Breastfeeding a newborn is the very first thing every new mom would learn after a baby is born. It is an essential skill to learn, for new moms, it is not as easy as it sounds but it will be improved after several attempts. Successful breastfeeding will make sure the baby is fed well and gained weight according to the development chart.
Everywhere we look, may it be on magazines, ads, and different media platforms, we are always bombarded with images projecting a perfect life with a newborn, but life after birth is far from what the media is showing us, and the first few weeks are always the hardest, especially the part where are learning to breastfeed our newborns.
Nursing a baby may look easy and natural, but it’s a whole new journey filled with struggles and challenges. It’s like getting a full-time job that needs to be monitored round the clock. It can be pretty daunting for new moms, but, hey, it may not always go smoothly–most especially in the beginning–but with patience and proper planning, things will get better.
Here’s everything you need to know about breastfeeding a newborn.
8 tips for Breastfeeding a newborn:
Don’t be ashamed to seek for help
Say you’ve already read countless of books about breastfeeding prior giving birth, but doing it is something else. Lactation consultant, maternity nurses, and your baby’s pediatrician can give you helpful breastfeeding tips. They can do a demo or engage with some of breastfeeding moms, too. Do not feel ashamed asking for help. The breastfeeding technique is not complicated, it is a natural phenomena when the baby and you bond together and he is able to latch on you for successful breastfeeding. Here is a demo video to show how new moms learn to breastfeed with the help of an experienced lactation consultant.
Newborns need to be breastfed every two to three hours in the beginning and can usually take around 20 to 45 minutes, so make sure you are sitting on a comfortable chair or at an comfortable position with things you will need on the side such as breastfeeding pillow, nursing pads, burp clothes, and a few of snacks.
Here are some positions that you can try:
- Laid-back Breastfeeding. Lie back with your head, shoulders, and neck supported. Place the baby’s whole front atop your chest. Make sure that your baby’s cheek is on your bare breast.
- Cradle Hold. Breastfeed baby while cradling her on your lap. Make sure your baby’s head is resting in your elbow bend. Use pillows to elevate baby’s head so she can reach your nipple, then cup your breast using your free hand.
- Football Hold. If you’ve had a C-section, then this position will work well with you. Using the hand on the side of the breast that’s nursing, lift your baby’s head to your nipple. Use pillows to elevate the baby and make sure that her head is facing you.
- Crossover Hold. Using the hand opposite from the breast that’s currently nursing, hold your baby’s head. Your wrist should be behind your baby’s shoulder blades, your thumb behind one ear, and your fingers behind the other ear. Use your free hand to cup your breast.
- Side-lying position. Lying on your side, use your arm to elevate your baby’s head. With your other hand, cup your breast.
Get a deep latch
Make sure that your baby’s stomach is touching yours. Always support your baby’s head with one hand and support your breast with the other hand. Tickle your baby’s lower lip with your nipple to encourage your baby’s mouth to open wide, then point your nipple at her nose, so she’ll lift her head up and latch on deeply. Observe for a rhythmic sucking and swallowing pattern. It the first few sucks hurt, de-latch and reposition. It may be hard at first, but once you and your baby get the hang of it, latching on will come naturally.
Let them set the pace
Let your baby breastfeed thoroughly. Do not set time. Once your baby is done, try burping her by gently patting her back or rubbing her stomach. Offer the second breast. If they’re still hungry, then they will latch on. If not, start the following breastfeeding session using the second breast. If your baby always nurses on only one breast, pump your other breast to relieve pressure and store milk.
Don’t use pacifier yet
Babies love it when they’re sucking on something. However, you might want to hold off on pacifiers because giving your baby one too soon could interfere with their breastfeeding. Make sure your baby already has an established breastfeeding routine before introducing a pacifier.
Take care of your nipples
Let the milk dry naturally on your nipple. The milk can soothe your nipples especially when they are sore. You can pat your nipple dry if you need to and you can also use breast pads to prevent leaks. Just make sure to replace them from time to time.
Plan a healthy diet
To ensure your baby gets enough nutrients from your breast milk, make sure that you also consume healthy foods–focus on foods that have protein and calcium, and always incorporate whole grains. Take supplements (as long as they are doctor-prescribed) and drink plenty of fluids. As much as possible, avoid alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, and secondhand smoke. A well-fed mommy means a well-fed baby.
Breast pads help, so make sure to always keep a stash. Towels come in handy, too, especially at night. Just place one under your leaking breast before you sleep. Sometimes, leaks happen when you have so much milk, so storing extra breast milk is the way to go.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful journey, it can be an emotional roller coaster in the beginning, but you and your baby will get the hang of it soon.
How about you? Do you have any tips for breastfeeding newborns? Feel free to comment down below.