Everyone knows the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk naturally contaings the right balance of nutrients your newborn needs, is easier to digest, and provides antibodies to boost your little one’s immune system. Yet breastfeeding is not without it’s challenges. New moms can use these great tips to get started off on the right foot.
Immediately Get Help
As many books on breastfeeding as you may have read, doing it for real is totally different. Immediately ask for help the first time you breastfeed, when a maternity nurse or hospital lactation consultant can assist you.
Baby Should Set The Pace
Babies have to be breastfed every two to three hours during the first few weeks – and yes, this means at night, too. Early signs your baby may be getting hungry could include sucking motions or restlessness. You can let your infant nurse the first breast until it feels soft, which usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. There isn’t a set time, however, so that could vary. Try burping baby after, and if they are still hungry, allow them to nurse from the second breast. If they aren’t hungry, you can simply start the next feeding session with the second breast.
Have Baby Share Your Room
It is ideal for babies to sleep in their parent’s room during the first twelve months of their life, or a minimum of six. This not only makes feeding easier, but also decreases the risk of SIDS. They should, however, be sleeping in their own crib or bassinette, as it is unsafe for them to share an adult bed with their parents. The risk of suffocation is very high for infants sharing their parent’s bed.
Don’t Give A Pacifier Right Away
Although some babies are most happy when sucking on something, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you wait until breastfeeding is well established to introduce a pacifier. This is so it doesn’t interfere with a baby’s ability to feed properly. After about three to four weeks, however, a pacifier can help to reduce the risk of SIDS when baby sleeps.
A gentle pulling sensation on your breast means baby has latched on successfully. Breasts will be softer after a good feeding, and baby should steadily gain weight. Six wet diapers a day are the ideal, and an infants stools should be yellow in color, seedy, and loose.
Don’t Forget Your Nipples
Milk can soothe nipples, so letting it dry naturally after a feeding is perfectly fine. Bra pads can help if you leak between feedings, but be sure you change them often. Use a minimal amount of soap when you bathe. You can use purified lanolin to soothe dry or cracked nipples after feedings.
Give It Time
Breastfeeding isn’t easy, but don’t be discouraged. As tiring as it may be to feed a newborn every few hours, it will get easier with time. It will also begin to feel more natural, and your breasts will naturally begin to make more milk so long as you don’t good care of yourself. This means staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and trying to get as much rest as possible. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask a lactation consultant or your pediatrician.