Did you know that low breastfeeding rates add roughly $3 billion worth of costs annually for mothers and infants? Though the benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented, many women give up the practice after a few bad experiences with breastfeeding. But the reality is that breastfeeding doesn’t always need to be hard.
Set both yourself and your baby up for breastfeeding success with these seven tips.
Get Ready For Breastfeeding Before You Give Birth
First, make sure that you’re receiving proper prenatal care. Premature babies typically have more trouble with breastfeeding, so proper care goes a long way toward ensuring your birth isn’t premature.
Next, make sure you have any equipment you might need like breast pumps, covers, nursing pillows, and nursing bras.
Lastly, if you can, consider taking a breastfeeding class before you give birth. Learning to breastfeed after you’ve had your baby can be stressful, but a bit of practice can make the process less intimidating.
Look For Signs That Your Baby Is Hungry
Feeding your newborn before they’re uncomfortably hungry will go a long way toward making the experience more enjoyable for both of you. Instead of waiting until your baby cries to feed them, look for some of these telltale signs that your baby is starting to feel unsatisfied:
- Opening their mouth
- Nuzzling their head against your breasts
- Smacking their lips
- Sucking their hand, lip, tongue, or shirt material
- Rooting (when a baby turns their head to the side and opens their mouth)
Know How to Hold Your Baby When Breastfeeding
Experiment with different feeding positions to find out which option works best for you and your baby.
Learn the Difference Between Proper and Improper Latching
A proper latch is vital for the breastfeeding experience because it allows your baby to compress the glands that secrete milk; a proper latch can also prevent sore and cracked nipples for you. You can tell it’s a proper latch when both your nipple and areola (the dark area that surrounds your nipple) are entirely covered by your baby’s mouth. Once properly latched, make sure to drain one breast of milk entirely before moving on to the next one so that your baby is getting the more nutritious hind milk at the end of the feeding.
An improper latch occurs when your baby’s mouth is just covering the nipple and not the areola; it may also be more uncomfortable for you.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for you to get the hang of proper latching. If you need additional resources, you can consult this helpful guide here.
Don’t Set Time Limits
Many first-time parents think that quick feeding sessions can lead to less soreness and swelling, but the reality is that discomfort can be the result of improper latching techniques.
Instead of cutting off your baby’s feeding session early, allow it to run its course. Most breastfeeding sessions will last between twenty to thirty minutes, depending on your baby’s needs.
At times you may worry that your milk supply is insufficient. However, studies show that only 5% of women actually suffer from insufficient milk supply, so even if you feel drained, odds are you still have enough for your baby.
Look For Peace and Quiet When Feeding
Eventually, breastfeeding will be like second nature for you and your child. When this happens, it’s alright to breastfeed in a noisy, crowded setting.
But, when you’re both still learning, you should start in areas that have little to no distractions.
Give your baby your full attention during these early sessions. Once they get the hang of it, you can fill your time by talking on the phone, watching television, or scrolling through social media.
Practice Makes Perfect
Many mothers worry that if breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally, then they’re failures. This simply isn’t true! The reality is that it will take a lot of practice before the act of breastfeeding feels natural.
So don’t get discouraged, especially right after your baby is born. You’re doing a great job and your baby is thriving!
Need More Breastfeeding Tips? Contact Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada
We hope this guide helped you learn some breastfeeding tips for you and your baby. If you’ve tried all these tips and breastfeeding still isn’t working, it’s time to seek outside help.
Here at the Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada, we’re dedicated to helping women both before and after their pregnancies.
So if you need help with breastfeeding or any other part of your pregnancy, make sure to contact us today.