Although babies instinctively feed on a mother, it takes more than a breast and a baby. A successful breastfeeding session asks for the proper breastfeeding latch, right pumping techniques, milk supply, etc. Nevertheless, with time and many of these breastfeeding tips, you will get through this breastfeeding period smoothly.
It’s not unreal to fall for one or many of these breastfeeding hurdles when you initially start to breastfeed. Evidently, we get scared of all the pre-breastfeeding talk random people throw at us. Although they care about us, it’s better not to devour into breastfeeding myth. This is one of the biggest breastfeeding tips!
Trust me, your breast size isn’t the measurement for your breast milk supply or production. To conclude, the very first breastfeeding tips are actually to let go of all the fear you construct & let go of the worries. You & your baby are going to be fine.
Irrespective of all the hardship breastfeeding comes with, it’s one of the most natural ways to forever bond with your baby. Embrace it with love and not fear.
1. Breastfeeding Tips For Newborns
You can skip this part if you are already into your postpartum. Pregnancy can be a great time to organize yourself up for the big day and what comes afterward. You can stock your house with postpartum essentials, breastfeeding essentials, you can always set up the house for your baby, baby proof it and whatnot. It keeps you engaged and is worth your while.
It’s never fun to run to the supermarket after you have the baby. I say the biggest breastfeeding tip is to restock your house with all the Breastfeeding Essentials like breast pumping assets, nursing pillows, breastfeeding clothes you’d be needing once the baby arrives.
1.1. What breastfeeding preparations you can do before the baby arrives?
- Organizing a breastfeeding station: You can set up your own breastfeeding junction either in the nursery or wherever you find it most comfortable and reachable. I suggest organizing two breastfeeding junctions if you have a two-story house.
Set this place up with a comfortable cushion, lounge, and footrest. Help yourself with a blanket that can keep you and your baby warm. Stock up on snacks on a side-stand close to the lounge.
Organize a diaper changing station close to your breastfeeding junction. Keep another stand for your breast pumping assets. To keep yourself entertained, keep books, a tablet, your partner close to you.
- Consult A lactational Specialist: Find a Lactational consultant and visit them. Involve your partner because they are a big part of this journey too and get all the possible knowledge you can get about breastfeeding to exclude all the breastfeeding myths out.
- Stocking up on breastfeeding essentials: Breastfeeding essentials will facilitate your breastfeeding journey. It will include ointment for sore nipples, breast pumps, nursing pillow, nursing clothes, Haakaa Pump, etc. (refer to the link)
Don’t forget to read about the benefits breastfeeding comes with, not just for the baby but for the mother, too. Yes, you’d be surprised to know breastfeeding saves you from breast sagging. Though controversial, breastfeeding with the correct breastfeeding diet does help you lose weight.
- Include Your Breastfeeding plans in your official birth plan: Let the hospital know of your choices. Also, if you have already decided on a natural birth/Induced birth/epidural/C-section, ask your hospital when you’d get to feed your baby and also mention the need for assistance once you start to breastfeed.
2. Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms For The First Week
2.1. In the Hospital:
Remember, the first time that you breastfeed will be in the hospital. Without a doubt, giving birth would be exhausting but like any mother, your first instinct would be to hold, embrace, and feed the baby. Depending on your birth procedure, you will feed your baby sooner or later.
Yes, you can hold & feed your baby immediately after C-section but this case may vary from mother to mother and baby to baby. Babies with post-delivery complications like difficulty in breathing or needing a doctor’s immediate assistance might not start to feed right after the delivery.
Start To Breastfeed ASAP:
That is, nursing pillow, breast pumps, etc(if you don’t want to heavy your hospital bag, these two would be just fine as well)
Ask for assistance, the hospital is a great place to ask away all the nagging questions you have in mind regarding breastfeeding. Your hospital will have nurses, midwives to help you through breastfeeding.
Go with your instinct:
Your body’s first instinct would be to nurse, do it even if you have close to a minimal letdown. There would be times when the midwife you need might not be available or might be late to assist. Don’t wait up for anyone, start to breastfeeding, and approach for a good latch(we’ll discuss further).
Position yourself comfortably on the bed, bring your baby close to you. Nipple to nose and let your baby engulf areolas along with the nipple. Also, look for their foot movement. Usually, babies with firm support for their feet, nurse effectively.
Established milk production usually comes around 2nd to 4th day. You might not have enough letdown the first time you breastfeed at the hospital. But know a few drops of colostrum are just enough for your little baby. Trust me, it was well fed inside of the uterus.
Meanwhile, with or without milk production, you shouldn’t stop trying to breastfeed. Baby nursing on you stimulates your body to produce milk.
2.2. Breastfeeding in your house the first week:
Say ‘NO’ to chores:
This might sound obnoxious but don’t pay attention to anything except for your baby in the initial weeks. This first week plays a very vital role in establishing a better latch, milk supply, the bond & trust between you & your baby.
Babies feed every 2-3 hours. To establish the bond and trust, you must make your baby feel secure in your arms, close to your skin. Ask your partner, family, friends to help you out not just with the chores but with breastfeeding, too.
Feed on Demand:
Your milk production depends largely on the stimulation of your baby feeding upon you. Don’t schedule your breastfeeding sessions, don’t feed on a clock, allow your baby to choose the breastfeeding time.
Scheduling breastfeeding in the initial weeks of postpartum will not allow breast milk production to stabilize according to your baby’s demand. Let them lead in this whole breastfeeding voyage.
Don’t forget, babies can never get over-weight because of breast milk. Cases for formula may differ, formula-fed babies are more likely to get obese.
Feeding on demand also allows your baby to trust you completely. It also asks your body to produce milk on your baby’s demand.
Get a Breastfeeding corner:
Mothers spend most of their days feeding the baby. An uncomfortable place & breastfeeding position can bother your peaceful breastfeeding session and lead to severe body pain and might complicate breastfeeding. It’s a very common breastfeeding mistake to avoid your health & comfort once the baby arrives.
Your health is equally important to keep your child healthy and happy. So, embrace and nurture yourself, too. Eat a healthy breastfeeding diet, rest for a while, and embrace the time being.
Hence, it advisable to choose your peaceful spot with all the necessary breastfeeding must-haves equipped.
Breast Pump when dealing with low milk supply
If you are dealing with low milk supply, map out the reason behind it. Most often it’s not our milk production that’s less but the breastfeeding mistakes we make, like introducing bottle or pacifier too early, scheduling breastfeeding, not understanding baby’s cues, etc.
How? When you produce extra milk that your baby doesn’t need & won’t feed on, it can accumulate in your breast causing blocked ducts or heavy painful breasts. To unclog them, you will empty your breasts with a pump again which will stimulate your body to produce more milk.
Mothers hence suggest using Haakaa Pump. Haakaa pump doesn’t empty your complete breast out, instead, it just sucks out only the letdown after a breastfeeding session.
If for medical reasons your milk supply really is low, Power Pump your breasts to confuse your body into stimulating milk. Power pumping is like cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is when your baby takes shorter feeds with little breaks. (Refer to the link for a detailed discussion)
A healthy diet to support breastfeeding
Breastfeeding requires more the amount of calories, say 400-500 per day. If you wish to stay healthy, support breastfeeding, and lose weight altogether, it’s important that you eat healthily with a little termination of unhealthy food.
Some pointers on a healthy diet to support breastfeeding, Stay Hydrated! Your milk is 88% water. Hence, drink water! Breastfeeding diet doesn’t ask you for many efforts. A simple diet with all the nutrients is enough for you to stay healthy, support breastfeeding, and loses weight!
Let the baby lead.
Though our motherly instincts have our back, we can get clueless at times while breastfeeding. While you can go hysteric, your baby knows what to do, when to feed. So allow your baby the space to lead breastfeeding.
If they are uncomfortable with the latch or the position, they will try to readjust or let you know through signs of crying that something is wrong. Follow there lead. Be with them completely to learn from their cues.
Sometimes your baby might doze off leaving the ride unattended, twerk your baby just a little for them to start feeding again. You can gently massage your baby up. Other means are tickling, whispering, wiping their body with wet wipes or clothes.
Keep Calm & Soothe in.
It can get hard to keep oneself calm once the chaos begins! But you can always find comfort in your baby. Snuggle in the little space you and your baby share. Avoid any kind of extra loads that can bother you or use up your energy.
3. Breastfeeding Latching Tips
With the side-sleeping position, bring your baby close to you, stomach touching stomach so that your baby doesn’t have to take turns to reach up to your breasts. Support their head and body with your arm bring them close to your nipple.
Nipple To Nose:
Position your baby’s mouth on your nose and not the nipple. This will allow your baby to lift up their head & meet your nipple, freeing the passage for a better flow.
Don’t force your baby:
Approach the baby with your breast instead of pushing the baby on your breasts. Position yourself close to the baby. Forcing their head or body into the nipple will trigger them to back down. While initiating a good latch, try to get your areolas in the baby’s mouth with your nipple, it will help your baby latch better and won’t constrict the nipple.
Lift Baby’s upper body With Cradle position.
While breastfeeding in a cradle position, lift your baby’s upper body to give easy passage for the milk flow. Use a nursing pillow while cradling the baby and support their upper body with your knee to keep them stabilized.
Don’t forget, an uncomfortable position will never allow you to latch properly. So prior to breastfeeding, get comfortable first. If you are going to feed with a side-sleeping position, support your back, neck, and body with pillows. Give the same support of pillows to your baby as well.
When cradling, sit cross-legged to provide your baby with better support. Hanging legs can get uncomfortable and numb over time without providing enough space for the baby to get comfortable.
4. Breastfeeding Tips For Producing More Milk
Mothers worry a lot about their milk supply and if their baby’s feeding enough or not. Most of the time, these worries are just our imaginary blunders. Nevertheless, it can be tough to determine whether or not you have a low milk supply.
Dirty diapers & a healthy weight gain are some good signs of a stabilized milk supply.
DO it right and clear out the Breastfeeding mistakes.
When you are uncertain of your milk supply or have a low milk supply try to change your breastfeeding positions, approach a better latch that we vividly discussed above. Most of the time, it’s the unintentional breastfeeding mistakes that are to be blamed for your milk supply.
How To Do It Right?
- Start to breastfeed as soon as possible(If you still have the time) If not, the right latch and breastfeeding positions will assist you in establishing a good milk flow.
- The proper breastfeeding diet. Despite the unaffected composition of breastmilk, your body must be healthy to support its composition prior to breastfeeding. That is, you should eat healthily while pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-delivery, and otherwise.
- Practice for a proper latch. If you are unable to do so, try changing positions and give it a try again. Follow the manual steps to establish a proper latch mentioned above.
- Try breastfeeding Positions that you are most comfortable in.
- Breastfeed on your baby’s cues and let them lead.
Avoid these breastfeeding mistakes in the initial stages of your breastfeeding journey. But for the starting months, give your whole, undivided attention to your baby, if possible.
It can ruin your milk supply before it actually starts to get stable. Your body produces milk on your baby’s milk demands. Restricting your baby’s cues into a breastfeeding schedule can resist the stimulation in your body.
Pacifiers & Bottles
Introducing Pacifier and bottles a little too early. WHO suggests to exclusively breastfeed for six straight months. Though conditions may differ and may not allow you to breastfeed exclusively. If possible, don’t introduce bottles and pacifiers for the starting few weeks or until your breast milk production has stabilized.
Not following your baby’s hunger cues.
Skipping the breastfeeding session:
There can be emergencies that make you skip a breastfeeding session. Once or twice usually doesn’t harm your milk supply. But constant skipping of breastfeeding sessions may make your body think that there is no need for further milk production and hence your body might stop sending signals for milk production.
No matter how normal you consider breastfeeding pain, it can be an underlying symptom of major breastfeeding issues that may restrict your milk supply. Breast Engorgement(undrained milk) can lead to clogged milk ducts(A condition that blocks milk flow). Chapped nipples can lead to thrush(a test infection) Keyword: Don’t avoid pain!
Too much pumping:
Although pumping gives you promising results on milk production. Too much pumping can lead to oversupply and oversupply can read to engorgement, clogged milk ducts, heavy painful breasts, whatnot. Power pump only when you are preparing milk stashes or are dealing with real low milk supply.
If your breast milk supply still doesn’t level up, consult your lactational specialist and discuss your concerns and questions broadly. Always remember to consult your lactational specialist before trying new breastfeeding supplements. If they give you a green signal, you can try these foods/supplements to increase your milk supply
Some of the natural fruits that result in milk supply increase:
- Fenugreek Seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Palm dates
- papaya, etc.
Although these seeds are also present in medicines/tonics/ tablets, you can always add the natural state. For detailed information about these supplements(natural and medicinal) visit the link mentioned. But make sure you consult your doctor about these breastfeeding tips for supplementing breast milk supply.
5. Tips For Power Pumping
Choose The Right Breast Pump & Flange:
The breast pump comes with a manual that helps you guide through your nipple size. Remember flange doesn’t measure your breast size but your nipple size. Before you buy a breast pump, check for the sizes.
Similarly, there are many types of breast pumps: Manual pumps, suction pumps, electric pumps. While electric pumps can empty your whole breast out, Haakaa pumps & manual pumps only express letdown after a breastfeeding session.
While Haakaa pumps are best to keep yourself away from engorgement, over-supply & clogged milk ducts. The electric pumps help increase milk supply and build up a good milk stash.
Don’t overdo it.
Remember you pump for your baby. Pump whatever amount you need, not more, not less. Too much power pumping can lead to oversupply, engorgement & clogged milk ducts. Best Breastfeeding Tips.
6. Breastfeeding Tips For Breastfeeding Pain
- Don’t avoid pain’ is the first thing you must do after starting to breastfeed. A little discomfort is reasonable at the start but if this pain persists on staying, tend to it or visit your doctor.
- Regularly massage your breasts.
- Take warm showers to get the milk & blood flowing.
- Use nipple cream and ointments to heal chapped nipples.
- Always keep your breasts drained to avoid engorgement & clogged milk ducts.
- Avoid wearing tight bras & clothes.
7. Tips For Inverted Nipples
A woman can breastfeed even with inverted nipples. This experience might differ from mother to mother. To make sure you initiate a proper latch with inverted nipples:
- Remember milk comes from breasts and not the nipples. You can bypass the nipples and areolas through your baby’s mouth & gums for your baby to feed on you.
- A breast pump can also erect your nipples and squeeze the milk out.
- Breast shells are specially designed for mothers who have sore/inverted nipples. This shell has holes that pressure nipples to get erect. You can also use this before breastfeeding or while being pregnant for your nipples to get used to it.
- Nipple shield helps your baby to latch on an inverted nipple. A nipple shield is a thin silicone shield with holes at the tip.
8. Breastfeeding Tricks For Twins
- Nursing pillows also come for twins. Cradle up and feed both of your babies on both the breasts.
- Don’t schedule each of their feedings, it might be a little too difficult to maintain a schedule. Instead, try to breastfeed together and ask for your partner’s assistance.
- Relax and don’t overthink it. If the universe has presented you with two babies, it shall also present you with the will to breastfeed two babies. Haha.
- Support yourself with pillows, blankets. You need double the comfort! Don’t worry about any other thing, everything will go smoothly with time. And breastfeeding twins will get easy with time.
- Consult your doctors if it gets hard for you!
9. Tips For After-Exclusive Breastfeeding Period.
WHO suggests breastfeeding for six months exclusively. That is, no bottle-feed, no formula-feed. Once this exclusive breastfeeding period ends, Studies recommend the slow addition of bottle-feeding breast milk into your schedule and later include solid food into their diet.
- Wait for a year to completely wean off your baby. If done gradually, you can easily wean off your baby in no time. Try to divert their mind off the breasts and tighten their interest into colorful, funny shaped foods!
- If you are a working Mama, breast pumping can be new to you in the office hours. my only advice to you is to consider your baby food before considering other opinions on breast pumping. You are doing great and you shouldn’t shy away!
- Have a talk with your head and let them know of your conditions. Be laid back about it! You deserve it.
- Ask if you can gradually join the work and not immediately. For instance, 3 days a week for starters than easing off to 3 holidays per week or whatever schedule your head would allow. It doesn’t hurt to try.
10. Some Extra Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms
- At any point in your breastfeeding journey if you feel depressed and not right, ask for help. Don’t suffocate yourself with worries of the world. help yourself and ask for assistance.
- Despite your will power and motherhood, you don’t have to be alone in all this. Ask your family, friends, partner to look out for you, to entertain you, to be with you & your baby.
- Even if it seems minor, don’t hold back. Don’t hold back any question that’s strangling you. Invest your time in self-loving and loving your baby. Nothing else. Truth be told, this breastfeeding space is for you & your baby, don’t include stress. Don’t include chores either!
- It’s a tradition to enjoy every journey of your life. Mothers, here in India, breastfeed anytime and everywhere. They will play cards alongside, watch movies with their friends, Playful gambling, etc.
- Try to make breastfeeding fun for yourself and the baby.
- Keep your consultant’s number close to you and contact them whenever you think it’s an emergency!
Let me know if you have more breastfeeding tips to share with our fellow mums in the comment section down below, until then,