Breastfeeding is one of those things that can be stressful and discouraging for new mothers. Not only can it be hard to get a routine going, but there are other issues that can pop up. To help make the whole process easier, we’ve put together 10 of the best breastfeeding tips for new moms. Take a look and put the relevant tips to use!
1. Learn Your Baby’s Signs
Every baby is different and it’s important to learn your baby’s hunger signs. There are a few things that most babies will do, like opening and closing their mouth or sucking on items that are close to them, but you’ll also want to watch for signs that are specific to your little one. For example, your baby might continuously stick out their tongue or repeatedly turn and raise their head when they are hungry. If you can learn these signs, you’ll be able to offer your breast before your baby starts crying or getting too hungry.
2. Let Your Baby Determine When to Nurse
Many new mothers get stressed out because they are trying to stick to a specific schedule, but this doesn’t always work as expected. Your baby knows what they need right now, so you should follow their lead when it’s time to nurse. Not only should you offer your breast as much as your baby wants it, but you should also let them nurse as long as needed. Your little one will let you know when they are hungry and they will release your breast when they are full, so let them eat to their little heart’s content!
3. Get Comfortable
Nursing takes some time and you never know exactly how long it will last. With that being the case, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. There are many things you can do to achieve this, including setting up your pillows, start playing your favorite show, or eating a little snack. As long as your baby is getting as much milk as they need, you can do what you need in order to set up a comfortable nursing space.
4. Try to Relax
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and obsessive about breastfeeding, but it’s important to remember that your little one can pick up on any feelings you’re having. This can lead to even more issues with breastfeeding, so you want to try and relax as much as possible. For starters, make sure you aren’t tense when it’s time to nurse because it could cause the baby to have issues latching on. In addition, try and make sure you aren’t in an environment that’s stressful or too busy.
5. Use Different Positions
The main reason why this is so important is that you never know which position your baby will prefer. You might find a position that’s perfect for you, but your baby might not be able to latch properly or get a good flow of milk. If this is the case, your baby will unlatch and let you know. Keep in mind, you’ll probably change positions several times throughout your breastfeeding journey and it’s important to know that this is completely normal. Use the positions that work best for your little one.
6. Prepare for Leaking
Leaking happens to the majority of women, whether they are breastfeeding or not. With that being the case, you want to make sure you prepare. In addition to finding a good-fitting nursing bra, you might want to also invest in breast pads that can catch all of the leaking milk. Not only do you have to be prepared for leaking during sleep, but you might also find that you start leaking throughout the day, such as when you hear a baby cry or when you go too long without emptying your breasts.
7. Care for Your Skin
The skin around the nipples is very delicate and can easily become sore or cracked. In some cases, new mothers find that their nipples start bleeding as a result of nursing. You don’t want to overwash the area and you should be fine with one or two showers a day. You should also make sure you pat your nipples dry after feeding and try to air them out to reduce irritation. Finally, apply some kind of healing product that’s safe for both you and your baby.
8. Try Not to Worry
It can be easy to start worrying about whether or not you’re producing enough milk or if your baby is getting enough to eat. Some women deal with not being able to make enough milk, but most mothers will have plenty for their baby. When your little one starts nursing, your body releases oxytocin and prolactin, which helps increase milk supply. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you should produce. If you notice you aren’t making much milk and your baby is still hungry, try using methods to increase production, like special foods or using a breast pump.
9. Watch for Engorgement
Engorgement happens when you produce more milk than your baby actually needs, and can lead to a lot of pain and swelling. Two things to watch for are your breasts being warm to the touch and breasts that feel like they are hard as rocks. If this happens, you’ll want to try and let some milk out. You can pump and store the milk for later or you can hand express enough out to get the engorgement to go away. Try and take care of engorgement as soon as possible because it can lead to mastitis, which is very painful and possibly dangerous.
10. Stay Hydrated
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you stay as hydrated as possible. Water helps replenish your body, which can increase your milk supply. If possible, try and drink a full glass of water every time you breastfeed. This should help you stay hydrated and keep your milk supply up. If you do this and still find that you’re not hydrated enough, give your doctor a call!
Remember, it’s going to take some time to get your routine down and it’s completely normal to deal with various hiccups. Take a deep breath and keep trying. If you feel like something isn’t working or you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals as they have the skills and tools to assist you. Try to not stress and enjoy this time with your little one.