Hello mamas! I’m Melissa from Cloudmom.com, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting today with a topic I know many new moms struggle with at first, myself included. Breastfeeding. It really does take some time to get used to the sensation and figure out what works best for you when it comes to nursing your newborn. But after five kids, I’d like to think I now have some helpful tricks to share with all of the new breastfeeding moms out there. So here they are, my top breastfeeding tips!
1. Perfecting the Latch
Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve just given birth to your beautiful new baby and are nursing for the first time. How can you ensure you’ll get a good latch from the get go? If your baby doesn’t automatically have the rooting reflex (when they’re puckering their lips for food) you’ll first need to brush your nipple along their mouth. Once their mouth is open, bring the top part of their mouth over the top of your nipple. Keeping their mouth as wide and open as possible will also prevent painful fissures! If the baby is not latched on properly, wet your pinky finger in sterile water, break the latch and try again.
2. Finding a Schedule
The best thing you can do when first nursing your baby is to establish a feeding schedule that works for the both of you. Many women use the On-Demand Feeding and feed their baby 8-12 times during a 24-hour period, for 10-45 minutes per feeding. On the other hand, I actually used Scheduled Feeding for 4 out of my 5 children and it worked wonders for me. To see my sample breastfeeding schedule, check out my video here!
3. Take Care of Yourself
It is just as important to find some time to take care of yourself during the breastfeeding process, as exhausted and drained as you are. Many women experience health issues that can be a nuisance or, at the other extreme, a serious condition. Here are some ailments and my recommendations!
-Cracked or bleeding nipples: Over-the-counter lanolin creams can work great for these. Also try feeding your baby when she’s not at her hungriest – she won’t suckle as quickly or as forcefully, saving your nipples! I also benefitted from squeezing a bit of extra breast milk onto my nipple and allowing it to air dry.
-Breast Engorgement: If your breasts have become too large for your baby to latch onto, try releasing some milk using your hands before feeding to ensure a steady flow and softer breast for the baby to nurse comfortably.
-Mastitis: This painful bacterial infection is caused by clogged milk ducts, engorgement, or cracked skin. Having dealt with this in my own nursing days, my advice is to see your doctor for antibiotics, use hot compresses on your breasts, and continue with hands-on pumping to soften the breasts. For more on my experience, watch here!
Stretching your back out, keeping a nutritious diet, and drinking a lot of milk can also work wonders when it comes to overall health during nursing!
4. Learn to Read your Baby
Is your baby distracted while nursing? How do you know if she’s sucking for nutrition or comfort? In these cases, you’ll need to look for the signs to know when your baby is done nursing. This includes distinguishing between the sounds she makes when swallowing the milk or just suckling the nipple like a pacifier. If you suspect the latter, break the suction using a wetted finger, burp her, and bring her back to your breast. In the case that she looks a little disinterested or slides off your breast, you’ll know for sure she’s now full until the next feeding about 2-3 hours later.
5. It’s All about Attitude
At the end of the day, breastfeeding is not only your baby’s main source of nutrition which will help them grow big and strong, it is a special time to share with your little bundle of joy. There are few experiences in life that are as wonderfully precious. The months do fly by and before you know it, your baby will be moving on to solid foods! So my advice is to really live in the moment as much as possible when with your breastfeeding baby. Create a “breastfeeding sanctuary” in your baby’s nursery, including a comfy armchair, breast-pumping tools, a few hospital burp cloths, and some soothing music. Every woman has a different experience with nursing, and there are bound to be little bumps in the road, but with patience and love, you and your newborn will find the position and schedule that works for the two of you!
In the interest of time and page length, these are all very general pieces of advice…I could go on and on about breastfeeding tips! So if you’re looking for more details, check out my breastfeeding page. Best of luck nursing your new bundles of joy, mamas!
Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom, lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for parents on a range of issues including baby, toddler, kids, fashion, travel, and well-being. Follow Melissa’s latest activity on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
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