Everything You Need to Know to Master Breastfeeding.
So you've made the decision to breastfeed? Breastfeeding comes so many awesome benefits! If you’ve never breastfed before, you might think it’ll come naturally to you and your newborn. Baby is hungry, you offer up your nipple, baby latches on and sucks sweetly until he’s full. Easy, right? But what’s natural isn’t necessarily always intuitive (at least at first)—for either mom or baby. Nursing your baby isn't always an easy feat.
Luckily we talked to breastfeeding experts and moms who’ve experienced nursing challenges and rounded up the 5 best breastfeeding tips to help set you and baby up for success.
1. Get the Right Latch
This is KEY. If we don’t have the right latch, we end up with really sore and perhaps damaged and cracked nipples. There’s a TON of great resources online that will literally show you what the right latch looks like, but in a nutshell, it’s about getting the lower part of the breast and areola into baby’s mouth so that the nipple hits their high palette, which stimulates sucking.
2. Experiment With Different Breastfeeding Positions
One of the most important of the breastfeeding tips is to get the right latch, as we said in #1. As part of this, experimenting with different breastfeeding positions is key. In my opinion there is no position that is better than another. It's all about what works for you and baby. Here are a few different ones to try if what your doing now doesn't seem to be working well.
3. Get Breastfeeding Help Early
Habits form fast, so it’s VITAL to get the latch right at the beginning. (Don’t despair if you didn’t, as babies are adaptable.) Lots of moms can struggle with too fast of a let down, overproduction of milk or engorgement! These problems can be resolved easier when you address them right away. Getting help will benefit you and your baby immensely if you start off on the right foot and can avoid problems like clogged milk ducts which are no fun!
4. Count dirty diapers
The question moms most frequently ask: How do I know Baby is getting enough to eat? The number of wet diapers baby produces can be an easy sign she’s getting enough milk. “If mom is five days postpartum and has a full milk supply, she should be seeing a minimum of four to five urine- and stool-covered diapers a day,” Hawkins says. You can also bet baby is getting breast milk if your breasts become softer after nursing, you hear little swallowing sounds and baby looks satisfied.
5. Let your baby set the pace
For the first few weeks, most newborns breast-feed every two to three hours round-the-clock. Watch for early signs of hunger, such as stirring, restlessness, sucking motions and lip movements. Let your baby nurse from the first breast thoroughly, until your breast feels soft — typically about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep in mind, however, that there is no set time. Then try burping the baby. After that, offer the second breast. If your baby's still hungry, he or she will latch on. If not, simply start the next breast-feeding session with the second breast. If your baby consistently nurses on only one breast at a feeding during the first few weeks, pump the other breast to relieve pressure and protect your milk supply.