Breastfeeding provides your baby with the most nutritionally complete food. It’s well documented as a benefit for baby’s health and also benefits your physical and mental health. Many new moms start breastfeeding from the time of birth, but as a first-time mom it may present some challenges you didn’t expect.
At 4th Trimester Place in Miramar, Florida, board-certified family nurse practitioner Dr. Nathania Adu, DNP, FNP-C, and our team of supportive experts provide the best in postpartum support, including breastfeeding help with issues like latching and low milk supply.
Today’s blog focuses on first-time mothers who are planning to breastfeed or just beginning it. Read on for the top tips to make the breastfeeding process smoother and easier for you and your baby.
Latching refers to how your baby attaches to your breast for feeding. If your baby doesn’t latch properly, it can be uncomfortable for you and can prevent them from getting the nutrition they need.
You can help encourage a good latch by tickling your baby’s lips with your nipples, prompting them to open wide. Position your nipple slightly above your baby’s upper lip and gently aim your baby’s lower lip to the bottom of your nipple.
Most or all of your areola (not just the nipple) should fill your baby’s mouth, and their lips should be turned out. A good latch is comfortable and painless. If you’re having latching issues, don’t hesitate to contact our lactation experts at 4th Trimester Place.
Newborn babies need to eat around every 2-4 hours, for a total of about 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. Your baby will let you know when they’re hungry.
The rooting reflex is a hunger cue in the first couple weeks of life. This means that if you lightly touch the edge of your baby’s mouth with a nipple, they’ll instinctively turn to the nipple to nurse if they’re hungry. Babies may also put their hand in their mouth as a sign of hunger, or they’ll grow increasingly alert and agitated.
While nipples and bottles may appear similar in some ways, your baby actually has to make a different thrusting movement to get milk from your breast versus a bottle.
If you plan to use a bottle or pacifiers alongside breastfeeding, hold off until you’re established in a good breastfeeding routine. This avoids nipple confusion and ensures your baby gets the nourishment they need.
Many new moms are concerned about how much milk they’re producing. If you’re struggling with milk supply, feeding your baby frequently often helps boost it naturally. Our team may also recommend breast pumping at regular intervals to boost your breast milk supply.
Certain foods may help increase milk supply, such as oatmeal, fennel, and dark green veggies to name a few. Staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, too. One way to make sure you do so is drinking a glass of water either before or after each breastfeeding session.
If possible, breastfeed within an hour of giving birth. It helps establish an emotional bond between you and your baby, and also has health benefits.
Early breastfeeding promotes the release of golden colostrum, the first milk that offers ideal nutrition and a tremendous immunity boost for your baby. Our team is happy to help you prepare for breastfeeding so you can start early and get these benefits.
At 4th Trimester Place, our postpartum specialists tailor care for the unique needs of every mom. If you need help breastfeeding or have any other postpartum issue, reach out to our compassionate team at 850-749-3228 or contact us online now.