At West Des Moines OBGYN we believe Fed is Best! We will support you in whatever way you choose to feed your baby. For some people, the benefits of breastfeeding make all the challenges worth it in the end. For example, your breast milk contains the perfect amount of healthy nutrients for your baby. Overall, breast milk is easier to digest compared to commercial formula. The antibodies found in breast milk also boost your baby’s immune system. These are just a few examples of how your baby will benefit if you choose to breastfeed.
However, breastfeeding is no walk in the park. If you decide to give breastfeeding a shot, a little bit of patience and some planning can help increase your chance of success. Here we have listed five proven tips to help you in those early breastfeeding days.
Don’t Be Scared To Ask For Help
Breastfeeding is tough, and it can be difficult to grasp onto, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to have questions and want to learn more techniques and ways to help feed you.
Following delivery, we highly suggest you meet with a lactation consultant while you remain in the hospital to go over any questions you may have. Your lactation consultant can also check the baby’s latch and make sure you are comfortable. They can help fit you with the properly sized flange for your pump. There are also breastfeeding support groups.
When it’s time to leave the hospital, we suggest setting up a specific area or room where you will breastfeed your baby. You will both need to be comfortable. So, having a nice chair, blanket, and pillow will all come in handy. Breastfeeding can take a lot out of you physically. Therefore, we also recommend having snacks and water near you when you are nursing.
Let Your Baby Help Guide The Process
Your baby will give off cues when they are hungry. So, make sure you pay extra attention so they don’t become exceedingly hungry and upset. When it’s time to eat, let your baby set the pace. Newborns will more than likely need to be fed every two or three hours. Therefore, always be looking for signs of hunger. Hunger signs can include restlessness, lip pursing/twitching, and sucking motions.
After you feed with one breast, make sure you burp your baby before switching to the other one. Burping in between feedings will help get rid of gas and air. If your baby only wants to eat on one side during a feeding, be sure to pump the other side so it does not become engorged. You may also look into a Haaka pump to place on the opposite breast to catch letdown to store for later use.
Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Your personal health can affect your baby’s, so making sure you are healthy is highly important. When breastfeeding, especially, make sure you do the following things:
- Don’t Smoke
- Eat Well
- Stay Hydrated
- Get Plenty of Rest
If you are on any medications or supplements, make sure you let your doctor know. Some medications and supplements can harm your baby and/or your milk supply. Make sure you get everything checked by a health professional before continuing.
Avoid Nipple Confusion
Especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding, try to avoid pacifiers and bottles until breastfeeding is well established. When it comes to sucking on a bottle or pacifier, the motions are different compared to a nipple. Consequently, resulting in your baby getting confused. A pacifier also suppresses hunger cues and will take time away from the breast during a critical time. Avoiding pacifiers until your baby is comfortable breastfeeding is crucial.
Sore Nipples Remedies: One of the first things you will notice from breastfeeding is sore nipples. This soreness is inevitable, but there are some great cream and ointments out there that help. You can also look into silver cups. These cups have been proven to help with nipple soreness with anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Breastfeeding Pillows: While breastfeeding, you will be sitting for a long time so making sure you and baby are comfortable is crucial. Breastfeeding pillows wrap around your whole body and help you stay comfortable while keeping your baby properly positioned.
- Tracking: Whether you decide to use an app or a pen and paper, tracking your feeding time will be very important during those first few weeks of nursing. Tracking feedings can help you and your baby form an eating schedule and keep you from getting engorged.
If you find breastfeeding a lot harder than you imagined, you are not alone so try not to get discouraged. Feeding a newborn baby every few hours can be tiring. However, try to stay positive and remember with time it will become routine. Once you start producing more milk, breastfeeding will begin to feel more natural. Take breastfeeding a week at a time and reevaluate as you go. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
At West Des Moines OBGYN, our priority is you and your baby. We will always put your needs first and develop the appropriate care plan for you. Schedule an appointment today to speak with your OBGYN about questions or problems you are having with nursing.