A lot of people are still concerned when it comes to what a mother is feeding her baby. Breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding, as it is undeniably the best source for their growing bodies. However, breastfeeding may be called ‘natural,’ for some moms, it can seem like anything but; labeling something as natural gives the impression that it is easy, and breastfeeding is not.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill; it is not something that we are born knowing how to do. Like any skill, it takes a while and some instruction to learn how to do it right. This is why lactation consultants are invaluable when it comes to helping a new mom out with feeding her newborn. Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff, and they will visit new moms to answer any questions and offer a lot of help. They are even available for appointments and sessions after a mom has left the hospital. Lactation consultants can be the difference between a successful or failed breastfeeding relationship.
They are there to provide mom with everything that she should do and know when it comes to feeding her newborn, but they are also full of information that mom should not do when feeding. Certain things can make the journey more difficult and the last thing a new mom needs is another roadblock in her way as she tries to navigate being the world of motherhood.
22 Holding Off On Starting
We are going to start right at the very beginning of a mom’s breastfeeding journey and it begins almost the moment a woman gives birth. Giving birth to a baby can be overwhelming (to say the least) and a new mom can get wrapped up in the sight and smell of her new baby. It is OK to soak in all the love and cuddles, but if mom is planning on breastfeeding, she doesn’t have time to wait.
Lactation consultants (or LC’s as I will be referring to them throughout this article) suggest that mom should not wait long before trying to nurse her little one. An early start is key when it comes to establishing a great relationship from the start.
21 Space Out The Feeding
Another big thing LC’s will tell mom about breastfeeding is to not watch the clock. Mom should not be worrying about when the last feeding was, and that the baby needs to wait 2-3 hours to feed. It is suggested that instead, mom watches her baby.
Breastmilk digests a lot quicker than formula, so we cannot be applying the same formula rules when it comes to feeding the baby. Newborns will want to eat often because their stomachs are so small and the milk digests quicker. Feeding on demand is the best way to make sure your little one is getting enough, and it helps build supply.
20 Worry About The Amount
One of the biggest worries among moms who breastfeed is whether their baby is getting enough milk. Our bodies are not designed to have measurement indicators on the side to tell us how much milk our little ones are taking in. During a breastfeeding journey, our body will eventually adjust to what the baby needs, and we lose the ‘fullness’ feeling which can cause worry.
LC’s are pleading with moms to stop worrying about how much they are producing. That as long as the baby has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, it is reassurance enough that the little one is getting enough milk.
19 Introduce Solids
There is a lot of misinformation out there about when to introduce solids to your baby. Some are saying that 4-months is an acceptable time to introduce solids, but the standard is still to wait until the baby is 6-months and shows all signs of readiness. LC’s are urging moms not to start solids too early. Breastmilk is all your little one needs for the first 6 months of their life.
Introducing solids too early can mess with the baby’s digestive system which is just starting to get used to taking in milk and food. It can also hinder breastmilk supply because your little one may stop nursing as often, which will signal the breasts to make less milk.
18 Neglect Yourself
When a woman has a baby, all attention goes to providing for that little one. A new mom can often neglect herself because she is so consumed with caring for a little one. LC’s are telling moms to stop neglecting themselves when they have a baby, it is important that mom takes care of herself when she is breastfeeding.
This means that mom needs to make sure to eat properly (or even just at all) and to drink a lot of water throughout the day. This will help milk production. The body will still make milk for the baby, but it will pull nutrients from mom, and if she is not replacing those, she may find herself falling sick and weary.
17 Stop Nursing Due To Work
Not a lot of countries have great maternity leave, and some women have to go back to work as early as 6-weeks after delivering a baby. There is some concern that this lack of time off for mom is damaging breastfeeding relationships and is pushing a lot of women towards formula feeding. While it may be difficult, LC’s want moms to continue breastfeeding even after they return to work.
Mom may need to invest in a good pump and make sure she gets times throughout the workday to pump. Mom should pump at the times that her baby would normally feed to maintain supply. Legally, workplaces must provide time and space for a woman to nurse her baby.
16 Skip The Protection
Even though this information is so incredibly old, it doesn’t stop people from believing that it is true. LC’s want moms to stop using breastfeeding as birth control. There are still a lot of women who believe that if she is nursing that she can not get pregnant. This is not true. While it is true that most women do not get their menstrual cycle back until they are done nursing, it is not 100%.
There is still a chance that a woman can fall pregnant when she is breastfeeding, so mom should always use birth control to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. Pregnancy can change the taste of the breastmilk, so if mom gets pregnant too soon, her baby may refuse her milk and she will have to switch to formula.
15 Don’t Skip Skin-To-Skin
We all know how important skin-to-skin is with the baby as soon as it is born. It helps them regulate their temperature, helps the bond and it can help with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, a lot of mom’s think that skin-to-skin is just for the hospital and they don’t continue it when they come home.
LC’s state that skin-to-skin is still incredibly important to a healthy breastfeeding relationship and should be done at home as often as possible. It can help calm a newborn down, and it can increase the feeding if mom is actually doing skin-to-skin while she is nursing. Some babies get so hungry that they are too upset to eat, skin-to-skin can help them calm down enough to want to latch on.
14 Avoid Asking For Help
There is a big problem in the world of motherhood, and that is when mom does not reach out for help when she needs it. Mom’s like to think they can do it all, and they are anxious about reaching out for help. They are afraid that by reaching out, they are admitting they can’t handle it and that people will think they are just an awful mother.
LC’s don’t want moms to do this when it comes to breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding journeys end because a mom didn’t reach out for help. If mom needs help, ask an LC and they can normally help you with any challenge you are having.
13 Be Insecure
Confidence is not only attractive, but it goes a long way in helping a new mom who has just started breastfeeding her baby. LC’s are urging mom’s not to be insecure when they enter into a breastfeeding journey with their baby because that could hinder the experience.
It is important going into the relationship, that mom is confident in what to expect. That means that mom should understand that it is normal for newborns to lose weight and it does not mean that there is no milk coming out. It is always a good idea to do some research about breastfeeding before the baby comes and an LC can help you there too.
12 Mom Should Keep A Log
It is normal and to be expected that a mom’s mind is a bit frazzled in the early days of welcoming a baby home, and it is almost impossible to remember everything. The only way to remember everything is to write it down and the lack of this is what LC’s say mom should not do.
It goes a long way to tell how successful breastfeeding is by writing everything down and keeping track of it all. Mom will want to write down when her baby feeds and for how long and she may also want to track the number of diapers she changes. This can tell an LC a lot about the breastfeeding relationship.
11 Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
As humans, it is quite easy and common to find ourselves comparing how we do things to others. It is natural. Motherhood is no different, and it is easy to compare yourself to other mothers out there and compare your children to other children out there. LC’s warn mothers not to do this when it comes to breastfeeding.
If you are around other mom’s who breastfeed, don’t compare yourself or your breastfeeding journey to them. If their baby feeds more often than yours do, or less, that is OK. If you both have babies that are the same age, but theirs is a lot bigger than yours that is OK too. Everyone’s body and journey are different and can not be compared.
10 Fight Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is a very normal part of breastfeeding, and it happens to almost every single mom and baby out there. Cluster feeding is a short period of time when a baby wants to nurse often. They may latch on every hour or two and only nurse for a short amount of time. While this may be exhausting it is for a very good reason.
A breastfed baby will go through periods of cluster feeding because they know they are about to go through a growth spurt. They are trying to tell the body to produce more milk. LC’s want moms to know that this is normal and not to fight it. Don’t just assume that your baby is not hungry and try other interventions. Let them nurse as often as they want. Cluster feeding passes very quickly.
9 Hold Off On The Pump
Breast pumps were a great invention. The allow mom to express milk for someone else to feed the baby. It can provide mom with a much-needed break every now and then while someone else feeds the baby. While they are great, LC’s want to tell mom to hold off on using one of these for a little while after birth.
They suggest waiting until the baby is at least three weeks old before using a pump. That is because your body will not respond as well to a pump as it does to the baby. A pump is also never a good indicator as to how much your body is producing. It is better to have the baby exclusively fed from the breast for the first little bit to help milk production.
8 Hold Off On The Pacifier
Just like with the breast pump, LC’s are telling mom’s everywhere to also hold off on the pacifier. Pacifiers are a great invention; their ability to calm a fussy baby is nothing short of a miracle and there are a lot of parents out there who want to introduce their baby to one as soon as possible. LC’s think this could be a mistake, as it could cause some nipple confusion.
It is best to allow the baby to feed, or comfort themselves, right from the breast. It will help to establish the breastfeeding relationship and it will avoid any confusion going between the two. Anytime your baby is on your breast, they are building your supply to ensure that you are making enough milk.
7 Listen To Grandma
Once a woman finds out she is pregnant, there seems to be a whole world out there that is just waiting to give her some advice or information to help her out. Most times, this is done with the best of intentions, but LC’s are warning women to be careful what kind of information they listen to.
They are telling moms to take what mom and grandma tell them with a grain of salt and to always confirm the advice with one of them. This information is likely old and out-dated, and it may even be something considered dangerous today. The older generation passes on information that they were told was fine, but advancements in education have changed a lot of how they parented.
6 Don’t Let Baby Sprawl
One of the benefits of going to see a LC is that they can help you with your technique. We already discussed that breastfeeding is not something you are born to know how to do, it is all a learned skill. Sometimes when women breastfeed, they are focused entirely on the baby’s head, making sure they are latched correctly. LC’s want moms to pay attention to the rest of the baby’s body too.
Often times, the head is correct and latched on, but the boy is all sprawled out. This is not going to lead to a successful feed because that baby is bound to get uncomfortable. Mom wants to make sure the baby’s whole body is facing her. When we eat dinner, we sit at the table and our whole body is directed at the plate of food in front of us, it should be the same as the little one.
5 Skip The Burps
Burping a baby is something that is very important, their little bodies don’t know how to expel gas on their own yet and they need a little help. Failure to burp a baby can lead to a build-up of gas that will create a very fussy and upset baby. LC’s want to make sure that every mom out there is not skipping the burps.
Breastfed babies do tend to have less gas than those babies who are fed by a bottle and that is because there is a tighter seal and not a lot of air passes through. However, they still need to be burped. Even at night, when mom is tempted to just place her sleeping baby back down, she needs to burp them first.
4 Watch The Emotions (If You Can)
Being a new mom is hard, it may be one of the most difficult things a woman will do. It is definitely the hardest adjustment and change she will have to make in her life. Add on the sleepless nights and the hormonal changes that are going on after birth and anyone is bound to be upset. Mom may want to have moments when she completely loses it, but LC’s are warning against that.
An upset baby is better helped by a calm mother. Babies can sense their mother’s emotions, and a breastfed baby may as well be the same person, due to the bond that is created. If mom is upset, the baby will be harder to calm down. If babes are too upset to eat, then mom needs to get herself under control before trying to calm the little one down to nurse.
3 Hold The Back Of The Baby’s Head
It seems like common knowledge that we need to support a new baby’s neck and head. They are unable to hold it up themselves, so mom needs to give a little bit of help. This rule also applies when breastfeeding. LC’s are urging moms to not neglect the neck support when breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding pillows have made this very easy for new mom’s as it gives them extra support, but there are times when a nursing pillow is not available or easily used. Mom needs to make sure that she gets the baby in a position that allows her to easily support the head. A visit with an LC can make sure mom knows about the correct positioning.
2 Watch The Medication
When we are pregnant, we understand and take very seriously the fact that everything we put in our system goes directly to our baby. This means we are very careful with what we eat and what medications we take. LC’s are telling new moms that this does not change when the baby is here.
If mom is breastfeeding, it is still important to be careful about what medications they are taking because some of them can transfer over through the milk. The good news is that there is a lot of medications that mom can still take because breastmilk is made by a woman’s blood and it will be filtered through. It is always best to call and ask just to make sure before you start taking medication.
1 Skip A Vitamin
Breastmilk is amazing, it contains everything the baby needs, and it is constantly changing to adapt to how the baby’s needs change. It is considered the perfect food, however, there is one thing that breastmilk does not have and that is vitamin D. There is no vitamin D in breastmilk, and LC’s are reminding mom’s that babies do still need this vitamin.
There are vitamin D drops on the market that mom should be giving to the newborn while they are breastfeeding. Until they start solid foods and start getting vitamin D from other sources, they need the supplement to help them grow.
References: Canada.ca, pampers.com, breastfeeding.support