Many women experience roadblocks in their breastfeeding journey, but it doesn’t need to be something that you just have to “live with” and it doesn’t have to end your journey either. In this blog, we’ll walk you through our best breastfeeding tips to help you make sure this is a smooth process for you and for baby!
Find your support squad
- Can I be honest? Sometimes it’s NOT your partner, and that’s okay, whether it’s a doula, lactation consultant, your mom, or a friend. You need the support to get through breastfeeding, especially in that first month. If you’ve purchased The New Mom Survival Guide course, you’ll find tons of support inside The New Mom Squad!
- Although breastfeeding is physiological and “natural,” that doesn’t mean it’s EASY! Remember this as you navigate this first month.
- Be patient with yourself and your baby. You BOTH are learning a new skill, and this means it can take some time.
- The first month is the hardest, and you will find your own groove. Reach out to your partner, a friend, or a lactation consultant to help guide you on your journey. If something doesn’t feel right, always go with your gut and get the help you need.
- Understand that goals may change. You are an amazing mom doing the best for your baby.
Get the right start
- Begin skin-to-skin as soon as possible. From a mother of a NICU baby who I didn’t get to see for 13 hours, remember that skin-to-skin can happen later. Pumping and/or hand expressions will be important as well.
- The goal for breastfeeding is twofold: finding a position and latch that works for you and baby’s anatomy AND adequate production. Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t come naturally or easily. People don’t often talk about this, but it’s normal for it to feel clunky initially.
- Babies sense the physical stress in our bodies. Find a position that is comfortable for you to sit, light some candles, or use aromatherapy. You feeling relaxed can help so much. But don’t feel pressure to relax. Sometimes the obsession with feeling “relaxed” can make you ironically less relaxed.
- The quiet alert state is the best time to BF. This is when baby is calm and/or looking around but showing hunger cues (smacking lips and rooting are examples). If baby is over-hungry (wailing/inconsolable), you can attempt a feeding or calm baby for a more relaxed feed.
Watch for cues!
- Watch for hunger cues. By allowing baby to lead the show and reading their cues rather than reading the clock, you can get on a rhythm that works for baby’s needs. Feedings can happen 7-12 times a day, with clustering normal during periods of rapid growth. EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT!
- The best breastfeeding position for baby involves ventral contact (their stomach is turned towards you). Holding your breast (like a sandwich) helps too.
- The best latch is the latch that works for you and baby. No need to fix it if it’s working and not painful. If painful or shallow, aim for baby to have a wide-open mouth, chin touching breast, nose free, and both lips flared outward. You should hear audible swallowing.
Take care of you, mama!
- Stay hydrated. This doesn’t mean chugging water. Drink to thirst and eat well.
- Don’t eliminate food because baby is gassy before speaking to child’s clinician. YOU NEED TO EAT!
- Remember that breastfeeding can hurt, but it shouldn’t be to a point that it’s not enjoyable. Speak to a lactation consultant if it continues to be painful.
- Care for sore nipples, engorgement, and mastitis. Remember that this doesn’t mean breastfeeding can’t happen, but it’s important to take care of your discomfort.
- Check in with your feeding goals. Talk to loved ones if you need help. My goal is for you to address any concerns with latch or production in that first month to have a solid foundation for your breastfeeding journey. Check in with your goals and get the help you need to allow these goals to happen.