When we’re imagining our life with a newborn, there’s always this picture-perfect scenario: There’s us, sans worries, holding our precious little one in our arms, feeding them the most precious liquid they can get – a mother’s milk. As much as we like to think of the breastfeeding journey as a simple, easy-to-do thing that comes naturally, things aren’t always ideal and trouble-free. And it’s understandable. After all, this is a completely new experience for a new mom and her baby. What’s important is that you do your best, and to not give up at the first obstacle.
If you’re worried about getting things right or simply need some guidance about this tricky part of becoming a mom, fear not! Here’s a list of some useful breastfeeding tips for beginners that will help you start this new, exciting chapter off on the right foot.
Find a breastfeeding position that works for you
First things first, when starting off your breastfeeding journey, it’s important that you find a comfortable position for yourself. There are several positions you can try, from lying on the side to laid-back nursing to cradle and rugby hold. If you’ve had a C-section, you may find the side-lying position the most comfortable. This position is also great for those night feedings, too.
If your baby is having difficulties latching on, you may want to give cross-cradle hold position a shot. The same goes for babies who were born prematurely. As for the twins, you may want to try nursing your little ones using the football hold method. Once you manage to get a good latch, you can try breastfeeding in a cradle hold position.
Practice getting a good latch
This is one of the trickiest parts of many moms’ breastfeeding journey. While lactation experts agree that breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, oftentimes, this simply isn’t the case. The main reason why many new moms struggle with breastfeeding and find it painful is due to poor latching. This is why it’s so important that you practice getting a good latch.
After all, you want your baby to get the most milk she can, and they can’t do that if they don’t latch on properly. Some of the signs to watch out for include sore or cracked nipples and smacking sounds during the feeding. If your baby seems hungry even after you’ve breastfed her or produces less than six wet diapers per day, this could also indicate a poor latch.
Educate yourself as much as possible
As a new mom, it’s easy to get into panic mode given all the information you’re surrounded with. From unsolicited advice to numerous articles and studies, the entire process can start to feel overwhelming. This is why it’s important that you educate yourself the right way and pay attention to whose advice you’re listening to.
When it comes to learning the most essential breastfeeding tips there are, your safest bet is to consult experts in the field. Be it a lactation consultant, a maternity nurse, or a doula, parenting support acts as a helping hand when you’re struggling the most. They can provide practical knowledge and talk to you from years’ worth of experience, both of which are priceless.
Arm yourself with patience
Breastfeeding is truly an art form in its own right, and getting started isn’t always as smooth as we expect. In fact, the difficulties they experience while trying to breastfeed is why many moms decide to give up altogether and switch to formula. Some may find it more convenient to pump instead of breastfeeding, while others choose to combine the two. Over time, you’ll figure out what works best for you.
What’s important is that you remember that breastfeeding is a process. And just like any other process, it involves trial and error. Prepare yourself mentally, keep calm, and arm yourself with lots of patience. If you manage to get through those first eight weeks – which tend to be the most difficult ones – you can consider yourself successful, and you and your little one will be off to a good start.
When it comes to breastfeeding, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone has their own preferences, and what works for one may not work for another. Besides, this is something new to both you and your baby. Therefore, it’s no wonder you two will need some practice until you get it right. With these few tips in mind, you’ll be able to enter the exciting, new motherhood phase with confidence and secure an amazing bonding experience for yourself and your little one.