Whether you are a brand new mom or have been a mom for years and have a brand new baby, breastfeeding can seem overwhelming at times! I’m going to give my top five breastfeeding tips for new moms today– they’ll help you get off on the right start and know what to do if things get tricky.
1. Make sure you have a support system.
Research shows that Moms without support often wean in the first week postpartum. Create a small support circle you can call on in those early days, weeks, and months with a new baby. A supportive partner, family member, neighbor, or online forum can really be a game changer!
2. Don’t suffer in pain!
Some nipple soreness is normal, due to postpartum hormone changes and your breast tissue stretching. This is common the first few weeks. The pain should not last more than 60 seconds or be a toe-curling pain. This is called the “60 second rule”. If you have “ouch-ouch-ouch!” pain that lasts longer than 60 seconds, seek some professional help to make sure that baby is latching well. Keep calm and call an IBCLC!
3. Breastfeed often!
For the first few weeks or even months, new moms might feel like they’re feeding baby all the time. I tell moms that you can’t nurse too often, but you can nurse too little. The first couple of weeks are very important in establishing your milk supply for the whole time you breastfeed. Additionally, baby’s tummy is small and breastmilk is digested quickly. That’s a recipe for frequent feeding! Aim to feed your baby 8-12+ times in 24 hours. Remember that practice makes perfect, so breastfeed often!
4. The pump is a tool, not a necessity.
If you want to pump to have some extra milk in the freezer or if you plan to return to work, you will likely want to get a pump. But that doesn’t mean you need to start using it that first week or two home from the hospital! If baby is latching and breastfeeding is going well, you may just want to keep it simple rather than introducing the pump right off. Many women think that they should pump due to engorgement but it is generally more effective to hand express when new moms feel engorged. Take it one thing at a time; not every mom needs to introduce the pump right off the bat!
5. Practice nursing in public, at home.
Many moms are very nervous to breastfeed in public! It can seem a little strange to lift your shirt in public for the first time, but remember that baby has to eat and the law is on your side! One way to ease your mind before that first public outing is to practice nursing in front of a mirror. Latch baby on in whatever clothes you are planning to wear and see what shows. You may be surprised how discreet public breastfeeding can be! If you’re uncomfortable showing your postpartum tummy or just want a little coverage, you can use a nursing tank that you pull down after you pull up your normal shirt. If you’re getting stir crazy at home with your new little one, don’t let the thought of breastfeeding in public be the reason you stay home!
I hope you find these tips helpful and let me know in the comments if you have a question or great tip to share!