Motherhood, though a wonderful journey, is a full-time job filled with unusual and overwhelming feelings. Add to that the plethora of suggestions and opinions received from others, and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for confusion!
Out of all the tasks, breastfeeding may be the most natural thing, but it can take a lot of work, intensive research, and a bit of trial and error before it seems that way. Luckily, we’ve found the best breastfeeding tips for new mothers that will help you ease through the process and tackle all the challenges that come along.
1. Learn To Foresee Your Baby’s Needs
There are some tried & tested tell-tale signs that every new parent must know. Almost like a new language! When your baby is hungry, they may:
- Stick out their tongue or lick their lips
- Raise or turn their head repeatedly
- Open their mouth and suck on whatever is close to them
You can anticipate your baby’s needs through these signs and offer your breast to them before they cry their eyes out.
2. Get Comfortable While Nursing
You will be spending a significant amount of time breastfeeding your child, so you’d rather find the most comfortable space and position to be in. If you keep moving repeatedly while breastfeeding, it will also disturb and irritate your baby.
Find a comfortable bed or a couch with plenty of pillows to support whatever position you choose to breastfeed in. Try to feed in a peaceful environment where you can relax and let the goodness flow.
3. Prioritize Cleanliness
The most important breastfeeding tip for newborn babies is to clean everything. This includes changing your baby’s dirty diaper, washing your hands, wiping your breast with a damp cloth, and sterilizing all breastfeeding accessories before and after each feed. You do not want to put your little one at the risk of any health issues, so don’t be careless about cleanliness!
4. Take A Crack at Different Breastfeeding Positions
While there are a lot of ways to hold your baby, it often takes some effort to find the one that works for both of you. Some breastfeeding positions that you can try are cradle position, cross-cradle position, football hold, laidback style, and side-lying position.
Whichever position you choose, make sure that your baby’s mouth is in level with your nipple, their head is in a comfortable position, their chin should be touching your breast such that their nose is clear, and they should latch onto the entire areola.
5. Check If It’s Working Well
If the nursing is going well, your baby will suck and swallow properly. When they release your breast towards the end of the nursing session, you will observe a healthy pink colour in their skin and relaxed muscles. Also, 4 to 8 soft bowel movements each day for the first few days of a newborn’s life is a healthy sign. Moreover, your baby should be slowly gaining weight month on month.
6. Try Not to Worry About Milk Supply
It is easy to get anxious when constantly thinking if your milk supply is enough to pacify your baby’s hunger. But know that milk production depends on your baby’s needs. The more you nurse, the higher the release of prolactin and oxytocin hormones that stimulate milk production.
So instead of worrying and asking how to increase my milk supply, try to look for signs. For example, well-fed babies will have 5-6 wet diapers a day.
7. Take Care of Your Nipples
With regular nursing, your breast’s delicate skin tends to become dry, chapped, irritated, and even cracked over time. Luckily, you can prevent that with a few precautions:
- Let the milk air-dry naturally on your nipples. If you are in a hurry, pat dry with a soft wipe.
- Don’t over wash with harsh soaps or cleansers.
- For dry or cracked nipples, use a moisturizing balm or cream.
8. Prevent Engorgement
When you produce more milk than your baby consumes, your breasts may become painfully swollen and hard. The solution is to nurse your baby as often as possible. And if engorgement persists, try hand-expressing the milk out of your breasts or use a breast pump until your breasts soften and feel normal again.
9. Eat Healthy and Keep Yourself Hydrated
Eating a balanced meal and drinking plenty of water will ensure a healthy quality of milk production while keeping your energy levels up. Include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Take multivitamins as prescribed by your doctor. Hydrate with plenty of water, juices, and milk. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
10. Invest In Breastfeeding-friendly Clothing
Breastfeeding newborn tips include having a nursing bra or tank to make it easy to feed your child. Choose button-down shirts, wrap dresses, or crossover tops for easy access. Consider adding a scarf to your outfit if you would like some extra privacy. Always keep nursing pads handy to feel dry if you have a leakage problem.
Sometimes it’s just about going with the flow, while sometimes it takes countless efforts to get there. But remember to keep yourself calm throughout the breastfeeding process. And don’t hesitate to take help from a lactation consultant when you need to.
Neha Divan, a toddler-mom, works as part of the content team at SuperBottoms, a baby product brand that develops innovative and sustainable products, like the No.1 best-selling reusable cloth diaper in India. She is passionate about empowering parents with her content to help make parenting a little easier and a lot more fun. She often writes from first-hand experience and has a knack for presenting her ideas clearly which lets her readers connect with her content. Art & crafts are her thing and she also loves coming up with fun and healthy recipes for kids.