The CDC recommends that moms should breastfeed their children for the first six months of life, if not longer. Not only is it good for the baby’s health and development, but it’s a bonding experience between the mother and child.
The benefits of breastfeeding start the moment you first connect with your child. Within the first few days, you’re providing your baby with all the essential nutrients they need!
However, it’s not always simple. Many women struggle when trying to get their babies to latch properly. There is nothing wrong with you and you’re not alone. The CDC also stated that nearly 67% of new mothers have trouble when it comes to breastfeeding.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you while you’re breastfeeding for the first time.
1. Try To Relax
Putting your body through added stress makes it more difficult to do just about anything. This also includes breastfeeding. Not only is it harder on your body, but your baby can also sense what you’re feeling. If you can’t relax, your baby can’t relax.
If you’re still trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, make sure you have a calm environment. Avoid any excess noise and take several deep breaths to slow yourself down.
2. Find A Comfortable Nursing Position
Breastfeeding can last anywhere from ten minutes to even forty-five minutes. It all depends on how slow they nurse or how hungry they are.
This means you’ll want to find a way to get in a comfortable breastfeeding position. As we said, the more relaxed you are, the easier time you’ll have when breastfeeding your baby.
A nursing pillow can provide feeding support and be incredibly helpful in giving your arms a place to rest while holding your child. Sitting in a rocking chair or some type of seat that provides you with the ability to be as comfortable as possible will be helpful as well.
3. Learn To Anticipate Your Baby’s Needs
You don’t always want to wait until your newborn starts crying before you begin to feed them. It’s about learning to anticipate what your baby needs. This one is tough at first, but eventually, you’ll start to learn different signs of what your child needs.
Some of the different signs you may start to see include:
- Opening and closing their mouths as if they’re trying to latch onto your breast
- Sticking out their tongue more than usual
- Attempting to turn or raise their head repeatedly
- Trying to suck on whatever is around them
4. Keep A Breastfeeding Log
Another important step in learning about how often your baby wants to feed is by keeping a log, just like you would when trying to monitor how long they nap. The key is to not withhold milk from them if they’re hungry.
Let the baby be the one to determine when it’s time to feed and for how long they need to be nursed. Your newborn knows their needs more than you do at this point since they don’t have a way to effectively communicate what they’re looking for.
5. Anticipate Leaking
Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself with a wet shirt on more than one occasion. Leaking from your breast is entirely normal and natural. Your hormones are incredibly susceptible right now.
Even the sound of another baby crying can cause your breasts to start producing milk. This won’t last forever. Eventually, as your hormones and breast milk start to regulate, so will the leaking.
6. Be Mindful With Your Skin
Not only is your baby being held in your arms while you breastfeed, but they’re latching onto the skin around your nipples. This area of skin is incredibly sensitive and delicate.
Over time, as you continue breastfeeding, the skin can become dry, chapped, and possibly even cracked due to the amount of nursing your child needs.
There are several things you can do to help alleviate some of this irritation.
- Don’t overwash the area and always make sure to air dry them.
- Allow your breasts to air out from behind a bra or shirt every once in a while.
- Pat down your breast area with a dry soft cloth after you’re finished breastfeeding rather than trying to rub them clean.
- You can also use different types of ointments or creams that are safe for your child as well.
Breastfeeding is a necessary part of every newborn and mother’s journey as they enter the world for the first time. Knowing that it can be difficult for many, there is always the help of a lactation consultant. IBCLCs are professionally trained to help ease the process or answer any questions you may have along the way.