So you’re a new mom? Or about to become one? Feeling apprehensive about breastfeeding?
“What if I don’t produce sufficient milk?”
“What should I eat/drink?”
“How often should I nurse my baby?”
“What if it hurts?”
These are just a few of the scary questions that you could be wondering about. Here are some tips that could help see you through this challenging season of your life.
1. Take care of your health
It’s a no brainer that a healthy mom = healthy milk = healthy baby.
So look after your health first. Connect with a trusted dietician, work out a suitable diet and stick to it—especially during your pregnancy.
2. Position correctly
Try out different positions and vary them so that the pressure on your breasts is distributed evenly. Basically, there are 4 breastfeeding positions:
- The cradle hold
- The cross-over hold
- The clutch hold
- Reclining position
Read this article by Baby Center—they explain it better than I can!
Also, no matter which position you use, always bring the baby to your breast instead of the other way round.
3. It gets easier
Yes, it does hurt in the beginning—especially during the first two weeks. But trust me, it gets easier with practice—your body and baby will adjust to each other.
Moisturize your nipples with nipple cream or olive oil—sometimes, your own milk can be used to heal those chapped, hurting nipples. Another tip is to insert clean and refrigerated cabbage leaves into your bra.
4. Maintain consistent intervals
Nursing is baby feeding time only—don’t use it as a pacifying activity and keep feeding every time your baby starts crying. Maintain a consistent interval of 1.5 to 2.5 hours between each nursing session, especially after the first couple of weeks.
That way, you get to rest regularly and your baby also gets trained to sleep/play at steady intervals and cry for milk only when really hungry.
If you don’t establish a predictable routine, you will end up sleepless, tired and frustrated all the time!
5. Don’t forget to burp
Whenever your baby’s mouth is off your breast or stops suckling, you need to burp him/her. Sit upright holding the baby to your chest, letting her/his chin to rest on your shoulder. Support the baby with one hand while gently patting the back with the other.
Burping brings out air bubbles that may be trapped in the baby’s stomach, reduces dizziness and makes room for the baby to feed more.
It is of course not required if the baby is burping by itself regularly.
6. Don’t worry about how tiny your baby is
Don’t increase your nursing frequency just because your baby looks tiny—that’s nothing to worry about.
It takes 6 to 8 weeks for a normal baby to start gaining weight and become chubby, so don’t panic and be patient.
Finally, don’t refrain from seeking help (especially if you had a C-Section), drink lots of water and juices to remain hydrated.
Remember, breastfeeding helps your uterus to return to its normal size, thereby reducing post-delivery bleeding. It can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer too.