10 Tips for First-Time Breastfeeding Mamas
To breast feed or to bottle feed, there’s a lot of back and forth even shaming sometimes for mamas who do either. I say, give the breast a first go, if you make a lot of effort to breast feed and it’s just not working out then go to the bottle. But before resorting to the bottle here are 10 tips:
- Lactation Consult - Most hospitals offer a lactation consultant to help you get going. Use them up as much as possible, ask for all the help you can get so that by the time you’re home you’re in the swing of things.
- Your breast will hurt, 2 – 3 days after giving birth your breast will become larger and heavier. This is engorgement, it last anywhere from 24 – 48 hours. There are two ways to deal with engorgement use a warm wash cloth on your breast to soothe or a warm bath. Your breast and areola (the darker area around the nipple) will remain soft and elastic, milk flow will be normal and latching won't be affected.
- Understand the breastfeeding law of supply and demand, breastfeeding operates as a supply and demand system. The more demand on the system through breastfeeding your baby, the more milk the body makes. Occasionally, nature’s system is imperfect, sometimes the body will take a day or two to catch up to your baby’s increased breastfeeding demand. Some mothers can make that extra milk, others can’t. If you can't, don't sweat over it, give it time or use the bottle as backup.
- Stock up on nipple cream – your breast will feel sore and you may cringe with every latch so make sure you have nipple creams on hand. You can keep a few around different places in your house.
- Say no to the pacifier for as long as you can. You want your baby to latch on properly and nurse comfortably before you introduce the pacifier.
- Latching – getting your baby to latch takes a few tries and practice. Once latched they will feed easily. Feeding your baby shouldn't hurt beyond the initial tingling and stinging feeling that you may get with the letdown of your milk. If you’re in pain it means your baby isn’t on properly. To ease the discomfort, insert your finger between your baby’s mouth and your breast to break the latch and then try again. All else fails talk with your lactation consultant.
- Breast Pumps are all the rave these days, there are so many on the market. I recommend trying a used pump before you commit to a new one. A new pump sells for over $250, medela is one of my favorite because you can buy the used pump and the accessories separate. Most baby stores or online stores like Amazon or Diapers.com sell the accessories.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You need to make sure that you are fully hydrated when breastfeeding, stay away from juices and sugary drinks. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration.
- Nutrition while breastfeeding is important, your body will require a little more, around 400 – 500 calories a day to maintain your energy. Choose foods that are rich in nutrients like whole grains, protein rich foods such as lean meat, dairy, beans and seafood that is low in mercury.
- Breastfeeding in public - our society frowns upon women who breast feed in public. If you choose to breast feed in public, I say YAY Mommy. Just make sure you have your breastfeeding scarf, find a comfortable spot for you and your baby. There’s been tons of talk lately regarding Alyssa Milano – the actress who posted a breastfeeding pic with her 16 months old. She then appeared on Wendy Williams and was asked about breastfeeding. Alyssa said it best ‘women we are the most perfect machines ever made’. Watch it here
Are you a new mama, what tips can you share for other new and expecting mamas?
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