Breastfeeding 101: Be Successful With These Real Deal Tips
Breastfeeding is definitely not one of the easiest tasks of being a mother. It can be painful, complicated, irritating and frustrating – all at the same time. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon learn that it’s the most rewarding feeling to gaze into your little ones eyes as you nurture her or him with only the best, just as nature intended.
The first few weeks of breastfeeding are most likely to be the hardest, especially for first-time mothers. We don’t really know what to expect, so we often get discouraged or frustrated as we get to know the tough side of it. I remember having sore nipples and late nights where my daughter just wouldn’t latch on properly. Luckily, we both quickly learned how breastfeeding works. Yes, both of us. Babies have to learn too. We often forget that, but it’s just as new for babies as it is for moms, it can be challenging.
So here are some breastfeeding 101 tips.
First, it’s best to start breastfeeding within the first hour after giving birth. The best way to do so is with skin to skin contact, you’ll love it, it’s such an amazing feeling. That way you trigger milk production and start training the baby and yourself for successful breastfeeding. While in the hospital, take advantage of lactation consultants and lactation classes. Those are very informative. You’ll learn the different breastfeeding positions, what proper latch needs to look like and much more.
It’s important to keep your cool and don’t stress if baby doesn’t latch perfectly from the jump. Do not give up. Get in a comfortable position, prep yourself with a pillow if needed, then tickle baby’s upper lip with your nipple until she opens up her mouth wide, ready to latch on. If she doesn’t, you might want to switch from cradle hold to football hold, for example, and then just try again in another few minutes. Always remember that you’re both learning.
In the first few weeks of breastfeeding you will most likely become engorged (hardening of breast caused by fullness), which can be very uncomfortable, so it’s important to feed, but also pump and store as much as possible. Sore nipples are another “side effect” of breastfeeding. HonestCo. has an amazing nipple balm that’s plant-based. Another product I swear by is Lansinoh’s cooling pads. Those two will have your breasts feeling better in no time.
In order to keep your milk production up you need to pump daily, it’s best to pump twice a day. Breastfeed your baby on demand (don’t watch the clock, just go with your instinct and with baby’s needs) and drink plenty of water. I’m using the Evenflo Deluxe Double Electric Breast Pump. Of all the pumps that I’ve tried, this is undeniably the best. To avoid nipple confusion, don’t bottle feed your baby in the first four weeks or until breastfeeding is established; the same goes for pacifiers. Another reason why pumping is great for mom is because stored milk will allow you to treat yourself to a moms night out. If you’re drinking alcohol, Upspring baby sells breast milk alcohol detector strips that analyzes the alcohol content of your milk and tells you whether its safe to feed baby or not.
Some women like to add galactagogues for lactation support. Every woman has their preference, but I’m mostly a fan of the Mother’s Milk Tea and UpSpring Milkflow Drink. They’ve both worked the best for me. I could instantly see an increase in milk production when pumping. I love those two.
Once you’re ready to go back to work make sure you continue to pump in your breaks. Your employer is obligated to provide you with enough break time, as well as a sanitize room for pumping. When you’re done, store your milk in the fridge or freezer in order to keep it fresh for baby.
Breastfeeding is such a complex topic. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer ASAP.