Breastfeeding can be one of the most precious ways to enjoy being close to your baby. There’s no greater feeling as a mom than knowing you are helping your baby grow and become healthy with your milk. It’s a gift that lasts a lifetime!
Babies were born to breastfeed. It’s not hard to get off to a good start when you follow some simple steps.
It’s easier for baby to latch when you lie back semi-reclined. Hold your baby with his body fully against your body. This triggers special sucking and feeding instincts.
Ask your nurse to help you hold your baby so his head and body are in a straight line. Your baby should not have to turn his head to reach your breast. Baby’s nose should point toward your nipple. Wait until your baby opens his mouth wide before bringing him in close to latch. His chin will be against your breast and his lips will flare out like “fish lips.” You might also hear your baby swallow your milk.
If baby is latched well it will not hurt or pinch. So go by how it feels. Your breasts may feel a little tender at first. This is normal. If you feel pain, ask your nurse for help!
It is normal to need some help to latch your baby right at first. Ask your nurse for help. If things do not get better, ask to see a lactation expert.
Breastfeeding goes better when mom’s champion is there to support her.
It’s very hard for a new mom to easily see how her baby is latched. That’s where your support is crucial! While mom and baby are learning how to breastfeed in the early days, you can watch to see if baby is latched well.
When mom nurses the baby, look to see that the baby’s chin is against her breast. Most of the dark area under her nipple should be in the baby’s mouth. Baby’s lips should be flared out like fish lips. If baby is latched well, he will swallow and be content.
If mom says breastfeeding hurts, remind her to break the suction and try again until it feels better. Letting the baby nurse when it hurts will only make things worse. Ask your nurse for help.
When your baby is positioned and latched well, feedings are comfortable for both of you!
A good latch makes breastfeeding comfortable. It also helps your baby get plenty of milk so he can gain weight and grow. When baby is latched well, his tongue will press against the dark area under your nipple. This area is strong enough to take the pressure of baby’s tongue. This is what keeps your nipples from getting sore. It also helps your baby get more milk. When baby gets more milk, your breasts are better drained so you do not get engorged.
It is normal for babies to lose a little weight right at first. You’ll know baby is getting enough if he feeds at least 8-12 times every 24 hours and you see more and more poopy diapers. What goes in must come out! Watch for at least one poop on day 1, two on day 2, and three on day 3. By the fourth day, the poops should start to turn yellow in color.
Your best tools as a nursing mom are as simple as your own hands. Expressing your milk by hand helps you make more milk and keeps you comfortable. Best of all, you’ll soar with pride when you see those first drops of milk and know you are giving your baby your very best.
Expressing your milk by hand is easy to learn. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and no fancy gadgets are needed. You only need a free hand. Here’s how.
The power of touch helps special hormones to flow. These hormones help release your milk so it will flow more easily. Some moms roll their nipple between their fingers a few seconds to help release the milk.
Your first milk will be small in volume at first. You will only express drops at a time, but each one is precious! Use a clean spoon to collect the milk you express. You can use the same spoon to gently feed the milk to your baby. That way not a single drop of your milk will be wasted. If you put the spoon up to his mouth, your baby will lap up the milk with his tongue. In a few days, when your body makes more milk, you can use a larger container with a wide mouth. Larger amounts of expressed milk can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Hand expression is often much easier with the support of mom’s champion.
Many new moms do not know the power of relaxing. When mom is relaxed, a special hormone called oxytocin is released. This hormone causes her milk to “let down” so the milk can flow easily. This helps her express more milk more quickly. As mom’s champion, your crucial role is to help her relax.
As mom’s champion, there are lots of ways you can help her relax. Make the room restful by dimming the lights and turning down the TV sound. Help her get comfortable with extra pillows. Massage her back or shoulders if she is tense. Bring her a glass of water. Oxytocin causes women to feel very thirsty when they are nursing the baby or expressing milk.
Prepare to be awed when your golden drops of milk first appear right before your eyes. That’s when you’ll know you have just what your baby needs!
Your breasts might feel a little full when your body starts making more milk. That can make it harder for your baby to latch. When you move some of that milk out, your breasts will soften so baby can latch. It also helps you feel more comfortable.
Your first milk is thick and yellow in color. Because it is thick, it can be harder for a breast pump to remove it. You might find it easier to just use your hands right at first.
The sooner and more often milk is removed from your breasts, the faster your body will start making more. Your baby will do the best job of removing your milk. If he is not able to nurse often enough, you can express milk by hand. This signals your body to start making more milk!
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