|Feeling frazzled trying to breastfeed? You're not alone. Review our tips for success.|
The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be very challenging for a new mom. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:
Choose a comfortable place to nurse. Sit back, rest your head and neck, and use a foot rest to enhance your comfort. Comfort is key since you will be in this position for some time.
- Have a glass of water handy and any other item that you may need during this time such as a snack, telephone, or magazine.
- Use a nursing pillow or regular pillow to help position your baby.
- Place your baby in the desired breastfeeding position BEFORE attempting to latch your baby to your breast.
- Make sure that your baby is comfortable in this position.
- When enticing your baby to open his/her mouth, move your nipple from an up-to-down position, stimulating your baby from the nose down to the chin.
- Place some manually expressed breast milk (or formula if no breast milk is available) directly onto your nipple to help entice your baby to latch.
- For a sleepy baby, try waking your baby by:
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- Rubbing your baby's back along his/her spine.
- Tickling your baby's feet.
- Removing blankets, clothes and hat. Babies love to sleep when they are cozy and warm.
- Wipe your baby's face and chest with a cool, damp cloth.
- Change to a football hold or in an upright position so your baby isn't snuggling into you.
- If all else fails, put your baby near your breasts skin-to-skin with you and give your baby another 30 minutes to an hour to wake up and get hungry. The skin-to-skin contact keeps your baby close to you, smelling your scent and helps to stimulate your milk.
- Breastfeeding may be uncomfortable at the very beginning, but the pain should ease after the first couple of minutes. If it doesn't, your baby may not be latched properly. Take your baby off of the breast, making sure to break his/her seal with your finger first, and then try again.
- A nipple shield may be helpful in assisting your baby to latch in the first week. Once good breastfeeding has been established, stop using the shield.
- Wait to offer a bottle or pacifier until good breastfeeding has been established. Bottles are much easier for babies to remove milk from. This could potentially cause your baby to prefer the easy bottle instead of your breast which is more work.
- Many breastfeeding moms are concerned that their baby is not getting enough milk. It is true that in the first few days, you will only be producing drops of colostrum. Colostrum, although low in quantity, is very high in quality. Colostrum is rich in protein and low in fat and sugar.
- A good guide for assessing adequate intake is if your baby is sleeping 2-3 hours between feeds, is stooling, and is having 6-8 wet diapers a day.
- Keep a chart of the time your baby feed, the length of the feeding, the breast you started with, and if your baby had a wet or poopy diaper. This is especially useful if you have more than one baby.
- You may find it helpful to use a bracelet or similar item to place on the arm that corresponds to the breast that you started your feeding session with.
With patience, practice, and time, breastfeeding your baby will become second nature. Don't give up....you can do it!
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