Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to nourish your baby and has countless benefits for both of you. But breastfeeding can also be challenging – especially in the beginning – and finding a good flow might take some time. If you’re struggling, this breastfeeding guide will help you find comfort during the early and most stressful days of nursing.
Work on positioning and latching. A poor latch is the cause of many common breastfeeding issues, so it’s worth spending a little extra time on getting your baby’s latch and position right. To get a good latch, the baby has to open its mouth wide and take the nipple deep into the back of its mouth. If you’re not sure that your baby is latched on properly, be sure to ask a midwife or lactation specialist for help before you leave the hospital or contact La Leche League if you need help at home.
Feed on demand. Newborns need to eat frequently, sometimes as often as every hour during the first few days and every two hours for the first few weeks. Let your baby eat as often as they want, remember that you can’t overfeed a breastfed baby.
Encourage skin-to-skin contact. Putting your naked baby on your bare chest promotes attachment and breastfeeding, since it supports the baby’s natural reflexes to latch on. It also has a comforting and calming effect.
Hold off on the dummy. A dummy can help satisfy your baby’s need for sucking but hold off on introducing it until breastfeeding is well established, typically when the baby is three to four weeks old. Sucking on a dummy or bottle is different from sucking on a nipple and might cause the baby to become confused if introduced too early.
Take care of your nipples. Sore and cracked nipples are common among breastfeeding mothers and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. A poor latch is often to blame when it comes to sore nipples, so try some different positions and latching techniques and see if that helps. Using Multi Mam Compresses can also help relieve soreness and pain, as well as support the natural healing process.
Keep it healthy. A healthy lifestyle and sound food choices will help boost your energy levels and breastmilk production while breastfeeding. Try to eat a diet that’s rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and remember to hydrate, for example by drinking a glass of water every or every other time you breastfeed. It’s also important to get some rest, so try to nap when the baby naps and don’t be afraid to ask your partner or another caregiver for help if you need a break.