While it is a natural process, breastfeeding is still a tricky skill to master. It pays to do your homework before the little one arrives.
Keep in mind that after birth, you will be exhausted. It might be the right time to start learning how you should breastfeed.
Instead, take some time out now, and gather information on nursing so you know the basics of how it’s done.
Meet with a lactation consultant beforehand and get some information. A lot of mothers have trouble with breastfeeding in the earlier days because of cracked or sore nipples, blocked milk ducts, mastitis and thrush. Knowing what you should do in those cases now will save you from the stress later.
Although you can also ask a friend whose nursing if you can watch, it’s better to go to a breastfeeding support group and see how other mothers feed their babies. Take notes on how they hold their baby and what position is most comfortable for them.
The first hour after your baby is born is crucial. Their senses – hearing, touching, smelling and seeing – are wired to search for your breast. When they’re allowed to do so, they’ll latch on by themselves. Follow your own instincts and hold them in a way so they latch early on.
Your nurse is there for a reason. If the latch hurts, call them immediately and get help on the right way to latch, otherwise your nipple could get injured.
Babies like to feel comforted from all sides, including their feet when they breastfeed. Swaddle them properly and tuck their feet under your arm, or snuggle your side into a pillow so their feet can feel a hard base.
Don’t be worried if your baby takes a big gulp. Sit upright, bring your little one to your chest once their mouth is open, push their shoulders back to bring them to you and support your nipple into their mouth so that it fills the roof. De-latch if it hurts and re-position.
Your stomach should be touching theirs. This will ensure that they’re not turning their head to latch on. Point your nipple at their nose, not their mouth. This way, your baby will have to lift their head up. At this time, don’t push the back of their head.
Aside from a good nursing pillow and an electric breast pump, buy some maternity nursing gowns as well. T-shirts and dresses can be a bother when you need to pull up your top every hour or so. Wearing a nursing gown or a 4-in-1 nursing cover will make breastfeeding much easier and comfortable.
According to a report by the CDC, 79% of newborns breastfeed, but only 49% are able to continue breastfeeding after the 6-month mark because mothers are not able to breastfeed properly.
With these tips, you’ll be able to get the help you need so that your little one can get the nourishment they need.