Congratulations on your decision to breastfeed! Breastfeeding between a mother and her newborn is truly one of the most intimate of all human interactions. But just because it’s a natural act doesn’t mean it can’t come with questions, concerns, and maybe even difficulties. Especially if you’re a first time mother, you may be overwhelmed by the thought of around-the-clock nursing, and stressing over whether you’re physically and/or emotionally up to the task.
To help you and your baby get into and maintain a comfortable routine when it’s time to breastfeed, we’ve outlined several quick tips and strategies here that you can follow to help the process go smoothly:
Breastfeeding Tips, Advice and Helpful Information for New Mothers
Education first – Ask your physician or Ob-Gyn for information about your local La Leche (Spanish for “the milk”) League International chapter. La Leche is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping and assisting breastfeeding mothers, and are a great informational and support resource.
Designate a comfortable spot and routine – It can be a favorite loveseat, a comfy recliner, or even the bedroom mattress stacked with pillows. Regardless, you’ll probably be there quite a bit, holding a relatively stationary position and a feeding baby, so stock whatever you think you’ll need close by. A tablet, cell phone, snacks, or a book can help you pass the time while you and your baby develop a feeding routine.
Accessorize – Nursing bras are designed to provide comfort and support for your enlarged breast (due to the enlargement of your milk ducts and the increased blood flow to the areas). Breast pads are a must if you don’t want your blouses and shirts soaked through every time you hear your baby or another crying. Nursing pillows are specially designed to keep you and your baby more comfortable during feeding. Lanolin ointment is good to apply to sore and tender breasts.
Understanding the three stages of milk – Breast milk is produced through three distinct phases, beginning a couple of days before you deliver:
- Colostrum, yellowish and thicker than normal breast milk, will come first. This creamy substance offers a load of vitamins, proteins, probiotics, and minerals, which supports a strong immune system for baby.
- Transitional milk comes next, and lasts about two weeks. This milk is richer in calories and has a denser concentration of macronutrients since your baby’s nutritional needs will have changed slightly.
- Mature milk, the final milk you develop, has a higher water content to ensure proper hydration, and also has a more complete nutritional profile – featuring sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Positioning – Assume a comfortable position where the weight of the baby doesn’t place undue stress on your arms and the baby can easily access the breast. There are many classics positions such as the Cross-Cradle hold, the Cradle hold, and the Football hold. Pay close attention to signs of hunger like smacking of lips, then gently settle into position and begin feeding. Be sure that the baby latches on to the nipple properly, or the feeding could be painful.
Maintain your energy – It takes energy to produce milk, around 500 extra calories a day. The best foods to eat for a quality milk supply are nutrient-dense choices like hard-boiled eggs, whole grain crackers, fresh fruit, nuts, and low-fat yogurt.
There are many, many informational resources available for breastfeeding mothers online, in addition to La Leche and your physician’s office. Breastfeeding is a wonderful opportunity for mother and child to form the beginnings of a lifelong bond, and by educating yourself on the ins and outs, it can be a relaxing, comfortable, and special time that you’ll remember and cherish forever.
For more information on breastfeeding, contact Smile2Baby.com at (855) 797-BABY. Also browse our natural baby product store for the best selection of organic baby products and supplies such as Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter or Aleva Nursing Balm.