Five Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
You've just had your baby, it feels like your body and world have turned upside down, and you're now responsible for the survival of this new human. Any gentle helping hands can diaper, bathe and soothe this new bundle of joy, but it's up to the Mama to provide essential nutrients via breast milk. It's a big responsibility that can be difficult and frustrating to adjust to. Here are five tips that will help you quickly ease into breastfeeding as naturally and comfortably as possible.
1. Keep a schedule.Early on, your baby will sleep most of the day away, but he or she will need to be fed approximately every three hours. As cruel as it may seem to both baby and you to awake him from slumber, it's best to feed him before he gets ravenous. If he is too hungry, he may not latch correctly, or be too upset to settle down and eat comfortably. Write down when he feeds, because your poor brain won't remember, and soon you'll have a routine set. This way you'll know when it's safe for you to leave him in someone else's hands and take that all-important nap or shower.
2. Wear a bracelet or watch.This isn't for fashion, simply for function. When they're very wee, feedings can take much longer than you'd think. Oftentimes they will pass out after one breast and can't be woken up, or they will fill up on only one side. Keep that bracelet or watch on the arm of the corresponding breast so you'll know which one they need to feed on next. Contrary to popular belief, the one not fed on right away won't engorge like a water balloon. It's subtler. Would you rather trust your sleep-deprived memory or the handy rubber band around your wrist?
3. Have a good supply of Lanolin.Your nipples have no way for preparing for the intense suckling they will endure once you start breastfeeding. Their only defense is a liberal slathering of lanolin between feeds. It's safe enough for baby digest, so there's no need to wipe off before the next feed. A small pea-sized amount for each nipple will suffice so one tube will go a long way. That being said, keeping one tube in the bathroom for post-shower application and one by the bedside is smart. Saving yourself those few steps can be smart when you're dead on your feet.
4. Invest in a good chair.You'll be feeding on average every three to four hours for many months. Think of your poor butt and back and make sure where you sit for these feeds is comfortable, supportive, and easy to get up and down from with your arms full of sleeping babe. A rocking chair can be a good option, preferably a stationary one so you won't rock on any pet tails or baby fingers when they're at the crawling stage.
5. Wear practical clothing.Invest in half a dozen nursing bras. There are stylish ones on the market in a variety of colors. Shirts that have stretch to them and button-downs will be the easiest to whip up or open when your baby is peeling the paint with hunger wails. If you're not fussy, wear your maternity shirts for the first few months. Lanolin can stain if you're not careful, so best to not invest in anything fun or fashionable clothing-wise for the first six months anyway. After all your calorie burning breast-feeding, you'll have also dropped a few sizes by then!
If you are mindful of all of the above, your first weeks of breastfeeding should be as smooth as possible. If your baby is having difficulty latching on, there are community and online resources available. If the problem is on your end with milk production, help is available via prescription domperidone, the cheaper version of Motilium.
Available and prescribed in Canada and other countries for years, but not yet approved by the FDA in the US.
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