The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be a tricky time for a new mom. She may be feeling hormonal and exhausted. The newborn may not take to the breast right away, which can cause some serious stress for both mom and baby. Have no fear, we’ve compiled a list to help moms have a better breastfeeding experience from the start.
There are several steps moms can take to ensure that they stay healthy and happy while their mind and body adjust to being a human baby bottle. This survival guide is filled with tips to make everything run smoothly. Please enjoy this list of 10 tips to help you survive the early weeks of breastfeeding.
10 Maintain Skin-To-Skin Contact
The best way to kick-start breastfeeding is to have skin-to-skin contact with your newborn as soon as possible after giving birth. Professionals call the special time after delivery the "Sacred Hour" because those first sixty minutes are so important for you and your baby.
Placing your baby on your bare chest will comfort them and help them to smell your milk. Be sure to ask your doctor if you can have skin-to-skin contact after a C-section. More and more hospitals are accommodating of this important bonding time. Sit back and enjoy the special moment with your baby.
9 Breastfeed The First Few Hours After Giving Birth
It’s so important that breastfeeding is initiated within the Sacred Hour. There are many benefits for you and your baby. It will help with lactation and prevent blood loss after giving birth. It’s during the first feeding that a woman’s colostrum comes in, the yellowish-white liquid that appears in the breast before milk is produced.
The pre-milk liquid is filled with all sorts of nutrients that will boost your baby’s immune system. Providing your newborn with skin-to-skin contact will encourage the first hour of feeding. It builds confidence in both you and your little one to initiate healthy nursing.
8 Focus On You And The Baby
Another way that you can set you and your newborn up for success when it comes to breastfeeding is to put all of your energy into you and your baby. A great tip is to write a list of all the household duties that you perform every day. Enlist people from the start to help take over these tasks.
Allow a trusted relative or friend to drive any older siblings to sports practices or ballet classes. Ask your partner to take over the laundry and to load the dishwasher. The more time you have to focus on your infant, the calmer you’ll feel.
7 Limit Friend And Family Visits
The first few weeks after a baby is born is an exciting time and well-meaning friends and family flock to meet the new bundle of joy. One way to survive the early days of breastfeeding is to limit the number of guests.
It would be smart for you to have visiting hours so that you know when people will be arriving and can make breastfeeding your top priority. Make it clear to your loved ones that you want them to spend time with the baby but that feedings have to come first. Hopefully, everyone will understand and respect your wishes.
6 Try Breastfeeding Positions That Allow You To Rest
Learning the best breastfeeding position for you and your baby is crucial. Choosing positions that allow you to rest will help you in the first few weeks. Nursing is hard work, so the more relaxed you are, the better. The side-lying position offers an opportunity for mom to be more comfortable.
Another relaxing position is the Laid Back Position, where mom leans back and the baby’s entire body is draped on her chest. This is the perfect position when having skin-to-skin contact. Finding a comfortable position makes a big difference for mom and baby when it comes to feedings.
5 Stay Hydrated
It’s common for breastfeeding moms to feel thirsty, thanks to the release of oxytocin in a nursing woman’s body. It’s important that you stay hydrated and it will make breastfeeding a much less daunting experience if you don’t allow yourself to become dehydrated.
Being mindful about your water consumption will help prevent all sorts of negative side effects like headaches, dry mouth, or exhaustion. Be sure to have a glass of water near you while you nurse and refill your glass when you’re done nursing. The healthier you are, the easier it will be for you to master breastfeeding your baby.
4 Soothe Sore Nipples
Nipple tenderness is to be expected during those early weeks of breastfeeding so it’s crucial that you take care of your body. There are several steps you can take to promote healthy nipples. First and foremost, if you feel pain while your baby nurses, pull them off the breast to encourage a new latch.
If you experience cracked nipples, you should express some milk and rub it on your nipples. It’s amazing how many healing qualities are found in breastmilk. Other ways to soothe sore nipples are to apply a warm compress or use Lanolin ointment. It’s so important that you stay ahead of discomfort.
3 Wear A Comfy Nursing Bra
Another tip to help you have more success in the early weeks of breastfeeding is to wear a comfortable nursing bra. Your first instinct may be to wear supportive undergarments but the truth is, you need comfort more than support.
Many nursing moms choose to wear a cotton, night-nursing bra. They are soft and promote dry nipples, which we know is so important. The last thing on your mind will be feeling sexy, so just go ahead and embrace the plainest and softest nursing bra that you can find. Trust me, your breasts will thank you.
2 Let Your Baby Lead Feedings
It’s all too easy for a new mom to have her own plans when it comes to timing feedings. It may seem appropriate to try and get your baby on a feeding schedule but you’ll be much more relaxed if you allow your baby to feed on demand. It’s best to not be too rigid during the early days of breastfeeding.
Be aware of the early cues that your baby is hungry and try to nurse them before they start crying. It’s so much more effective to follow your baby’s lead and adapt to their feeding schedule. Everyone will be more at ease, which is so important.
1 Call On The Pros
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your own mental health is to reach out to a professional if you are struggling. There’s no shame in asking for help and there are plenty of resources available for new moms.
It may be smart to take advantage of the lactation expert at the hospital and have a consultation before you take the baby home. They can give you much-needed advice on breastfeeding positions and tips to help your baby get a correct latch. If you find yourself overwhelmed at home, call your doctor, and they will refer you to an expert.