There are many misconceptions when it comes to breastfeeding. Probably the biggest one of all is that you and your baby will simply know how to do everything from the get-go. However, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy, and can feel rather stressful at times. In fact, there are a lot of different factors that come into play in order to ensure successful breastfeeding.
That said, breast milk is the best food any newborn can possibly get, so it is definitely worth the effort. If you’re a new mom planning on breastfeeding, here are five valuable tips to help you nurse like a pro.
Learn how to latch your baby on properly
There’s no doubt that breastfeeding offers some amazing health benefits. Other than helping moms keep fit after childbirth, breastfeeding also strengthens the baby’s immunity and protects them from various illnesses. To ensure successful breastfeeding, you want to make sure that your baby latches on properly.
So, what exactly does a good latch look like? For starters, it is comfortable, and there is no pain involved. You can easily see your baby swallow the milk as well as hear it. Furthermore, your baby’s mouth is on the areola, rather than on the nipple alone. It may take some trial and error until you get it right. Arm yourself with patience, especially in those first days post-birth as they tend to be the most challenging.
Learn your little one’s early hunger cues
Other than learning how to properly position yourself and your baby to ensure they get maximum milk and ensure all the benefits that come with it, you’ll also need to keep your eyes peeled with early hunger cues. Typically, a baby that’s wanting to feed will show signs such as licking their lips and rooting. They may also put their hands to their mouth as an early hunger cue.
If you’re looking for help in the nursing department, don’t be afraid to ask for breastfeeding tips when consulting with a reputable breastfeeding coach. They can provide valuable information regarding not only baby hunger cues, but also offer other practical tips. This can include everything from potty training to weaning to sleep training your little bundle of joy.
Ensure skin-to-skin contact
Holding your baby in your arms right after birth is what many new moms describe as the best feeling in the world. But it’s not just that. Ensuring skin-to-skin contact can also help a mother’s milk supply and soothe a crying newborn.
Sometimes, certain birth interventions may interfere with nursing and make it impossible to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth. This is especially true in cases of assisted birth or when a mother has a C-section to help deliver the baby. If possible, ensure skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible – this will help start your breastfeeding journey on the right foot.
Make sure your baby is getting enough milk
Whether their baby is getting enough milk is a question that has crossed many breastfeeding moms’ minds at least once. A good indicator of your baby getting the amount of milk they need is your baby’s weight gain. Keep in mind that most babies lose some of their birth weight in the days following birth. Don’t worry – your little one will gain that weight back in the following weeks.
Another way to make sure your baby’s getting enough milk is to pay attention to the number of wet diapers. Generally speaking, a well-fed baby should poop a lot, and they should be making around 6 wet diapers in a 24-hour period around day 6.
Take good care of yourself
This one may be unexpected, but it really makes sense when you think about it. Your baby needs you now more than ever, and you need to be at your absolute best right now. If you’re taking good care of yourself, you’ll also be able to perform at an optimal level.
In those early few days, friends and family may offer to tackle household chores for you. This is often the kind of help new moms and dads need most after birth. Therefore, feel free to accept the helping hand. Also, do your best to rest a lot, eat nourishing food, and engage in light physical activities such as walking. That way, you’ll be in a good mood and you’ll feel rested and calm.
Breastfeeding is a challenging but incredibly rewarding journey
Once mastered, breastfeeding becomes a new mom’s as well as the baby’s second nature. Although the road to successful breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as it may seem, learning how to do it properly can be incredibly rewarding. Stick with the tips above to overcome some of the most common breastfeeding hurdles, and you’ll be nursing like a pro in no time.