Tips For Breastfeeding Success
Following the birth of your baby, you may have breathed a sigh of relief thinking the hard part—delivery—was over. For many moms, however, breastfeeding can present yet another hurdle upon entry to motherhood.
Here are some tips to be successful at breastfeeding:
Follow the Baby’s Cues
Your little bundle of joy has many ways to let you know when he is hungry. Don’t wait until the baby is crying to realize he is hungry. There can be many signs leading up to crying, such as turning his or her head from side to side, putting hands in mouth, rooting, mouth opening and closing, or becoming more alert and/or fussy.
Once breastfeeding, follow your baby's lead. Some babies will feed from both breasts, one after the other, each time. Therefore, offer your baby both breasts each time and allow them to decide. Other babies may only feed from one side. As long as he or she is still sucking and swallowing, allow your baby to eat as long as needed.
Keep your baby close to you both during the day and at night. Skin-to-skin contact starts with delivery at Beebe. Whether you deliver vaginally or via C-section, Beebe's care team promotes nearly immediate contact between mother and baby. The majority of mothers delivering at Beebe are able to have this experience, which starts the bond between mother and child.
Skin-to-skin contact continues to be important after you leave the hospital as well and has been shown to help ease crying while allowing both mother and baby to relax and breathe easier.
Many moms like to “wear” their baby in a soft carrier or wrap. Be sure to only wear your baby when you are fully awake and can regularly check on him or her.
When it is time for bed, baby should sleep separately, but nearby. Try putting your baby in a crib or bassinet in your bedroom, so you can more easily breastfeed at night. According to the Office of Women’s Health, research has found that when a baby shares a bedroom with his or her parents, the baby has a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (called SIDS).
Hastings also recommends getting into a pattern of sleeping when the baby sleeps. This will help you recharge and allow you to get the rest you need. Breastfeeding mothers use up more calories and often need more rest!
Limit Visitors for the First Week
Another good suggestion is to tell family and friends to wait a week before visiting. This will give you time to really cement your routine so you know good times to have people visit. It will allow you and your baby to improve your breastfeeding skills, too!
Don’t let well-meaning family members give your baby a pacifier because it can decrease your milk supply or make it harder for the baby to latch. Pacifiers and bottles should be avoided in the first few weeks after birth unless your doctor has told you to use them because of a medical reason. If supplements become medically necessary, attempting to use your expressed milk and consulting an IBCLC Lactation Consultant are important. She can show you ways to give supplements that are supportive of breastfeeding, such as syringe feeding your baby, a tiny tube taped beside your nipple, or a small, flexible cup. Try to give your baby expressed milk first.
Don’t Overthink It
Breastfeeding can be a challenge, but you can do it! Take the time to really pay attention to your baby’s cues and find the breastfeeding position that works best for both of you. Then, tell your family and friends that it is your goal to breastfeed so they know to give you the quiet space you need to truly succeed.
The first two weeks are the most challenging time for new moms. Know that you are not alone. You have resources, including your IBCLC certified lactation consultant, to support you and answer your questions.