Breastfeeding can be a challenging experience for new moms.
It is also the most rewarding and beautiful feeling in the world.
I have 2 daughters and I was lucky enough to breastfeed them both without any issue. My oldest was breastfed exclusively for 13 months and then we moved her to cow’s milk. And, I am breastfeeding my newborn, also planning on keeping it exclusive for as long as I can.
Every baby is unique and because of that your breastfeeding experience won’t be quite the same as other moms.
Breastfeeding does not need to be difficult. If your body allows you to breastfeed, there are several things you can do to ensure it is a smooth and easy process for both you and your baby.
22 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
1. Breastfeed immediately after birth.
Whether you have a vaginal or c-section birth, hospitals usually encourage skin-to-skin and breastfeeding at least 1 hour after the baby is born.
2. Use a Boppy or another pillow if necessary to elevate baby to your breasts. This is also relaxing for you as the baby nurses.
3. Make sure the baby latches on to your areola and not the nipples only.
To do this, ensure that the baby opens his/her mouth wide.
Tease the baby around the lower lip with your nipples or the chin as this will make the baby want to grab the nipples thus opening their mouth wide.
4. When you begin breastfeeding, keep your baby’s belly across from yours and the baby’s nose touching your nipple – baby will lift and move her head to take in the areola and the nipple thus creating the perfect latch.
5. If the baby grabs onto the nipple only, put your clean finger on the side of his/her mouth to release the nipple. Do not let them continue feeding when you are in pain. The goal is to make sure the baby’s lips are latching onto the areola area instead of just the nipple.
6. Get help from a nurse or see a lactation consultant as soon as you need it. Do not wait because it is important to attempt breastfeeding as soon as possible to ensure milk production.
8. During breastfeeding, ensure that the baby’s entire body is facing you – not just the head. This avoids strain on the baby’s head and is much more relaxing for the baby.
9. Use heating pads or warm rice bags to ease the pain from full breasts or for after breastfeeding session.
10. Avoid feeding the baby when your breasts are too full – it is more difficult for the baby to latch and it is much more painful for you when they attempt it.
11. Take care of your breasts – gently clean around nipples and areola area– avoid scrubbing.
12. Do not worry about the supply – your body will make whatever your baby needs. This is the general rule for breastfeeding.
13. Breastfeed every 2-3 hours or 8-10 times a day within a 24-hour period.
14. Monitor your baby’s weight and dirty diapers.
I would not focus too much on the weight because baby’s drop their weight after the first week. However, it should increase at a consistent pace after that initial drop.
Count the dirty diapers, both wet and poop diapers. In the early days, babies should have at least 6 wet diapers by day 4 and at least 3 stool diapers after day 1.
I used the Glow Baby Tracker app on my phone. It was very helpful to track diapers, feeding, as well as sleeping times. This app is available on both ITunes and Google Play.
15. Frequently breastfeeding your baby encourages a good milk supply and reduces engorgement as well.
Some babies cluster feed on their own. That is, they want to be fed more frequently and sometimes for less time. This is good for the baby and the supply but can be difficult for the mom.
Signs of hunger:
b. Putting hands/fingers in mouth.
c. Moving face towards mama’s breasts.
d. Making sucking sounds and motions.
f. Feeling excited and alert – often waving hands and kicking feet a lot.
How to tell if you baby is full:
a. Let’s go of the nipples.
b. Would not re-latch.
c. Hands and legs are lethargic – in a milk-drunk state. 🙂
d. Falls asleep.
e. If the baby looks alert, burp the baby and try to feed again because on some occasions they would stop nursing to burp.
16. Chug gallons of water.
Breastfeeding is a workout! I am ridiculously thirsty and drenched in sweat during every feeding.
17. If the baby stops nursing or falls asleep, unwrap them a little, or try gentle touches around their chin, feet, and neck.
18. Try to avoid pacifiers for at least a month – some babies won’t latch if a pacifier is introduced.
This was something my doctor advised me at the birthing center.
19. Breastfeed in a calm environment.
Depending on the baby and how fast they latch and nurse, breastfeeding could take a while. Get the both of you comfortable in a calm and cool environment.
20. Eat healthy and monitor your diet.
Related post: Colic baby signs and helpful tips
21. Wear comfortable clothes.
I bought several dozen cheap and comfortable tanks from Walmart/Target because I know they would be covered in spit ups eventually.
I do recommend investing in several nursing bras or tanks – whichever you prefer – because you will leak, you will sweat a lot, and you will be glad when you have a fresh bra to wear every day.
22. Try to pump if necessary.
If your breasts remain engorged or full for longer periods of time, it can clog the ducts and cause an infection.
Additionally, if the ducts remain full for long, it tends to decrease the production of milk because your body assumes that you do not need it. In other words, supply is based on demand.
Pumping and storing is also beneficial for moms who must return to work and wish to continue breast milk for their baby. Just remember, the goal is to feed your baby, not fill your fridge.
More on pumping and storage from these mamas.
a. Melissa at Melissa vs Fibromyalgia shares on the several breast bumps in the market as well as her best tips on pumping and storing.
b. McKinzie at Today Mommy shares some great information on how to store breast milk.
c. Lynneah at Twins and Coffee the essential items necessary for an exclusive pumping mama.
d. Gabriella at Gabby Writes shares some of her best tips on what mamas need to pump at work.
So there you go mamas! I hope you find these tips useful!
Share some of your nursing tips and experiences. I would love to know about them! 🙂