Breastfeeding Tips: What you need to know about breastfeeding
As most of you may know, August is Breastfeeding month and we are here to give you some tips on how to have a great breastfeeding experience for both mom and baby.
Breastfeeding can be a great bonding and nourishing experience, however it can come with a few unique challenges. Whether you are a first time mom or you've had other babies it is important to think about what's best for you and baby.
Breastfeeding is also a personal experience as no two mamas are the exact same and every baby will respond differently to breastfeeding. Do not be alarmed if you have difficulty and remember it is ultimately the decision of the mother and family to decide if breastfeeding is right for you.
First we will address the top concern most new moms have about breastfeeding:
How do I produce milk for my baby?
Did you know that as early as 24 weeks a pregnant mother starts producing colostrum then will continue on to creating breast milk once the baby is born. Colostrum is the nutrient rich milk that is made special for your newborn baby and contains the antibodies to protect your baby. Your baby does not need much colostrum at birth.
A few days after the birth of your baby, your body will start to produce milk regularly. The more frequently milk is removed whether it is done by breastfeeding or pumping, the more your body will start to make more. This is the reason why it is important to feed your baby every 2 to 3 hours.
Now let’s dive into a few great tips to help you be successful at breastfeeding.
This is the most important because you want to make sure that you and your baby are comfortable while nursing. Your baby can sense your tension and nervousness, and this can cause difficulty with the proper latching. The key factor is to relax and your baby will relax and enjoy feeding.
Also, the environment plays a key role because if you are in a stressful or uncontrollable environment that will become another stressor. Make sure your environment is peaceful and relaxing. Give yourself a few minutes before by taking deep breaths, visualize your most happiest place and enjoy this bonding moment with your baby.
- Allowing your baby to determine how long to nurse
We all know the saying that Moms know best, but in this situation your baby knows what is best for them. Let your baby determine how long they need to feed. There's honestly is no predetermined time length on how long or short a baby can / will nurse. Don’t let the stress of your baby sleeping too long or it is going to pass the three hours, trust your baby enough to know that they will let you know exactly when they are ready to nurse.
Please don’t allow yourself to stress over the small things which in turn will have a big impact on your milk supply because it does not like to be stressed.
- Get comfortable while nursing and finding the right position
Let’s just admit it now you are going to spend a lot of time breastfeeding, so finding the right position for you and your baby is very important. The position needs to support for your back, shoulder and neck.
Here is a recommended position:
- Sit in a reclined position with your feet either up or down with your baby lying in your arms.
- Lying on your side with baby facing you
- Using your nursing pillow that is wrapped around your body and place baby on top for a comfortable position while sitting up
- Please remember during each feeding session to feed your baby on both breasts.
The best thing to do is find what is right for you and don't be afraid to try different positions to attend to your needs as well as your baby’s needs. Breastfeeding has to be comfortable for everyone.
- Stay Hydrated
This is one of the most important tips for breastfeeding. Staying hydrated helps replenish the body with water and helps with the reproduction of milk. A good habit to create is to drink a glass of water whenever you are breastfeeding your baby. By doing this, it will help with hydration for you and knowing your baby is getting milk as well.
- Learn how to increase supply and some important vitamins/supplements.
There are numerous ways to help with increasing your milk supply. The most crucial would be more nursing whether that is baby directly feeding or pumping in between nursing sessions. You can also increase your supply but continue to take your postnatal vitamins which in turn provide your baby with the proper nutrients as well.
- Examples of postnatal include:
- Multivitamins with the key nutrients like: folate, choline, iodine, zinc and vitamins A, C, D
- Omega-3 fatty acids that help with the support of your mood along with the development of your baby.
- Collagen and biotin to help with your skin and help
- Here are some examples of herbal supplements like fenugreek, blessed thistle, milk thistle, anise, and fennel.
Please also remember to always consult with your doctor before adding anything new vitamins or supplements.
- Pay attention to your eating habit
Yes, we know you had to watch what you eat while pregnant because the focus was on the development of your baby, well it is the same if you are breastfeeding. The meals need to be full of nutrients to support you and provide the proper nutrients for your growing baby. It is very important to eat nutrient dense foods due to the high calories that are burned while breastfeeding. Moms, please plan to continue eating multiple meals and snacks throughout the day.
Some beneficial foods to include in your diet are:
- Leafy greens to provide vitamin B
- Salmon and avocado to provide healthy fats
- Different types of beans like white beans, Pinto beans, kidney beans and lentils for iron production.
These are just some examples of how to add good nutrients to your diet.
- Having the Right Nursing Equipment
Yes, everyone is prompting that they have the right nursing equipment and you need all these different gadgets for breastfeeding. In reality, you need to find what works best for you and definitely comfortable for your baby.
Here are some examples:
- Nursing pads to help with leakage and not ruining your clothes
- Breast pump this can include manual pump or electric pump
- Nursing bra for comfort and easy access to feeding your baby
- Nursing pillow to help with the positioning of your baby
- Storage area where you keep all things related to breastfeeding
Remember, finding what works best for you to have a positive and enjoyable experience with breastfeeding.
- Understanding your experience is different
It is very hard for some mothers not to share their different experiences from motherhood, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. It is also hard for new mothers not to ask the burning questions because everyone wants to know what they are getting themselves into.
As a new mom, you will understand that everyone's experience is not going to be the same and that is OK!
No matter what the challenges you might have while breastfeeding, there are different resources like scheduling a consultation with a lactation specialist for more guidance.
- Include your partner
Mom, please do not be afraid to include your partner in this breastfeeding journey. They can help with the emotional support during this time, can also be your personal water grabber and so much more if you allow them into this part of the parenting journey. Also, an extra set of hands or listening ears, if you need to see a lactation specialist.
- Ask for help
You can read all the books and take multiple classes but actually breastfeeding is a completely different story. Asking for help is more than okay and nothing is wrong with asking for help.
Please use the resources that are given to you at the hospital after delivery which includes your nurse who can give you guidance on different positions to try with your baby.
Also, a lactation consultant will help guide you during your journey which will be filled with different types of emotions.
Taking in all the breastfeeding tips
We know this can be a very overwhelming experience for you as a new mom, with the provided breastfeeding tips above, us at Kiira are here to help make this the most enjoyable time with your little bundle of joy.
Just remember, to enjoy this time, relax and pay close attention to the needs and comfort of your baby.