Breastfeeding your child is the most natural thing in the world, but it doesn’t come naturally sometimes. A lot of new moms struggle with getting it right.
If you're struggling to breastfeed your child, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Almost every new mother experiences the same difficulties; despite what you might think, it's not something you should instinctively know how to do.
Here we've put together a handful of handy breastfeeding tips for new moms designed to help you navigate these new waters.
One of the most obvious breastfeeding tips is to get help. Of course, you're already doing that by reading this article, but there's a lot more support out there available for you.
For instance, your partner or another trusted family member might be able to help you with the physical aspect of it. Sometimes, getting your child into the right position can be a bit of a challenge, so another pair of hands is always appreciated.
You could also look into any breastfeeding support groups in your local area. Many baby boutiques are responsible for holding these kinds of events.
If you're having more serious issues, consider working with a lactation consultant. This can be covered under your insurance policy, so it's worth checking.
A lactation counselor can come to your home and walk you through the whole process of breastfeeding, helping you iron out any issues you might be having.
Get the Right Latch
When it comes to breastfeeding, getting the right latch is a key part of the process. Before you leave the hospital and return home, it's a good idea for you to ask a lactation consultant to check your latch technique.
Allowing your baby to get a good latch with your breast is a fundamental part of breastfeeding. Without getting this technique down, you'll struggle with breastfeeding.
To create the perfect latch, you should do the following. First, make sure your child's nose is almost touching your breast; this is the optimal position.
Then, make sure your baby's lips are positioned outwards in a sort of kissy face. Finally, you should position your child's mouth over your nipple, covering around a half inch of your lower breast.
If you create the latch correctly, you shouldn't experience a stabbing pain; this isn't normal. If you feel such pain, use your finger to break the suction and try to create a latch again.
Don't Feel Pressured
As a new mom, it's easy to feel pressured to do it all. When you experience setbacks, it's easy to feel like you're a failure, especially when your hormones are all over the place.
Accept that moms throughout history have struggled with breastfeeding. You're not the first and you won't be the last. Before you know it, your child will be grown up, so take the time to appreciate these moments while they last.
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Don't be afraid to accept help from your friends or family.
For example, if you have older kids, don't feel like you have to look after all of your children all of the time. If friends or relatives offer to help you out by taking them out for the afternoon, you should accept. You don't need to do it all on your own.
Expect a Challenge
Don't make the mistake of thinking breastfeeding is something that should come as naturally to you as breathing. This is very much a skill just like learning to play the piano or tying your shoes.
Sure, there are always going to be people who have a natural affinity for it, but chances are, you'll need to put the work in. Things that are worthwhile in life are often challenging — and these are the things that bring us the most happiness in the long term.
It only takes a short amount of time to learn how to breastfeed your baby. You might experience pain in your breasts and frustration at the learning curve, but this won't last long. Eventually, you'll be left only with the pride of doing the right thing for your child.
Steer Clear of Nipple Confusion
Your baby might enjoy “artificial nipple” objects, such as bottles and pacifiers, but these can make things more complicated when you're trying to breastfeed.
For the best chances of success, your own nipples should be the only nipple-like objects in your child's life. This only needs to last until you have the proper breastfeeding techniques down.
Once your child is used to your nipples, consider giving them toys, such as pacifiers. It might be a funny thing to do, but for these kinds of toys and bottles, your baby will probably prefer ones that bear the most resemblance to your breasts and nipples.
When you're trying to breastfeed your child, it's important that you're comfortable. Find a place where you can sit comfortably and easily get into position.
Breastfeeding can take a great deal of time, so it pays to have things set up for you to do in advance. Maybe you could have a good book to read or watch some of your favorite movies on a streaming service such as Netflix. If you're not a subscriber to these kinds of services, it might be a good time to start.
If you have other children you need to look after as well, you might consider setting up something for them to do within your sight.
Ideally, you should set them up with something quiet, as anything too loud could disturb your baby, causing them not to feed properly. Of course, this is easier said than done. Don't be afraid to ask for help with your other children when you're first starting to breastfeed.
Get Everything Ready
You should also try and make sure you have anything you might need next to you. This includes things like snacks, your phone, and breast pads.
There's nothing worse than finally getting your child to feed and then being forced to get up. Consider setting up a little table with all the things you're going to need. When you're able to sit comfortably, it's a lot easier to relax and not get frustrated.
Make Sure You Eat
You needed to eat more during your pregnancy to help the baby grow; you also need to eat during breastfeeding to help you produce enough milk. It's recommended that you consume around 500 additional calories a day during this period.
When you're dealing with a newborn baby, it's difficult to find the time to sit down and eat. It's worth keeping a selection of snacks next to you at your nursing spot. This can help you to get the right amount of calories throughout the day.
Consider buying lactation bars specifically formulated for breastfeeding mothers.
Find the Right Position
Finding a comfortable position to breastfeed is vital if you want to breastfeed successfully. The last thing you want to do is cause an injury to yourself when you're busy raising your child.
If you're always leaning over while you're breastfeeding, you're going to end up with back pain. Once you have this kind of injury, breastfeeding becomes a lot more of a challenge.
You're probably familiar with positions such as the cross-cradle position and football holds, but these might not be the optimal way for you to get started. Don't worry if you can't do these positions right away. Instead, you should do whatever is comfortable for you.
You might want to consider laying on your side; this can be a great position because it allows you to get some rest while simultaneously breastfeeding. If you're having trouble getting into the right position, you might want to try using some pillows to help you.
Get the Right Clothing
Having the right clothing can make a big difference. Many new mothers buy countless toys, clothes, and gadgets for their children, but they forget to shop for themselves. Make sure you buy some comfortable nursing bras and a good nursing top.
Use These Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Getting into breastfeeding can be a stressful experience, but it's ultimately rewarding. While you might experience pain and frustration in the short term, you can take pride in your accomplishments in the long term.
If you do feel frustrated while trying to breastfeed, remember that these kinds of moments with your child won’t last forever. Try to savor these moments when you can and keep these breastfeeding tips for new moms in mind. It'll help you and your baby bond better.