6 Helpful Breastfeeding Tips for First-time Moms
Breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to ensure the all-round development of your baby and provides mulitple health benefits both for the mother and the child. Babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to develop gastrointestinal infections (such as diarrhea and vomiting), leukemia, and other chronic diseases.
Effective Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, first-time moms might face various challenges, such as low or oversupply of milk, sore or inverted nipples, plugged ducts, and breast swelling. Moreover, breastfeeding difficulties can also lead to postpartum depression.
The key to avoiding frustration is to remember that breastfeeding your baby usually will not come easily or naturally, especially when you are a first-time mom. However, you can improve your chance of success with the following breastfeeding tips:
1. Breastfeed soon after giving birth
Breastfeeding your baby within the first hour of birth helps contract your uterus and produce colostrum (breast fluid produced before breast milk is released). Colostrum is filled with nutrients and antibodies that your newborn needs to combat infections.
2. Seek help from a nurse or lactation specialist
A lactation consultant or nurse will check how your baby latches and help you find the right breastfeeding position accordingly. Latching can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. If it hurts, your baby is probably not in the right position.
3. Plan your breastfeeding frequency
It is good to breastfeed 8 to 12 times a day to satisfy your baby’s nutritional needs. However, make sure to feed only on demand rather than randomly.
4. Do not introduce a bottle or other nipples
Try not to feed your baby through a bottle or pacifier until they get used to breastfeeding, as it can cause nipple confusion and complicate the process of breastfeeding.
5. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water to help your body make sufficient milk. It is also recommended to drink a glass of water when breastfeeding to provide an uninterrupted supply of milk.
6. Breastfeed in a calm environment
Your baby cannot relax or latch correctly if you are tensed or stressed. Therefore, feed in a calm environment that keeps you and your baby comfortable while reducing your stress.
Preparing Your Body for Breastfeeding Months While You Are Pregnant
Preparing your body for breastfeeding before birth can help overcome potential challenges. Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself while pregnant for the breastfeeding months ahead.
1. Get a breast pump
A breast pump can help increase or maintain milk supply, pull out flat or inverted nipples, and relieve plugged milk ducts and engorged breasts. The last month of pregnancy is the best time to buy a breast pump.
2. Seek help from a lactation counselor
While it can take time to get accustomed to breastfeeding, women who have difficulty breastfeeding in the early days are less likely to continue it. However, a lactation counselor will help you breastfeed properly. Your ob-gyn may recommend a lactation counselor, or you can choose one yourself.
3. Visit your ob-gyn
Visit your ob-gyn to discuss breastfeeding challenges and how to overcome them. Health conditions, such as diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can make breastfeeding difficult by increasing the risk of low milk supply. In such cases, your ob-gyn may recommend practicing hand expression techniques to help get the milk out of your breasts, thus improving the milk supply.
4. Free up time for breastfeeding
Finish all household preparation or maintenance tasks by the eighth month of pregnancy to free up more time for breastfeeding.
5. Accept the reality
despite countless preparations, you might be unable to breastfeed either due to health conditions or other similar challenges that make breastfeeding impractical. It’s best to not get discouraged or upset by your inability to breastfeed, as it does not reflect the quality of your motherhood. You can simply follow formula feeding to provide your baby the nutrition they need.
For more expert breastfeeding tips for first-time moms, schedule an appointment with us at North Atlanta Women’s Care today.
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