Top Five Tips For Breastfeeding Success
The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and that babies continue to breastfeed for one year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.
Here are a few tips to help you get moving in the right direction with your little one:
- Get help before baby arrives. Plan to take a pre-natal breastfeeding class. It’s important to understand the basic science of breastfeeding so you can take confidence in your body doing what it is designed to do and provide for your baby. What are the stages of milk production? How much milk does your baby really need in the first few days of life? What does it mean to properly position your infant and latch? Knowledge and at least thinking about the questions of how to nourish your baby will serve you well before your little one arrives. Don’t wait to get help and reach out if you have small questions or big concerns. Take the time to think about what’s coming so you can trust yourself and feel more in control.
- Plan on spending a lot of time with your little one. I like to tell all new parents to plan on holding their babes approximately 22 hours a day in the very beginning. Breastfeeding and caring for your newborn is a full-time job! Your little one was pretty happy in the womb, and now that he’s out, the next best spot is skin to skin in your arms. It’s super cozy. Skin to skin is not only great for your milk supply (studies show it increases it), it’s also fantastic for baby’s overall health.
- Be comfortable. Since you likely will be spending a major amount of time breastfeeding your little one, you may as well be comfortable. Get a great nursing pillow and a basket where you can keep water, crunchy snacks, magazines and all of the remote controls. Once baby stirs and shows signs of hunger, it is so much easier for you to grab your basket and get your space ready so you can respond to her. Use a good nursing pillow, like the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow, and blankets to create a ‘nest’ for you and your baby. You’re looking to bring her nose up to the level of your nipple. This proper positioning will help to achieve a good latch which helps avoiding pain and nipple damage.
- Trust your instincts. Even though you’re new at this mom thing, you still know your baby best. When you’re hunched over your baby in the middle of the night making sure that she is breathing – know that you’ve got this. Follow your baby’s hunger cues, feed on demand and trust that you’re making the right decisions for you and your new family. You are hardwired for this and you gave birth to the little babe! You know what you are doing.
- Don’t beat yourself up over breastfeeding. While breastfeeding is wonderful and good for your baby, the most important thing is to spend quality time with her. Infants aren’t infants for long. The best advice I can give new mothers is to be in the moment and relish in the connection you are feeling with a brand new human being.