This is a guest post by Cindy Leclerc and Jana Stockham, Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. They specialize in all things newborn and can be found at cindyandjana.com and simplybreastfeeding.ca.
Breastfeeding: 6 Tips for Getting the Best Possible Start
Breastfeeding can be a bit challenging at first for both you and your baby. Here are 6 tips to make the learning curve easier.
- It’s never too early to prepare.
If you are still pregnant, there are things you can do now to make breastfeeding easier. Begin learning some of the basics of breastfeeding by reading a book or taking a class. Surround yourself with people who believe in breastfeeding. If you don’t have supportive friends or family, consider joining a local mom-to-mom support group or one of the many Facebook breastfeeding groups.
- Think of the early weeks as the 4th trimester.
Skin to skin snuggling helps your newborn transition from the womb to the outside world. Your baby will be completely dependent upon you. Get as much help with your other responsibilities as possible. Freeing yourself from company and other tasks allows you to focus on breastfeeding and your own recovery from birth.
- Find a comfortable position for breastfeeding.
You will be spending at least 8 to 10 hours a day breastfeeding. You will want to be comfortable! There is no one “right position.” The best position is the one that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Many women love the laid back nursing position. (See photos and a description here.)
- Latch deeply.
“Latch” refers to the position of baby’s mouth on the breast. If your baby latches only on the nipple, it will be painful and your baby won’t be able to get enough milk. You will want your baby to latch deeply, with as much breast tissue in his mouth as possible.
- Breastfeed often and on demand.
The best way to have a great milk supply is to breastfeed often, whenever baby seems hungry. A newborn feeds often; 10, 12, 14 times a day or more is not unusual! For the first two or three days after birth you will have small quantities of thick golden milk, perfect for a newborn’s small stomach size. This milk is invaluable for baby’s health. It is full of germ fighting properties.
About three days after birth, you will begin to make larger quantities of milk. The color changes to a whitish color, resembling skim milk. Continue to feed often. The more often baby feeds, the more milk you will make.
- Get help if you are struggling.
If you encounter breastfeeding problems, don’t wait to ask for help. Most breastfeeding problems can be resolved. Look for someone skilled in helping with breastfeeding such as International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Many areas also have La Leche groups (mom-to-mom support) available for breastfeeding support.
Best wishes on your breastfeeding journey.