It’s no surprise that we’re soaking up all that new baby love, basking in the moments of adding a new addition to our nest and still laughing at the crazy story of my most recent birth. With all of that, I’m also experiencing the greatest bonding that I could ever imagine; I’m breastfeeding our third babe.
Look, I’m no expert. For that, I suggest you consult your doctor and/or baby center to find a lactation consultant. But, I can say that I have successfully breastfed two babes (until they naturally weaned), and I’m going strong to do that same thing on the third. So while I’m not an expert, I think I can share some breastfeeding tips that may be helpful to new moms.
Most first-time mothers experience problems when breastfeeding their newborns. Studies that were conducted in Singapore throughout 2013 show that mothers experience different breastfeeding problems due to different obstacles/circumstances.
Your struggle might be having little milk, baby failing to latch, issues with positioning the baby, getting thrush and other breastfeeding difficulties. Most first time mothers won’t experience all of the above problems, but at one time or another, throughout your breastfeeding journey, you’ll be able to check some of those off the list.
Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Your diet is essential to producing nutrient-rich milk for your baby. By drinking six to eight glasses of water/fluids per day, and having a balanced diet of healthy foods, your body has the ability to use that to produce milk enough milk. Prenatal vitamins are extra support so that you can stay healthy with your child.
Experts suggest that you should take additional 400-500 calories per day to keep your body energized. Foods such as whole grain bread, vegetables, fruit, and yogurt have extra calories and enough nutrients to ensure that you stay on top of your game.
Your Milk Supply
Your body will produce milk based upon your diet and your babies needs. If you feel that you aren’t producing enough milk for your babies needs, or maybe too much, you can make some simple changes to ensure that your production increases/decreases as needed.
If you think that you aren’t producing enough milk, try these tips:
- Increase your water intake.
- Allow baby to nurse on both sides, alternating the beginning breast at each feeding.
- Try eating more nutrient-rich fatty foods like oatmeal, bananas, and grains.
- When your baby finishes eating, pump both breasts in efforts to cue your body that it needs to produce more milk (freeze this extra milk as needed).
- Rub Fennel Essential Oil around the breast, towards the nipple (but not on or close to where your baby will latch) after feedings; up to 3xs daily.
If you think you are producing to much milk, try these tips:
- Allow your baby to latch and begin feeding. When your letdown begins, pull the baby off until the pressure normalizes. You can catch this milk to save for later or just let it drain into a towel.
- It will be painful but do not pump. When you are overly full, your body will take that cue to slow down production. Do your best to not mess with natures cue. Maybe take a warm bath or gently put pressure on the breast for manual release and little relief.
Some women and babies have trouble with latching at the breast at the start. It may be a simple issue such as teaching your baby to latch (babies haven’t eaten before), a more comfortable holding position, or just your nerves as a new mom. Here are a couple holding techniques that may be better for you.
The crossover hold involves holding the head of your baby using your left hand while his/her body lies on your left arm while you nurse from the right breast. The football hold involves allows you to hold your baby where the head lies at the breast, the body lies under your arm, against your side, and towards your back. You can also uplift him/her using a pillow and hold your breast using your hand so that your baby can find the nipple.
If your baby is choking at feedings, or denying the breast, maybe your letdown is too strong for baby. Again, you can try pulling the baby away until let down slows or try a different holding. Try leaning back at feedings where the baby’s head is above the breast and not below it, using gravity to your advantage.
Worrying about enough milk?
If your baby is hungry, feed your baby. If you feel like your baby is always hungry, there may be another cause of this. Try these tips, but contact a pediatrician or OBGYN to find a lactation consultant that can help you better understand.
If your baby is not hungry or sleeping at feeding cues, do not immediately fret. Your baby will go through stages and growth spurts that are different for all children. If your baby is gaining weight and has regular diaper changes, keep doing what you’re doing mama. If not, consult a more experienced medical professional.
Are your nipples sore or cracked? You can use nursing ointment, coconut oil, or milk baths to help them stay moist. After breastfeeding your child, rub a few drops of breast milk onto your nipples with clean hands. Moisturizing your nipples protects them from having cracks and becoming painful.
Your hormones are raging, your body is empty, your heart is full, your emotions out of whack. Things can be crazy when you first have a baby. Your breastfeeding journey may be a little rocky, so it’s in times like these that you need support.
Stress can be a major factor in regulating and stimulating your supply. You may need support from friends and family to help take up some of the other slack that might consume you. If you don’t have that support around you, find a community online or in Facebook groups.
No matter what step you’re in, pray through it.
Being a mother can be overwhelming. Don’t let breastfeeding be something that defeats you. You will get the hang of it, but it may take a little time. Breastfeeding is a great time for you to bond with your baby, so don’t allow it to become something that is a burden.
What breastfeeding tips would you give a new a new mom that has chosen to embark on this journey? Some simple support could help them succeed!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, I am simply a mom trying to do what’s best for my family. Any information or advice given is to help educate and inform, not to diagnose, help, treat, or prevent any disease. Statements made have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should always check with a healthcare professional before starting something new.