Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding Tips

newborn breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard work and can be rather difficult at first, for both Mama and baby.   You are both trying to figure out what is going on and getting on the same page. You need to be comfortable, baby needs to latch.  Make sure that you give yourself both sometime to get a normal rhythm going, it's not always natural as seen on TV.   

Lactation Consultants can be great resources if you struggle to find your rhythm.   While you are in the hospital, one will typically stop by the hospital to assist you or answer any questions.   Your labor and delivery nurse will often to try and help you as well during your first feeding. Use this time to ask questions that you might have.  

Below, I have listed some things that can also help make breastfeeding feel more natural and more comfortable for you and baby.  

 

Anticipate Your Baby’s Desires

Rather than waiting for your baby to cry, you can anticipate their needs by watching for a few tell-tale signs. When your baby is hungry, they may:

  • Turn or raise their head repeatedly.

  • Open and close their mouth.

  • Stick out their tongue.

  • Suck on whatever is near. 

     

How Long To Nurse

Your baby knows how much they need.  Let them determine how often to nurse. Don’t set a predetermined interval between feedings and not feed the because “not enough time” has gone by.  Let your baby determine how long to nurse - they may nurse for 10 minutes or 40 minutes, each baby is different.


Relax

Try your best to relax during these times (easier said than done). Your baby can sense if you’re tense and nervous and they can’t relax if you’re not relaxed.


Get Comfortable

You’re going to be spending a lot of time holding your baby to your breast while they feed. If you do this in an unsupported sitting position, it can get uncomfortable quickly. Additionally, trying to maintain an uncomfortable position for a prolonged period of time can lead to significant back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Constant moving on your part can disrupt your baby’s breastfeeding and result in irritability and increased hunger. That’s why it’s so important for you to be comfortable.  We recommend one of two positions for comfortable breastfeeding:

  • Lie on your side with your baby facing you.

  • Sit in a reclined position with your baby lying in your arms.

Find The Right Position

Baby needs to be comfortable while breastfeeding too.  Try and learn the position they prefer so you can get them into that position faster when it's time to feed.   Some tips for their positioning are:

  • Your baby should be positioned so that their mouth is level with your nipple.

  • They should not have to turn their head much, if at all.

  • Their head should be tilted backward slightly.

  • If possible, they should latch onto the entire areola, not just the nipple.

  • Their chin should be right up against your breast so that their nose is clear.

Don’t force these positions though as your baby may prefer a slightly different position.  Let is happen naturally and make sure that your baby is comfortable and can breathe while they nurse.

 

Stay Hydrated

Last, but certainly not least, stay hydrated. We can’t stress enough how important this tip is for you and your baby. After all, you’re still eating and drinking for two!

 

Leaking Is Natural

During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it’s common for milk to leak from your breasts. This is completely natural and can happen when you hear another baby cry, when your baby hasn’t nursed for several hours, when you think about your baby, or even just have a strong emotional reaction to something.  This leaking will eventually disappear as time goes on, but in the meantime you will want to make sure you have extra pads in your nursing bra.

 

Avoid Engorgement

Engorgement is a painful swelling and hardening of your breasts that occurs when you produce more milk than your baby takes in. It is very common when your milk first comes in right after your baby is born.

The swelling makes it even more difficult for your baby to feed. To help engorgement:

 

 

  • Nurse frequently  (8 times in 24 hours minimum)

  • Apply heat to breast for 5-10 min. before nursing.

  • Apply cold to breasts  after feeding for 15-20 min.

  • Confirm your bra is well fitted and supportive.

  • Avoid underwire bras.

  • Ibuprofen can help with pain and swelling.  Talk to your doctor first before taking though.

  • Cabbage leaves can be helpful. 

    • Wash and core a head of raw green cabbage and place in the refrigerator.

    • Just before using, crush the veins of the leaf with a rolling pin.

    • Place several leaves over your breasts leaving the nipple exposed. Your bra will hold them in place.

    • Leave cabbage leaves in place for at least 20 minutes.

    • Discontinue leaves when engorgement has improved.