Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
August 15 2022
7 Tips to Help New Moms with Breastfeeding
For new moms, one of the first nurturing acts you will do is feed your baby. As natural as breastfeeding is, you may have anxiety as well as many questions and concerns about how to do it correctly, ensuring that your baby is getting the proper amount of nutrients.
First, take a deep breath. Both you and your baby will get the hang of it eventually. If breastfeeding ends up not being the right option for you and your baby, remember that there is no wrong way to feed your baby. Formula is just as good and you should never feel ashamed to choose something other than breastfeeding.
To help you figure it out, here are our top tips for new mothers wanting to breastfeed.
Use a Lactation Consultant
1 A lactation consultant is a professional that is well versed in helping new moms learn how to properly breastfeed their babies. They can help you figure out the right positioning for your body; we all have different bodies and breast sizes and shapes, so that means you may hold your baby differently during feedings. They can also help guide you through the early days of breastfeeding and give you tips for feeding, burping, and even breast care.
Anticipate Your Baby’s Needs
2 You don’t have to wait for baby to cry. There are some telltale signs that your baby is hungry. These include:
- Turning or raising their head repeatedly
- Opening and closing their mouth
- Sticking out their tongue
- Sucking on whatever is near
If you see any of these signs, offer your breast right away and you’ll find that your baby is happy they don’t have to struggle to get your attention, deepening the mother-baby relationship.
3 You are going to be spending a lot of time holding your baby to your breast while they feed. It is important to find a comfortable, reclined position and to support your arm. Not doing so can cause significant back, shoulder, and neck pain. If you are constantly squirming, it can disrupt your baby’s feeding and lead to irritability and increased hunger. Another position you can try is lying on your side with your baby facing you.
4 Your baby can sense if you are nervous or tense about breastfeeding and they may not latch correctly. Take a few deep breaths and relax. You might even spend a few minutes giving yourself a pep talk before beginning. Be sure that you are in an environment that isn’t stressful; if it is, opt for a change in scenery.
Help Baby Find the Right Position
5 During the course of breastfeeding, your baby will likely find the position that is right for them. Pay attention to this so that you can guide them into that position to make it easier and quicker for baby. While every mom and baby is different, here are a few general guidelines for good positioning (remember, don’t force these positions!):
- Your baby should be positioned so their mouth is level with your nipple.
- They should not have to turn their head much, if at all, so hold your baby so they are facing you.
- Their head should be tilted backward slightly.
- If possible, they should latch onto the entire areola, not just the nipple.
- Their chin should be right up against your breast so that their nose is clear.
Leaking is Natural
6 Don’t be alarmed when milk leaks from your breasts; this is totally normal and common. It can happen when you hear another baby cry, if your baby has not nursed for several hours, when you think about your baby, or even when you feel a strong emotion. Leaking will lessen or disappear as your baby continues to nurse. In the meantime, place nursing pads in your bra to absorb the leaks.
Care for Your Skin
7 The skin of your breasts is very delicate. Regular nursing can cause your skin to become dry, chapped, irritated, or even cracked over time. This can make breastfeeding a painful experience. However, there are a few precautions to take:
- Don’t overwash the skin and be sure to use a gentle cleanser.
- After feeding, pat your breasts dry with a soft cloth.
- Let your breasts air out periodically to avoid irritation from clothing.
- After feeding, apply a healing product made specifically for breastfeeding moms.
There is a lot to learn about breastfeeding, which is why having a lactation consultant can be so helpful. Here are a few other things to consider as a new breastfeeding mom:
- Know that you will have enough milk. Your milk production depends primarily on your baby’s needs and the more they nurse, the more milk your body will produce.
- Avoid engorgement, a painful swelling and hardening of the breasts caused by overproduction, by hand expressing milk or using a breast pump.
- Stay hydrated!