A breastfeeding journey always comes with a set of questions and doubts for new moms. I know as a new mom, you may have so many doubts about breastmilk supply, position, and latching but you feel a little shy to ask from your family or gynecologist. It happened to me too, so I am sharing 11 breastfeeding tips for new moms that I used in my motherhood journey.
It is always advisable to keep your newborn only on breast milk for the first six months because these months are most crucial months for baby development & growth.
To make mommies aware about breastfeeding & it’s benefits, first week of august is celebrated as “Breastfeeding Week” world wide.
Breastfeeding is not only about feeding your baby, it’s about knowing the benefits of breastfeeding, nursing positions, correct latching technique, ways to improve breast milk supply, and making sure that the baby is getting enough milk.
11 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms
#1. Try Different Breastfeeding Positions
Try four popular breastfeeding positions to find the best for you and your baby while nursing. You can enjoy the nursing experience only once you and your little one feel relaxed.
A. Cradle Position
It is the most commonly used position soon after the baby is born. It requires you to cradle your baby’s head with the crook of your arm with your baby’s nose opposite your nipple. Use that hand to support your baby’s bottom. Tuck her lower arm under your own. Turn your baby on his side with his face, stomach directly facing you. Raise your baby to your breast. You can support your breast with your other hand.
Sit in a comfortable chair having armrests or on a bed with lots of pillows.
B. Cross Cradle Position
This position is similar to the cradle hold but your arms are positioned differently. In this position, you don’t support your baby’s head with the crook of your arm. Use the hand of that arm to support your breast. Your opposite arm should come around the back of your baby.
Like the cradle position, turn your baby on his side with his chest & tummy directly facing you. With your thumb and fingers behind his head and below his ears, guide the baby’s mouth to your breast. This position works best for an infant who has a latching issue.
C. Football Position
This position is best for moms having a c-section to protect your belly from the pressure/weight of your baby. Also a good position for moms having twins to feed both babies at the same time. In this position, you tuck your baby under your arm on the same side that you’re nursing from.
To achieve this position. First, place 1 or 2 pillows at your side, now position your baby at your side, under your arm. Your baby’s feet and legs should be tucked under your arm & pointing towards your back. Then lift your baby to your breast. Use your forearm to support her upper back & hand to support his head.
#D. Side Lying position
This position is best for night feeding. Also a comfortable position for moms having c-sections.
Start by lying on your side and turn your baby on his side with his chest & tummy directly facing you. Your baby should be positioned so his nose is opposite your nipple. You can use a pillow or blanket behind your baby to move toward you. Cradle your baby’s head with the hand of your bottom arm. You can support your breast with your other hand.
#2. Best Nursing Position For Twins
Football/Clutch Hold: Clutch hold is a common position for nursing twins. You will bring babies up to the breast on each side while baby’s stomach wraps around your body to the side. You can use the pillow underneath for support.
Other Nursing Positions for Twins are
- Cradle Hold
- Clutch and Cradle
- Laidback Nursing
- Nursing Lying Down
#3. Correct Latching
If your baby has not latched properly then nursing can be painful for you & for your newborn. When a comfortable position & CORRECT LATCH is obtained then breastfeeding can be an amazing experience for a mom and a baby.
First, you must hold your baby in a comfortable position so that baby can latch on your nipple easily, can suck it & drain out milk.
Following steps can help new moms to ensure the correct latch
- Make sure your baby’s mouth is wide open when latching on.
- Hold your breast with your hand so that baby has enough of the nipple to latch.
- Bring your baby’s mouth close to your nipple, trying to center your nipple in the baby’s mouth above the tongue.
- Baby is latched correctly when both of his lips are pursed outward around your nipple.
- Baby should have all of your nipple & darker skin around the nipple (areola) in his mouth.
- Make sure your baby’s nose is almost touching your breast. You can hear your baby swallowing.
Your baby will take a pause in between sucks. Sucks will increase as the baby grows & milk supply increase.
Initially baby gives 4-5 sucks then a pause of few seconds.
Your baby will release the breast on his own once he is full. If your baby doesn’t release your breast but the sucks then you can slip your finger in the side of your baby’s mouth & turn.
Babies who have not latched correctly, will frequently sleep at breast & seems dissatisfied. They are not getting a sufficient milk supply because of the poor latch.
In initial days, You may have sore nipples when your newborn tries to latch & suck your nipples. Once the baby has established a good latch, your nipple soreness & pain will reduce in 2-3 weeks.
#4. Listen Your baby
Every mom wants her baby is fed and content. Your baby will let you know that he is hungry by hunger cues. It is always best to nurse your baby on first signs of hunger like rooting, hands to mouth.
Usually, we think that If a baby is crying, one of the reasons could be hunger. But crying is the last hunger signal. Your baby gives you a lot of hunger cues that he is hungry, and ready to feed.
Baby signs of hunger
- Licking lips
- Opening and closing mouth
- Sucking on lips, hands, fingers, toys, toes
- Trying to position for nursing
#5. Make sure that the baby is getting enough milk
Here is no hard and fast rule to measure that baby is getting sufficient milk. Based on a few proven parameters, you can conclude that your baby is getting enough milk to meet his growing needs.
- Baby weight is increasing as per his growth chart. The baby usually regains his birth weight by the time he is 14 days old. And doubles his birth weight in 5 months.
- If your baby is getting sufficient milk then he will have 6 to 8 wet diapers in a day. There should be 3 or more stools per 24 hours. As the baby gets older, stools may occur less often and may even cause constipation if your baby is completely on breastfeed. You can use home remedies for constipation in place of medicine.
- Your breasts feel emptier and softer after nursing.
- Your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times a day. The length of each feeding can be different.
- The baby is active and appears satisfied after feeding.
- During the growth spurt, your baby will nurse more often than usual and for long durations.
#6. Use Ice Pack For Sore Nipples
Ice-pack treatment reduces swelling and pain. Place ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it with a cotton cloth. Apply this ice pack to each of your breasts for about 10 minutes. Do it multiple times in a day until you are feeling better.
#7. Take Gentle Massage For Breast Tenderness
While taking the shower, soap your breasts and gently massage the breasts from the center of your chest out to your armpits. This massage is really helpful to improve blood circulation & give relief from breast tenderness.
#8. Increase Breastmilk Supply
One of the most common yet important issues that new moms have is “how to increase the breast milk supply naturally. Some babies feel hungry even after nursing for 35-40 minutes which indicates that the breastmilk supply is not sufficient to satisfy the hunger of the baby.
Tips to increase breastmilk supply
- Nurse Frequently. More often and the longer your baby latches, the more breast milk will produce.
- Most babies preference for one side. But you must offer both sides at each feeding. This will help to maintain the milk supply in both breasts.
- Nursing mom to drink lots of fluids and eat well. Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Have a glass of water or juice before you start nursing.
- Multiple foods help to increase breast milk supply, especially a fiber-rich food diet. Eat fruits, raw vegetables, lentils, black beans, and whole grain foods. Women on a higher-fiber diet excreted more estrogen which helps to treat breast tenderness.
- Massage your breast before nursing. It also helps to reduce nursing pain when your baby sucks. Breast massage will clear milk ducts & will trigger a high milk supply.
#9. Be Patient
Let your baby nurse as long as he wants. Don’t be hurry. Help your baby get as much of your breast as possible into his mouth. Babies typically breastfeed for 15 to 20 minutes on each breast.
#10. Get comfortable
Be relaxed and calm while you breastfeed. Get yourself comfortable with pillows as needed to support your arms, head, and neck on a bed. You can use a comfortable chair with armrest & footer for foot-rest. Both baby and mom need rest so take power naps.
If you are facing any kind of breastfeeding issue then it’s okay. Don’t panic. It happens with most moms. Just be comfortable & relax. The more you feel relaxed, the more you can enjoy this amazing phase of nursing. It really helps to make a strong bond between the mom and baby.