When you’ve never breastfed before you wonder, how do moms make it look so easy? Then you hear about the moms who have a terrible time with it, and it confuses you. One thing is certain: knowledge is power when it comes to breastfeeding. The more you prepare yourself, know what to expect and how to handle things that come your way, the easier it will be. Here are our top 5 top breastfeeding tips for success:
1. Educate yourself.
Do your homework well before Baby is born and find out as much about breastfeeding as you can, preferably through a trained lactation consultant prior to your baby’s delivery. Take a breastfeeding class to learn about how often you should nurse, comfortable positions, your diet, and more. Be sure to request additional help from your hospital’s nursing staff after you deliver Baby.
2. Get skin to skin.
As much as you can in the first few days after your baby is born, lay your infant on your chest, tummy to tummy. When Baby is skin to skin with you, he’ll cue to breastfeed more often.
3. Understand a good latch.
Plenty of new moms run into trouble with nursing by not understanding what a proper latch is for breastfeeding. Nipples should not be damaged by breastfeeding. A good latch makes breastfeeding comfortable and is basically a “clamp” on the areola part of your breast, not the nipple. Babies know how to do this instinctually, but they can mistakenly clamp on your nipple instead of the area around it. If it hurts when Baby is sucking, your latch is “off” and it’s time to seek help.
4. Nurse as much as Baby wants — and more — in the beginning.
When new moms put Baby to the breast frequently in the first few days (8 times or more in 24 hours) it stimulates the milk supply. While milk isn’t available right away with your newborn, latching Baby on as much as possible will get him the colostrum (premilk) he needs and bring your supply in quicker. Going forward, the more you nurse from day to day, the more milk you will make.
5. Keep Baby awake to nurse.
Babies love to sleep in their first few days, so take advantage of the moments when Baby’s awake to latch him on. If Baby drifts to sleep while feeding, rub his head, raise his arm, or gently massage his back to keep him awake for feedings.
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