So, you are a new, or soon to be, mother. Congratulations! As you may know, a new mommy’s mind overflows with questions, one of which is how to feed her baby. While formula is certainly an adequate choice for feeding your little one, nothing compares to the health and bonding benefits of breastfeeding. In fact, it is quite possibly the most natural thing in the world for a woman to nurture her newborn at her breast. Understandably, breastfeeding can seem very intimidating, but do not let that stop you. With the following tips, you will be a pro in no time.
If you choose to breastfeed, you will want to do so as soon as possible following your baby’s arrival. While utterly helpless in so many ways, babies are born with the ability to suck and will instinctively latch on when your nipple touches their mouth. You may have to help stimulate him to open his mouth by gently rubbing his cheek. This will cause him to turn that direction with an open mouth, ready to nurse his way to dreamland.
One of the first aspects of breastfeeding you need to know is this: Your actual milk won’t come in until about 3 days after you give birth. Not knowing this information, many new mothers mistakenly think they are “defective” and therefore give up. In the first hours to days of your little one’s arrival, colostrum will be the only substance you produce. Interestingly, it is exactly what your baby needs. Loaded with antibodies and protein, it is the best natural boost for his or her immune system.
Another important facet of nursing is to allow your newborn to nurse on demand. This method of nursing allows you to establish an abundant milk supply. Also, newborns need to eat a surprising amount and frequently. Therefore, allowing them to nurse on demand ensures their positive growth and development. Once your milk comes in, your breasts may feel hard, too full, and heavy. This is called feeling “engorged.” It is completely normal and will fade once your milk regulates according to your baby’s feeding schedule. Thankfully, there are trained ladies who specialize in breastfeeding called “lactation consultants.” Most hospitals have at least one on staff to help you get started. If your particular hospital does not, check your local phone book for consultants nearby.
To be sure, you may want to postpone offering your baby a pacifier. A baby’s sucking methods are completely opposite for pacifier and breast. For this reason, you may want to wait until breastfeeding is firmly established, about 3 to 4 weeks, to give your baby a pacifier. Moreover, to help your breasts produce milk equally, allow baby to nurse off of one breast until the it feels drained. After pausing for a burp break, offer him the other breast. If he doesn’t accept it, simply start the next nursing session with the second breast.
Breastfeeding can seem intimidating and for good reason! Sustaining a human life is certainly not a feat to be taken lightly, but rest assured you can be a successful breastfeeding mommy. With these tips in mind and your natural motherly instincts, you and your baby can achieve breastfeeding success and lay the foundation for a lifelong bond you will treasure forever.