Breastfeeding is a skill that both mother and baby learn together. It can be difficult for some mothers, but with the right guidance and tips, breastfeeding is totally doable. From the moment your baby is born, there are a few things that you can do to improve and establish successful breastfeeding.
#1 Hold your baby skin-to-skin
Cuddle your baby on your chest as a lovely welcome to the world! Keeping your baby with you after birth promotes a feeling of closeness and strong hormonal response that will help your body to start making milk and will kickstart your baby’s feeding reflexes. Babies usually are awake and interested in feeding during the first hour after birth. Hence, stay skin-to-skin with your baby until after the first feeding. Skin-to-skin contact also helps to regulate your baby’s blood sugar, reduce your baby’s crying and stress, and keep your baby warm.
#2 Watch the baby, not the clock
We know babies need to be fed often in the first few weeks for at least eight or more times in 24 hours. This will help you to produce more milk and help your baby to gain back any weight loss they might have experienced in the first few days. But, instead of timing feeds by the clock, look for your baby’s signs of wanting to feed.
- rooting reflex – you will see your baby turn their head and open their mouth in search of food when you touch their mouth or cheek
- licking of lips
- putting their hands to their mouth – babies that have their hands free can show you easily that they are hungry
#3 Get your position and attachment right
The first few days after giving birth is the best opportunity for you and your baby to learn to breastfeed. Your breasts are still soft for a few days after the birth and as your breast milk changes from highly concentrated and nutritious first milk (colostrum) to mature milk, your breasts can be quite full and firm! So try to use the first few days to get your position and latch right. Seek help from a lactation consultant if you need to!
#4 Avoid teats and complementary feeds
Since your baby is still learning to breastfeed, avoid giving a teat or a dummy as it can be confusing for them. Also if your baby is drinking other fluids (for instance, formula milk) other than breast milk, they will breastfeed less and less and your breast milk supply will also decrease. Frequent and unrestricted suckling at the breast will satisfy your baby and your body will ensure to produce more milk to continue to meet your baby’s needs!
#5 Be patient
Like anything new and foreign, it takes a little time and patience for you to get the rhythm of things! If you find yourself getting frustrated or angry, take a little pause and try again when you are calm and relax. Relaxation while breastfeeding is important as it encourages more letdown. Also mommies, do not be afraid to ask for help from your spouse or family to hold the baby while you are taking some time for yourself!
I hope these tips help you in some ways. While it is highly encouraged to breastfeed your baby, I know it is not an easy thing to do and that’s okay too. There are other ways for you to feed your baby and do what’s best for you and your baby as long as you and your baby are happy and healthy. Happy mama = happy baby. So happy trying and breastfeeding! ❤