Breastfeeding is one of the biggest thrills that motherhood ushers new mothers into. Some new mothers adapt to it immediately, while others take some time to.
Not getting familiar with breastfeeding immediately is not bad like many people make it out to be. Also, it doesn’t mean that you do not love your child. It simply means that you find it difficult to get used to such massive change.
But not to worry, we have your interest at heart. We have curated some breastfeeding tips for first time mothers in this article. We hope you find them helpful. Read on!
What If I Don’t Produce Enough Milk For My Baby?
Before we go on to explore breastfeeding tips for first-time mothers, we’d first answer this one question that seems to tug at the heart of new mothers. We understand that you want the very best for your baby in terms of nourishment, care, and every other thing.
At some point in your motherhood journey, even before the baby is born, you might worry about milk production. Will my breasts produce enough milk for my baby? How do I increase my milk supply?
You do not have to worry about this at all. It would interest you to know that the more your baby sucks your breasts, the greater the amount of breast milk you would produce. Why is this so?
Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Mothers
Being a first-time mother is very interesting and worrisome a lot of times. But, we have decided to lessen your worries to the barest minimum in respect to breastfeeding tips that can help you and your baby. Below are some breastfeeding tips for new mothers.
1. Listen To Your Baby
I know this made you curious. You know, how could you possibly listen to a tender baby that is yet to speak nor converse in ways that could be easily understood?
Even at this, you could still listen to your baby. Lots of new mothers fall into the mistake of over-feeding their babies because of the fear of the baby being starved. Since babies do not talk, they have ways of letting their mothers know when they are full.
When your baby stops sucking, let it be. You don’t have to cajole the baby into it again. Observe your baby and take note of when it loses interest in feeding, cries because of a particular thing, throws tantrums, and behaves strangely.
Sometimes, your baby isn’t just acting up. It could be reacting to a particular situation. When you listen, figuring out those situations would be very easy for you.
2. Eat Well
This is one of the greatest breastfeeding tips for new mothers. As a lactating mother, you have to pay attention to what you eat. Not just for your sake, but also for the sake of your baby who eats everything you eat indirectly through breast milk.
When you eat well, your baby eats well. Embrace whole grains, vitamins, protein, fiber, and other nourishing foods.
Also, desist from alcohol consumption, smoking, and other unhealthy practices that can pose a danger to your health and that of your baby.
3. Allow Your Baby Determine How Often and How Long To Feed
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what your baby needs since they’re not yet mature to talk. In this case, you should allow your baby to determine how often to nurse. Don’t set a timeline or schedule between feedings and then deprive your baby of food just you feel they’ve had enough.
Importantly also, you don’t need to wake your sleeping baby to feed them just because three hours have passed. Allow the baby to sleep peacefully and feed them when they’re awake.
Similarly, you should also do the same when nursing them, it’s healthy you allow your baby to determine how long to feed and not you calling the shots.
Babies know how much they need better than us so you don’t have to worry if nursing time only lasts ten minutes, or if it stretches on for forty-five minutes. Some babies are fast eaters, while some babies are not in a hurry, they like to prefer taking their time.
4. Wear Good Bras
A lot of new mothers become afraid when they notice their breasts leak breast milk through their blouses. Leaks are one of those things that many mothers don’t expect.
Well, leaks are very normal. Don’t be afraid at all. But leaks could put you in embarrassing situations sometimes.
That’s why we advise you to pay great attention to your bras. Always go for nursing bras. You’d find lots of designs made especially for new mothers.
Go for the padded and comfy ones that can absorb the leaks with ease. The leaks stop with time, you won’t have to deal with them for a very long time.
5. Get Comfortable During Nursing Time
As a nursing mom, you spend a lot of time holding your baby to your breast. During this period, if sit or stay in an unsupported sitting position, the job becomes uncomfortable.
And doing this for a prolonged period can result in significant neck, back, and shoulder pain. And also, the constant squirming and moving on your part as a result of the discomfort can distort your baby’s breastfeeding rhythm and result in irritability and increased hunger.
This is why we recommend sitting in a comfortable position like these two mentioned below throughout the process.
- Lie on your side while the baby is facing you.
- Stay yourself in a reclined position with your baby is lying in your arms.
Making use of the bed or a large couch with lots of pillows to support your back and arms make these positions the best for breastfeeding.
You need to figure out what position suits you more and don’t be afraid to mix it up occasionally depending on your own needs. The more cautious you are about how you feel, the more fun and pleasant nursing sessions will be for both you and your baby.
6. Discover Your Baby’s Favorite Position
The position you take when breastfeeding your baby matters a great deal. This is because it could either cause your great discomfort or stop your baby from feeding as it should.
Most lactating mothers suckle their babies in a reclining position. It is one of the most comfortable positions ever. Also, there is reclining furniture designed just for breastfeeding.
We all know that all babies are different. Your baby may not find the reclining position all that good. If this is the case, take your time and discover your baby’s favorite position where you both can enjoy maximum comfort.
Here are a few important guidelines that you can use to find a position that works for both you and your baby.
- Baby should be placed in a position that their mouth is level with your nipple.
- The baby should not have to turn his head much, if at all.
- The baby’s head should be slightly tilted backward.
- Baby should latch onto the whole areola and not just your nipple if possible.
- The baby’s chin should be right up against your breast so that his nose is clear.
Remember, you don’t have to force these positions. Your baby may feel comfortable in a slightly different position. Just allow it to happen naturally while making sure he is comfortable and can breathe while you nurse.
7. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is a necessity for breastfeeding mothers. Drink lots of water, not only does it purify your body and helps you maintain a good body size. It also helps with breast milk production. Water is one great liquid. It is much more powerful than people know.
8. Take Care of Your Skin
The skin of your breasts is quite sensitive. Nursing regularly can make your skin dry, cracked, chapped, and even irritated. This can make breastfeeding sessions uncomfortable and painful at the same time. Fortunately, you can protect your skin from getting cracked, chapped, and irritated by taking a few precautions.
- Avoid washing too much. Having one or two showers a day with a gentle cleanser is too much.
- After nursing, pat your breasts dry with a clean soft cloth.
- To avoid irritation from clothing, allow your breasts to air dry completely.
- After nursing the baby, apply a healing product such as Mustela’s Soothing Moisturizing Balm or Bust Firming Serum.
- To ease discomfort and moisturize sensitive nipples in-between feeds, use Mustela’s Nursing Comfort Balm.
Taking care of your delicate skin with a good healing product is a good way to keep the breastfeeding process enjoyable for both you and your baby. As you feel comfortable, your baby will be comfortable too and you can use this period to deepen the already strong bond you feel for your little one.
9. Avoid Pacifiers
No, we’re not asking you to ditch pacifiers completely. We’re asking you to avoid them at the early stages of your baby’s life. Pacifiers tend to make babies feel faux satisfaction when they suckle on them. This hinders your baby from eating as it should.
10. Take Your Hygiene Seriously
Babies respond to almost everything. You know, they’re just getting used to their environment and everything in it. Take your baths twice daily at least. Also, change your bras often, especially after leaks.
When you wear a soaked bra for too long, it could lead to germ accumulation. When your baby sucks your breast in that situation, a serious illness could occur.
11. Avoid Engorgement
This is the painful swelling and hardening of the breasts which usually occurs when the body produces more milk than your baby consumes. This usually happens when your milk first comes in right after your baby is born.
As the swelling continues it makes it more difficult for your baby to feed, which only increases the chances of engorgement. One of the most effective ways to avoid this painful experience is to nurse your baby as often as possible.
Additionally, if engorgement continues, try hand-expressing your breast milk by gently massaging the areola between your fingers. You can also decide to express milk while under a warm shower to help your milk flow more easily.
If this trick doesn’t work, try using a breast pump until your breasts soften and you feel comfortable again.
12. Look Out For Signs That Indicates Breastfeeding Is Going Well
The baby’s overall behavior and health should tell you if breastfeeding is going well or not. Don’t be worried if you don’t see these signs often. Just one of them is enough indication that your baby is well-fed.
- While nursing, your baby should suck with all eagerness and should swallow regularly. Remember, when the baby starts to feed, they tend to swallow each time they suck. As your milk decreases, they get filled up, or fall asleep, and swallowing decreases. Don’t be worried because it is perfectly natural.
- Towards the end of each nursing session, your baby should release your breast and appear drowsy. During this period, the baby’s skin will be a healthy pink and their muscles will be relaxed.
- Usually, baby diapers should be very wet while nursing. They will likely poop four to eight times each day during their first few weeks of life. This is as a result of colostrums consumption. As the baby grows he or she will have fewer and fewer bowel movements. There might even be a time when the baby will only have one bowel movement or less each day. As long as those poops remain soft and the diapers are wet with urine, you don’t need to be worried about constipation.
- Are you worried if your baby is gaining weight as he should? Well, you don’t need to stress your mind with that because that could cause you anxiety. If your little one is healthy, the monthly weigh-in by the doctor is more than enough. Alternatively, to keep your mind at ease, you can weigh your baby once every week at home.
13. Ask For Help
Reading and enrolling in classes about breastfeeding is one thing, but breastfeeding on your own is another story. So seek help within those first few hours after the delivery when you’ll want to start breastfeeding your baby.
At the hospital, a nurse or midwife will check on you and your baby while you’re breastfeeding. She might even offer you some help or advice to help you cope. But if you’re still finding it difficult, a lactation consultant can help you out…but you have to tell them your mind otherwise, they won’t know your needs.
While at the hospital, the lactation consultant can come in to check on you to see how your baby is latching on. She may offer advice or guidance on how you should position your baby or your body.
This is one of the jobs lactation consultants are trained to do, so they’ll be very happy to help and guide you in your breastfeeding journey. Even when you’re out of the hospital, do not hesitate to call your hospital and ask to speak to the lactation consultant about any challenge you may have.
14. Quit Worrying
First-time moms are often plagued by a lot of worries, such as worrying about how to feed the child right, and worrying whether they’re providing enough nutrients for their baby. Breastfeed your baby just right and quit the worries. Your baby would do great!
Read Also: 11 Helpful Tips For Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Mothers: What You’ll Need
1. Nursing Pillow
This is one important item that’ll help relieve stress on your back, neck, and shoulders. Unlike other pillows, a nursing pillow wraps around your body and helps position your body for proper nursing.
2. Sore-Nipple Soother
Certain creams like the Lanolin-based creams made from sheep are very effective in relieving sore nipples. However, some experts recommend using organic coconut oil or Motherlove nipple cream, which are not made from animal products.
It is important to note that either of these creams can occasionally cause an allergic reaction to mom’s sensitive skin.
They’re also safe for baby use. Water-based hydrogels aids in the healing process, but keep in mind that your nipples won’t heal unless you first rectify any underlying latch problems.
3. Tracking System
As a first-time mom, it is recommended you download Baby Breastfeeding Tracker (free, iTunes). This app helps you record feedings and diaper changes and track doctor’s visits during those foggy first weeks.
4. Professional Access
As a first-time mom, it is recommended you have the phone number of someone you can call for any assistance (a local lactation consultant or a La Leche League leader) programmed into your mobile phone.
5. Double Electric Pump
As a first-time mom, who is looking forward to resuming work, look for a pump with graduated suction-level settings (rather than just low, medium, and high) and all kinds of sizes of flanges (breast shields) available.
Read Also: When To Start Drinking Mothers Milk Tea
How To Fix Common Breastfeeding Problems
- For Damaged nipples: This problem can be healed by making use of water-based hydrogel pads or applying enough purified lanolin to keep nipples wet between feeds.
- Resolve tongue-tie: If you’re experiencing some discomfort even when your latch looks great, seek the help of a lactation consultant to whether your baby may have tongue-tie. A doctor can treat the problem.
- Prevent blocked ducts: Keep away from anything that’ll add pressure on part of your breasts. This includes baby carriers, diaper-bag straps, or even sleeping in a particular position every night.
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Being a first-time mother is one of the most overwhelming things ever! Breastfeeding makes it even more overwhelming.
We hope this article has given in-depth discussion to answer the question of breastfeeding tips for first time mothers along with other breastfeeding tips to keep in mind. Yes! Motherhood is a dream for every woman, it is fun and we hope you enjoy all the moments!