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Prepping for Breastfeeding
Releasing your expectations is one of the best ways to prepare for breastfeeding. The pressure new parents put on themselves to get breastfeeding “right” can be the biggest challenge, not engorgement, latching, or sore nipples.
As you and your baby embark on this journey together, both of you will learn and adapt. It’s a process of growth and adjustment. It’s absolutely okay to reach the conclusion that breastfeeding may not be the best fit for you, your baby, or both.
10 Breastfeeding Tips:
1. Skin-to-Skin ASAP:
Request skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth. This helps your baby self-attach and improves the likelihood of successful breastfeeding.
2. Mindset & Patience:
Prioritize your baby’s health and well-being above all else. Breastfeeding may not come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and your baby.
3. The Set Up:
Over time, you may notice that your baby prefers a certain position or that they latch on easier when held a specific way. Below is the basic format you can follow to get set up to feed and will help you figure out your little one’s favorite spot.
– Hold your baby so they are turned toward you with their hips, ears and shoulders are in alignment
– Place baby’s arms / hands are around the breast
– Line up their nose to your nipple
– Baby opens their mouth
– Baby’s head tilts back
– Move them gently onto the breast if necessary
4. Feeding Cues:
Observe your baby’s cues for hunger and feed them when they are calm and ready. Look for signs like eye fluttering, stirring, or sucking on their hands.
5. Positions, Positions, Positions:
Familiarize yourself with different breastfeeding positions to find the one that works best for you and your baby. Here is a great guide from Medela on different positions.
A lot of babies lose weight during their first week of life. Talk to your pediatrician about what you can expect. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that babies should stop losing weight by day 5, so if weight loss continues make sure to visit your pediatrician.
It is also helpful to keep track of what you’re seeing in their diapers. As long as you are seeing at least 4 wet diapers a day, there probably is no cause for concern. If you’re ever worried, call your doctor.
7. Supply & Demand:
Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. Increasing the frequency of feedings throughout the day can help increase milk production.
8. Help is Available to You:
Seek breastfeeding support before the baby arrives, whether through your healthcare provider, lactation consultant, or breastfeeding classes/support groups.
9. It Shouldn’t Hurt:
If you’re experiencing discomfort, it’s important to seek help. For instance, nipple pain is not a normal part of breastfeeding, and there’s no need for your nipples to “toughen up.” To address nipple pain, it may be necessary to focus on achieving a good latch by ensuring your baby deepens their latch to encompass more of the areola.
Additionally, pain could be related to an oversupply issue, where your baby is receiving an excessive amount of milk, leading to discomfort. Regardless of the specific issue, if you’re a nursing mother experiencing pain, please reach out to your doctor or a lactation consultant for assistance.
10. Fed Is Best:
No matter how your baby is fed, all that matters is that they are. The health and happiness of new parents is crucial to a little one’s wellbeing. So please take that into account during your breastfeeding journey.