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This article discusses the eight Ps to nursing and breastfeeding tips for new moms. These tips will help you on your journey to successful breastfeeding.
I’ve been on a breastfeeding journey for 11 months now. I’m one of the lucky ones who have had an easy time with it – quick latch, abundant supply, minimal pain. Maybe it’s because I read too many mom blog posts or one too many books about motherhood, but I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to provide for my daughter.
I won’t lie, the first few days are rough. Mom is tired, baby is hungry, and everything is new and different. Baby wants to nurse constantly. I don’t blame her – she’s been in a nice, warm, comfy sack in mom’s belly for 9 months and now she is out in the open, flooded by lights, sounds, and smells. Nursing is what brings baby comfort.
Allowing baby to nurse often in the fragile first days is what helps with milk supply. Mom first produces colostrum, a fatty substance filled with nutrients your baby needs after birth.
Sometimes it takes days for your milk to come. It took 2 and half for mine to come in, but I know of moms who have waited seven. Don’t fret – baby’s stomach is only about the size of a cherry. And while it needs to stay full, it doesn’t take much to get full.
Patience is one of the most important aspects of nursing and a recurring theme for your entire breastfeeding journey. Be patient during your first week. Your baby doesn’t need to be supplemented with formula. It doesn’t need a pacifier. It only needs mom’s love, snuggles, and patience.
If you want to breastfeed, you can do it. Yes, it will be hard at times. Yes, you will want to give up. But as with most things you want in life, you must persist! It takes time and as mentioned above, patience. I promise it gets easier. You’ll be a natural in no time. Do. Not. Give. Up. You won’t regret it.
And if you are having trouble and stressing about having trouble, seek help. Postpartum doulas and lactation consultants can be of great use.
Having adequate milk production is part of having a successful breastfeeding journey. Production is directly correlated with diet and lifestyle. The best thing you can do to help with milk production is drink WATER and lots of it. Grab a Hydroflask, and let water be your best friend in those early weeks.
Eating healthy is also extremely important for milk production and mom’s well being. You need calories to keep up with baby’s needs. Your breastfeeding diet needs to be filled with lots of fats, protein, grains, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to continue taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. This ensures that you are getting all the nutrients you need to keep you and your baby healthy.
When you decide that breastfeeding is right for you, then it’s time to start preparing. Research different products you might need – nursing bras, nursing pads, nipple cream, milk catcher, milk storage containers, hand pump, electric pump, etc.
You probably won’t know exactly what you’ll need until baby arrives, but start researching products before you have your baby. I highly recommend investing in some comfortable sleeping bras and nipple cream before she arrives. Pack these in your hospital bag so you can start using them right away!
Breastfeeding takes practice. Baby might latch perfectly one day, and then struggle the next. There are various nursing positions that might work better with one mom and so not well with another.
Just like with anything new, the more you practice, the better and easier it is. Experiment with different nursing positions, spaces, and latches.
This might be the number one thing that causes failure in new breastfeeding moms. Giving your baby a pacifier before having a strong nursing routine can cause nipple confusion and decrease milk supply. Pacifying your baby by nursing creates more milk production, a comforted baby, and allows you to practice.
Try to hold off for at least 4 but preferably 8 weeks before giving your baby a pacifier. This will ensure that she is 100% comfortable with nursing and can distinguish between the two nipples.
Get comfortable, mama! Stack those pillows high. In the early days of nursing, I would get so tired from lack of sleep and oxytocin rushes (produced from nursing). Make a pillow sanctuary on your couch, floor, bed, anywhere that is comfortable and convenient for you. Prop them up on all sides, including under your arms and on our lap, so baby can rest without effort.
Being surrounded by pillows also helps you to relax, which assists in proper let-down.
Having a supportive partner or family member is so important! Even if this means hiring a postpartum doula for a few weeks, having someone to help care for you while you care for baby is crucial in establishing a healthy nursing routine.
Did these breastfeeding tips help? What advice do you have to offer for new breastfeeding mamas?