Breastfeeding is a natural process, and while it is a natural process for you and your baby there are certain tips and guidelines that will improve the experience of breastfeeding for the baby and you. Taking good care of your breasts, knowing when to feed your baby and how often, and educating yourself about what is normal and what is not normal with breastfeeding will help you to eliminate some of the confusion that many new mother’s face when they breastfeed.
Breastfeed Early And Often
A common mistake that some new mothers make is waiting until their breasts are engorged and the baby is crying before they begin to feed the baby. Breasts should never become so engorged with milk that they become extremely swollen and painful. Offer your baby the chance to breastfeed at least every 2-3 hours, especially during the first month. You breasts will continue to produce milk as the baby feeds, your breasts will not become painful and engorged, and your baby will feel secure and happy. If your breasts are just producing too much milk for the baby too handle, than use a breast pump to relieve the pressure.
Take Care Of Your Breasts
Dry and cracked nipples are the most common complaint of breastfeeding mothers. Washing the nipples with soap and water will further exacerbate this problem. Some physicians recommend leaving a drop of milk on the nipples to dry and soothe the skin; if nipples are especially cracked apply a moisturizer such as 100% lanolin after your baby feeds to the nipple area. Keeping your nipples dry will help to reduce cracking. A supportive nursing bra that is comfortable, and nursing pads, can help to keep your breasts cozy and dry during this time.
Breastfeed In A Soothing Place
Breastfeeding your baby is an important bonding moment for you and your baby, especially in the beginning. Loud noises and disruptions can disturb your baby and keep him or her from breastfeeding properly. Always try to breastfeed in a quiet place, keep the light low or shaded, and make sure that you and the baby are comfortable. Many mother’s like to put on soft calming music that will relax both mother and baby.
Avoid Nipple Confusion
Nipple confusion can occur if a baby is feed through a bottle and a breast during the first few weeks of its life. The human nipple is extremely different from rubber nipples on bottles, and babies need to learn different sucking techniques and routines when they feed from these sources. With a new baby, he or she can become confused if fed from the breast and then from the bottle; learning these new sucking techniques from different sources may confuse and frustrate the baby. To avoid nipple confusion, only feed from the breast at least during the first few weeks; once your baby has learned how to breastfeed, he or she will be less confused by a rubber nipple.
Comfort Is Important To A Breastfeeding Baby And Mother
It is important for the mother to find a comfortable breastfeeding position for herself and her baby. Many mothers have a special chair in the house that they use just for breastfeeding. The baby and mother both will be able to find a comfortable position given the right setting; it may just take a few tries before you are situated with your baby.
Eat Well And Get Plenty Of Rest
When you first begin to breastfeed, your body is still recovering from the effects of pregnancy and labor. It is especially important that you eat well during this time, and try to rest as often as you need to. If you are a single mom, try to have a friend or relative stay in the house and take care of extra chores so you can get all the sleep you need; if you have a partner talk with the partner about taking care of extra duties so you can recover properly.
Use Breastfeeding Support Groups And Talk With Other Moms
A lot of new mothers do not understand the process of breastfeeding, how their bodies and the baby adjust to the feedings, and some of the common side effects of breastfeeding. For example, some new mothers become scared that their baby is not getting enough milk from them and they switch to formula. In reality, new mothers produce more milk the more they feed their baby, and the baby will feed as much or as little as it needs to. New mothers should talk with other moms about their breastfeeding experiences, and join breastfeeding support groups for emotional support and advice.