Nursing comes naturally to a happy few new moms for others it requires patience, practice, and perseverance. Taking time to learn all you can about what to expect, tips and techniques is an important part of your success. Understanding why breastfeeding is best for your baby is perhaps the most essential. Here are nine tips to help you survive that first critical month of breastfeeding tips that are more real-life than textbook.
Tip #1 Don't buy bottles.
This will save you a few bucks, but more importantly, it will reinforce the commitment and mindset you need starting this beautiful but often difficult journey. You may need bottles later, if so, buy them then.
Tip #2 Don’t follow a schedule.
Follow your baby’s cues and your instincts. Feeding your baby on demand starting from birth helps establish an adequate milk supply. Interval feeding has been shown to cause slower cognitive development. There may be times, however, that you should wake your baby up to feed. Your pediatrician will advise. Ask your doctor for the best advice in scheduling your feedings.
Tip #3 Eat a diet rich in healthy fat.
Essential fatty acids or EFA's are important to brain development. To ensure the best quality, highest fat breast milk, be sure to empty your breasts often completely. Eat a diet higher in the fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid). Try to stick with high quality, organic, and natural foods.
Foods rich in this include:
- Flax seed
- Sunflower seed
- Salmon, tuna, and mackerel (or fish oil supplements)
- Dark leafy greens
Tip #4 If you are experiencing, sore, injured nipples, use coconut oil.
The all natural oil has healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and any residue will not harm the baby. If soreness persists, it may be best to have a consultation with your local Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Find one near you here ILCA.org . Women who seek help have a greater success rate.
There is plenty of organic virgin coconut oil to be found in your local natural food store or supermarket. If you are in So Cal try Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joe's for example.
Tip #5 Have plenty of comfy Nursing Tanks and Tees.
They are more comfortable than nursing bras and perfect for those first weeks. Nursing tank tops and tees are perfect for Fall too. Just layer them under a cardigan or sweater. Try the Bun Maternity nursing hoodie and nursing poncho for cozy comfort while breastfeeding on demand. Moms still need to be out and about and when your clothing is easy to access nursing, then all the better.
If you are back to working find out how to start pumping at work.
Tip #6 Learn how to hand express your milk.
Expressing by hand is a skill that can be handy to the new mom. It helps when enticing the baby to latch and staying latched. To do so massage the breast between the thumb and forefingers of the hand starting at the base, pressing toward your chest. Once milk begins to flow, move toward the nipple. The force of the milk will be increased as you move slowly toward the nipple. Use hospital resources and lactation consultant services near you to learn more.
Tip #7 Take care of your health.
The most heartbreaking thing for a new breastfeeding mom is to become sick. It is generally acceptable to breastfeed during illness. However, if you are prescribed medication, it can require “pumping and dumping” your precious milk for a time. So, stay in with baby for the first several weeks, avoid crowds, sleep when they sleep and eat healthily.
Tip #8 Design a breastfeeding station.
Think ergonomics and economy of movement. Have as many necessities within reach as possible. This would include an area with a comfortable chair, TV remote, power sources for electronics, a remote controlled fan, supplies, snacks, tissue, waste basket. Choose an area and make it your oasis. Only use it for breastfeeding, though if possible.
Tip #9 Have a support system.
Surround yourself with encouraging people. There are still people who will be negative or share only negative experiences, so it is important to have plenty of others who will talk you down from the ledge when you feel like quitting.
Breastfeeding in the first month can be challenging, frustrating and downright painful. The most important advice is simply, don't give up.
It is important to remember why you are making this selfless choice. Focus on the good you are doing. You are providing essential nutrition, in a way that nothing else on Earth can, by supplying crucial antibodies and protein that nurtures your baby’s growing brain.
Keep going mama! You are doing great!