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June 22, 2015
The decision to breastfeed your child is a decision to begin their life in one of the healthiest ways possible while also providing a bonding experience for mother and child like no other. Here are 10 tips for first-time mothers to help you make sure you enjoy every part of those first few months and learn how to give your child and yourself all the benefits that breastfeeding has to offer.
This doesn’t only apply to feeding times but also other times you spend with your baby. When you’re stressed, the baby’s stressed, and that will make it harder for them to breastfeed. The calmer the environment, the more enjoyable the experience is for Mom and baby.
To keep you and your baby comfortable, keep spaces around your home and a travel bag with everything you need like nursing accessories, breastfeeding pillows as well as music, entertainment, and snacks for travel. Have everything you need so you can settle in to nurse without getting up in the middle of it all. If you have to stand up to change the channel, reach for your book, or grab a handful of pretzels while you’re nursing, you’ll be interrupting your baby’s nursing time and make feeding difficult.
In the first couple weeks of your newborn’s life, establishing milk flow in your breasts is critical. Let your baby feed as long and as often as needed, especially after they first wake up. Babies can’t tell you what they want, and you know when they cry they need something but when you’re breastfeeding, crying means they’re already so hungry they have something to cry about. Your newborn’s sleep schedule may be erratic at first, and that’s okay. Make it a special time between Mom and baby every time they wake up.
One of the most important breastfeeding tips that a lot of new Moms forget is that you should get proper nutrition and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your body is burning up a lot of calories producing milk on a constant basis, so the best way to make sure you’re baby has excellent nutrition is to make sure you have excellent nutrition first.
At this point, it’s important to impress upon all new Moms that this is an experience you should enjoy with your baby. Don’t take for granted the time you get to spend with them while you’re nursing because it’s good for both of you, not just a time where you’re feeding your child.
Part of getting comfortable while you’re nursing is finding a position [interlink to article ‘The Best Breastfeeding positions’] that is comfortable for your baby too. A good breastfeeding pillow can be a magical addition to your feeding experience as it softly and comfortably holds up your baby while you’re feeding them so they are supported, and you are both cozy.
When your baby is first born, one of the first things they should be doing is breastfeeding. Not only is this a good bonding experience but there are also important nutrients in those first drops of milk (called colostrum) that will help them develop a healthy immune system.
There are several breastfeeding products on the market that can help you care for your breasts and keep them feeling good as you feed your baby. Some measure of pain and even cracking or bleeding is okay but too much could be an indication of a bigger problem. If your baby isn’t hungry and your breasts are full, pump out the milk to keep the flow and production going naturally. If you have dry skin, moisturize and use nipple butters to help prevent sore nipples [interlink to article ‘What can I do to prevent sore nipples’] and cracking before it happens.
There is no shame in asking for help from an expert! If you feel like you’re experiencing too much pain or anything is wrong, consult a lactation specialist for professional help specific to your case.
If things don’t seem to be going according to your plans, don’t worry yourself into a frenzy. It can take time for your baby to learn to latch on correctly, or they might not be digesting well at the beginning and these things can be remedied. Your newborn can get used to it, or a specialist can help you both make the adjustments you need so breastfeeding is more enjoyable for Mom and baby.
Let It Happen Naturally
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, and the truth is that it may feel strange at first but it will come naturally for both you and your little one with time and effort. Before you know it, you’ll be picking them up for their 3am feeding, laying baby in the perfect position on your breastfeeding pillow, and sitting together as your baby suckles away like they’ve always known how. The very most important tip that anyone can give a new mom about breastfeeding is that it takes commitment. Don’t give up and remember to enjoy it!