Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and healthiest ways of feeding babies. This is why more and more mothers are doing their best to give their babies adequate nutrition through breastfeeding despite being busy with work and other things.
For some moms, this effort pays off. Their babies soon figure it all out instinctively within the first few days.
With some moms, however, it may be a bit more difficult. This may, perhaps be due to having a painful C-section wound, a low birth weight baby, a lip or palate deformity or some other problems. In some cases, however, an otherwise healthy baby is just stubbornly refusing to breastfeed.
This can be frustrating for the new mom, but we’ve compiled fifteen tips that you might want to try to help your little one keep well-nourished with mom’s milk.
15 See a Lactation Consultant
If you think you’re having trouble breastfeeding, it’s best to seek help from a lactation consultant as early as possible. It’s one of the best things that you can do when you’re having trouble nursing, as a lactation consultant will be able to give you tips for your specific situation. She will also be able to guide you and your baby into the nursing process, making things easier for you and your baby.
In fact, it’s best to consult one while you’re still at the hospital so that you’ll be a breastfeeding pro by the time you get home.
14 Sign up for La Leche League
One of the best resources for breastfeeding moms is La Leche League international, an organization that brings together moms and helps provide education on proper breastfeeding.
Getting involved in organizations such as this helps you keep up your morale, especially when you see stories of moms who were in similar situations as you are in experiencing breastfeeding success with time. You might want to opt for a training or a peer counselling session to help you brush up your breastfeeding knowledge, as well as to assist you in finding the best possible position for your baby to feed in. Who knows? One day in the future you might even be teaching fellow moms the art of breastfeeding yourself!
13 Room in Early
As early as possible after childbirth, room in with your baby. If your little one is of normal weight and has had no complications following delivery, you may be able to request this almost immediately. Otherwise, you might have to visit the baby at the NICU, but do try to request as much skin-to-skin contact as they will permit.
Rooming in early increases your chance of initiating breastfeeding successfully as this will significantly limit the baby’s exposure to the baby bottle. The bottle nipple, after all, will be different from your own and adjusting might pose a bit of a problem for your little one.
12 Offer Often
In babies that don’t feed for long or just aren’t in the mood to feed sometimes, just continue to offer your breast often. Let him feed for as long or as quick as he wants. As long as he’s getting adequate nutrition, despite the frequency of feedings, he should be fine.
This also gives him the opportunity to get well-acquainted with the breast, and considering it a consistent source of comfort and nutrition.
11 The Best Latch
One thing you want to look out for is that if your baby has the best possible latch on your breast. A poor latch can result in painful breastfeeding and not a lot of milk reaching your little one.
Ideally, your baby’s mouth should cover the entire areola – not just the nipple. That is, as much of the breast as possible should be in his mouth. His lips should be puckered out, his cheeks rounded and his entire jaw should be moving. A good lactation consultant will be able to show you what a proper latch looks like.
10 Sleep in the Same Room
When you get home, it’s important to still stay in the same room as your baby, especially during the night. In our culture, we often think that babies have to sleep in an entirely different room. However, in many other places, this is unthinkable as this denies the baby the opportunity to breastfeed on demand during the night.
If you’re not keen on the idea of bed sharing due to the risks, getting your little one to sleep in a crib beside your bed will do. Basically, you just want to keep him close by just in case he gets hungry. A hungry baby, after all, will be more likely to cooperate with nursing!
9 Nursing Pillows
Once you find a nice position that your baby is comfortable with, it may be your turn to feel just a tad bit of discomfort! After all, it can be tiring to carry your little one for long periods of time. Because of this, you might want to invest in a good nursing pillow. This will allow you to balance your baby securely in your position of choice, while not straining your arms and back.
If you plan on breastfeeding outdoors, you may even find some light, portable and inflatable nursing pillows that suit your needs.
8 Pumping Before the Latch
Some babies get discouraged by breastfeeding if they don’t get milk right away. After all, with a bottle, milk is almost instant. If you think this is the case, you might want to pump at your breast a bit until you get a letdown and milk begins flowing out.
This will make your baby more inclined to nurse and to keep on nursing because he knows there’s more where it came from!
7 Nursing on Your Side
One position that many moms find useful for difficult breastfeeders is lying on their side on a bed and offering the breast to their reclining baby. This is especially handy if you’ve had a C-section and holding your baby to your stomach is painful.
Make sure to keep a number of pillows handy to support your body, as this can be a tiring position to be in. Just make sure that your body is well-aligned so you don’t run into any back problems later.
When you think of a breastfeeding mom, chances are that she’s doing the cradle hold on their baby. This is the most common feeding position for a good reason: it’s easy, intuitive and convenient. Try it out for yourself and see if it works for you.
Basically, the cradle is done by sitting down and holding your baby on the crook of the arm on the side where you’re breastfeeding. Use your other arm for support.
The cross-cradle hold is a slight variation of the cradle hold. It’s a great position for difficult babies, especially those with a low birth weight. Another reason why this position is so convenient is because it allows you to switch up the arm and hand supporting your baby during the process, helping you reach out for other things you might need.
This is also done in the sitting position. Support your baby with both arms, making sure that you have a good, solid support under his head. His tummy should be against yours.
The football hold is another breastfeeding position that is great for feeding twins, as it allows you to feed both at the same time with some help. This is done by tucking your baby under your arm, as if you were holding a football, supporting his head on the palm of your hand. Make sure that you place a pillow or some form of support just under your arm, which should also support your baby’s lower body. If you’re feeding twins, place support on both sides and get someone to help you hold the babies, especially when you’re transferring them back to the crib.
The saddle hold is a position meant for babies who can already hold their heads up. It’s an ideal position if your baby has a clogged nose or if other positions don’t work for him. If you must try this position on a newborn, make sure that you provide consistent head support.
The saddle hold is done by allowing your baby to sit on one of your legs, facing towards you. Allow him to latch on the breast on the same side he’s sitting on.
2 Mix Things Up
Make sure to mix positions up a bit. Sometimes your baby might be comfortable in one position during one feeding, and then object to it the next. Try out different ones and see if he responds.
Another advantage of mixing up the positions is that this allows you to drain different parts of your breast, giving your baby more nutrients and decreasing your chance of getting a painful clogged milk duct.
1 Use the Bottle then Transition
For babies who just refuse to cooperate with breastfeeding, you may just want to give in and give them the bottle. Don’t starve your little one just because he’s just not breastfeeding at this point!
Fortunately, it is still possible for you to transition your baby to breastfeeding even if he’s used to the bottle. It will take time and effort, sure, but if you’re set on breastfeeding this may be your only option. You might want to try offering your breast in the middle of bottle feedings and seeing if this works.