and the last thing you will have time for is going shopping for nursing clothes.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
The benefits of breast milk are many. It is simply the best option for a baby. Breast milk contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes that scientists have yet to replicate.
Breast milk reduces the risk of viruses, infections, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and respiratory infections. Furthermore, it protects your baby from allergies and eczema.
So no matter how difficult it may be in the beginning as your milk comes in or issues with engorged breasts or mastitis down the road, breast feeding is totally worth it!
We hope with these breastfeeding tips you are better prepared when it's time for you to start breastfeeding.
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Last Updated on February 2, 2021 by Tira Attygalla