4 Tips on Breastfeeding for New Moms
Breastfeeding a newborn has been shown to provide amazing health benefits to both a mother and her baby. In spite of this fact, nursing a baby is a journey that can contain many obstacles that a new mom might not expect. It isn’t surprising that many become discouraged and give up during this trying time. As you prepare for this rewarding challenge, keep these tips in mind that will help boost your confidence and calm your fears.
Take a Breastfeeding Class
Although there are many helpful and informative books on nursing, they cannot compare to a class that is taught by an experienced lactation consultant. An instructor can demonstrate nursing positions, answer specific questions, and give personalized advice that goes beyond a reference manual.
Classes are usually quite detailed. A professional consultant will give you advice and answer questions based on your goals and concerns. She will also steer you in the right direction regarding products, such as specific brands of pumps and bottles, that a book will not. She will provide you with contact information so that you will have a person you can talk to, once the baby is born, regarding any nursing difficulties or questions.
Nursing a Baby is Natural, but Might Not Come Naturally
You might assume that since breastfeeding is natural and beneficial that the process will come naturally once the baby is in your arms. Unfortunately, this is not always true.
Throughout most of our history as human beings, we have nursed our children openly while other generations could witness the process. But those of us in this modern-day, Western world are not afforded this opportunity.
This is why it is important for you to seek help from experienced moms who are willing to share and guide you through the experience. If you don’t have a friend or family member to help you, there are a number of alternatives. Lactation consultants and breastfeeding groups, like the La Leche League, are made up of people who are passionate about the subject of nursing and are eager to support new mothers.
Let Your Newborn Explore New Territory
Everything is new to a newborn baby. Does that sound obvious? There are many sensations and abilities that we take for granted since we have been feeling and practicing them for so long. Touching, breathing, tasting, sucking, and smelling are just several of the abilities that a newborn is just beginning to figure out.
A new mom who doesn’t keep this in mind will get frustrated when her baby doesn’t latch on right away. Yes, your baby may become upset, but when you are anxious and distressed your baby can sense it. This stress also affects your milk supply, so try to relax and be patient. Allow your baby some time to learn and explore.
Lack of Let-Down Sensation Does Not Mean a Low Supply
You will experience a major influx of milk in the first 10 days after delivery that may continue, to one degree or another, for weeks or even months after your child is born. This sensation, along with a feeling of “fullness”, tends to subside. It is not unusual for a new mom to panic, wondering if she is even still producing breast milk.
Nature is nothing if not efficient. Your body will adjust to the needs of your baby without wasting energy and nutrients on milk that will not be used. Having said that, always monitor your baby’s growth. If there is evidence of an inability to thrive, or your baby isn’t gaining weight at a healthy pace, this may be an indication of a lack of milk production.
A nutrient-dense diet is important for good milk production. Breast milk is over 50% saturated fat, and a diet that has plenty of fats is essential for healthy development. It is an important nutrient for brain and eye development, healthy cells, and the protection of nerve fibers. Salmon, grass-fed beef, and certain oils, such as olive and coconut, are a few examples of healthy sources of fat.
You know “breast is best”, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the easiest. Doing what is best for your baby is not often the easiest path, but the rewards are worth your added effort. Remember to seek out people who will support you as you work through the challenge of developing a nursing relationship with your baby. Learn as much as you can in order to increase your confidence while calming your fears.