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For new moms breastfeeding for the first eight weeks can be challenging.
During this stage, your baby is adapting to the new environment, and your body is recuperating.
If you can make it through those weeks, you will likely breastfeed your baby for later months. For the first two months, it’s advisable to breastfeed on demand to increase milk supply.
I won’t lie that there are times you will feel like giving up. Your nipples may crack, become sore, or you might get a blocked duct. However, there are numerous things you can do to be more comfortable when feeding. The hacks listed below will make your breastfeeding journey more manageable.
Help Baby Get Latched Correctly
Knowing how to get baby to latch correctly will help your baby get enough nutrition without the need to supplement.
Getting the latch right is imperative to ensuring your baby gets enough milk for his or her efforts.
If baby doesn’t latch correctly, baby will spend precious energy suckling for nothing.
This can lead to failure to thrive, cranky baby’s that refuse to nap, and breasts that need to be emptied via pump or hand expression.
If it’s your first time breastfeeding, you can learn how to get the proper latch by following step-by-step info graphs or watching How to Breastfeed Videos online.
To have a proper latch ensure that:
- You’re in a comfortable posture.
- You bring the baby closer to the breast and don’t bend forward to avoid back pain.
- Your baby’s nose should be located on the opposite side of the nipple.
- When placing the nipple on the baby’s mouth, ensure you place the nipple at the upper lip.
- You slightly tilt the baby’s back and confirm the chin is not on his chest.
- The baby has correctly opened the mouth.
- The bigger part of the lower areola is in the baby’s mouth.
- The lower and upper lips of your baby are flanged.
Wrangling a fussy baby to latch correctly can be a challenge, but if you follow the above steps your baby will settle down as soon as she realizes that milk is flowing easier.
It also may help to practice when the baby is calm and content and not screaming. Trying to get a baby to latch while screaming will lead to long-term latch refusal.
It’s crucial to encourage skin-to-skin contact, especially when breastfeeding because how you hold your baby will determine your milk supply as well as how to latch right.
Breastfeeding Can Be Painful At Times.
Breastfeeding in the first weeks is not a walk in the park.
You might experience pain which may be caused by a bad latch, sore nipples, cramping during breastfeeding, and through the letdown reflex.
A study shows that new moms who reported experiencing pain solved the issue within the first 18 days.
As you can see, it will take a while before your boobs stop hurting. To relieve the pain, you should identify the problem and resolve it as soon as possible.
For example, the letdown reflex is very common for the first weeks, and you’ll be uncomfortable, and your boobs will feel tingly.
You can use Lansinoh nipple cream to help in relieving sore nipples. In lieu of creams, try hand expressing some milk and rub it over the nipple and the areola part.
Let Your Breasts Out
When possible allow your breasts to breathe without a restrictive bra or shirt on. You can use lettuce leaves to ease the pain or check the local store if there are nipple shields that also help relieve your pain.
Be Ready When Your Milk Starts Coming In
Although it’s hard to know when your milk will fully come in, you can get prepared in advance to avoid waking up and finding yourself covered in milk.
Once you give birth, you’re encouraged to latch your baby so that you can signal the boobs to start making milk.
After giving birth, your breasts produce colostrum first, and then the milk starts coming in later.
You will notice when you’re milk is coming because your breasts will be fuller and heavier.
You can prepare ahead by buying nursing pads.
When the milk supply increases, you will feel uncomfortable, but the feeling will go away as your baby starts breastfeeding frequently.
Figure Out The Best Breastfeeding Position For You and Baby
Try breastfeeding your baby in many positions and settle for the one you like most.
However, as you select your ideal breastfeeding position, ensure you watch your back to avoid back pain problems.
Here is a list of options you can use:
Cradle hold. In this option, you allow your baby’s head to rest into the bend of the elbow holding the baby. Next, use the other hand to direct the breast to the baby’s mouth. When placing the breast, ensure you’ve correctly latched the baby.
Crossover. You support the baby’s head using the opposite hand from the breast. For example, if you’re nursing from the right breast, support the baby’s head using the left hand.
Football hold. If you’ve just come out from C-section, you can use this method so that there is no pressure put on your belly. In this method, you latch your baby when facing you, and the legs are placed under your arms.
Laidback hold. This position is ideal if you want to rest. In this position, you lie down in a slightly reclined position and ensure the baby’s tummy and your tummy are facing.
See also: Best Mini Fridges for Breast Milk
Invest in Good Nursing Bras
Nursing bras will be a life-saver throughout your nursing period. Invest in 2-3 good nursing bras which are comfortable and easy to adjust.
You can get beautiful nursing bras in your local market.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to buy nursing bras, you can tuck a clean cloth under your shirt while breastfeeding to make your breastfeeding session less messy.
Understand How Your Breasts Feel After Nursing
During the first two months, it’s likely you will feel that your boobs are full.
As your baby grows, you will feel that the boobs have less milk now.
You can monitor your progress by touching and feeling how the boobs are before you breastfeed and how they feel after breastfeeding.
Knowing how your boobs feel will also help you know when your baby has emptied one breast, and you can switch to the next one.
Track The Number Of Times You Breastfeed
You can monitor your baby’s feeding habits by writing down each baby’s feeding and the duration. We recommending using the Free Baby Tractor App on Android or iphone to keep track of nursing durations, wet diapers, and more.
A record will help ease your stress and make answering questions at baby’s checkups a breeze even when you are sleep-deprived.
Newborns will likely breastfeed at least eight times a day. However, the number of times a baby feeds can vary from baby to baby. Ensure you feed your baby each time they ask for it so that you can boost your milk supply and increase your baby’s weight.
Boost Your Milk Supply
As babies grow, so does their need to breastfeed more milk. There are different methods you can use to boost your milk supply.
Try these simple tips to increase your milk supply.
Drink a lot of water.
Drinking water ensures you stay hydrated, and it’s recommended to take some water each time you breastfeed your baby.
Increase the number of times, you nurse.
The more you breastfeed your baby, the higher the chances of increasing milk supply.
Breastfeed your baby at night.
Breasts produce more milk at night, and it’s advisable to take advantage of the situation to boost milk production.
Try eating food that boosts milk production.
Numerous foods boost lactation, such as carrots, leafy green vegetables, fenugreek, apricots, garlic, and oats. Also, you can bake yummy lactation cookies to increase your milk production.
Feed your baby frequently.
Babies tend to be fussy when hungry. If your baby is getting restless and crying a lot, you can breastfeed them. It’s advisable to breastfeed your baby frequently to improve milk supply.
Alternate Breasts When Feeding Baby
You might be tempted to feed your baby one breast, which causes lopsided whereby one breast produces more milk.
To avoid this, use a band or bracelet to track your breasts by marking the one you fed them last.
Watch Out For Blocked Ducts
It is common for breastfeeding moms to experience a blocked milk duct. When you have a blocked duct, you will likely experience a painful pump in the breast. If you don’t treat the blocked duct at an early stage, you can develop mastitis.
Read more about blocked milk ducts and how to treat them here.
Learn HowTo Express Milk
Once in a while, you will need to express excess breast milk to relieve some pressure from your breast.
Learning how to express breast milk will save you big time, especially if you don’t have a breast pump.
To express breast milk using your hands, follow these steps:
- Place a clean cup on the breast using one hand and the other hand to form a C shape.
- The shape should be created using your forefinger and thumb, and gently squeeze your breast.
- Ensure you keep your thumb and finger near the areola.
- Gently release the pressure and continue with the same pattern until you’ve expressed excess milk.
Invest In A Good Breast Pump
If you have a busy schedule and can’t make it to breastfeed your baby frequently, you can invest in a good breast pump to help you in expressing your milk. Moms everywhere are finding freedom with using Hands-Free Breast Pump. Allowing moms the flexibility to pump and do errands and chores on their schedule.
Check out our article on Hands-free Breast Pumps here.
We also recommend using a Haakaa to catch and save the liquid gold from the letdown on the breast that the baby isn’t drinking from. This helps start a freezer supply for if and when you need a sitter or are returning to work.
Ensure Your Baby Gets Weighed Regularly
Who wouldn’t like to monitor her baby’s progress?
It’s advisable to get your baby weighed regularly so that you can know if you’re on the right track or not.
Most pediatricians use a bell graph to make sure babies are remaining on a proper growth track.
However, if you notice that your baby’s weight is dropping, you can consult your doctor to give you the way forward.
Babies will lose weight if their mothers don’t have enough milk or when they are not latching correctly.
To avoid such problems, ensure your baby latch correctly to increase the milk supply.
Count The Wet Diapers
A newborn will likely fill multiple diapers because they wee and poop frequently. If you find that your baby is not pooping and urinating quite often, it’s likely they are not feeding properly. You can check with your doctor to know if you have a low milk supply or not.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Are you worried that your boobs are so small that your baby won’t get enough milk? The size of the boobs doesn’t matter because milk is produced in the glandular tissue. Most moms have enough glandular tissue that produces enough milk.
Cluster feeding is when your baby wants to breastfeed a lot. During these sessions, your baby will be fussier and will cry more. It’s advisable to let them feed whenever they like to. A newborn can be on your breast for even one hour or more. Cluster feeding is helpful since it stimulates the production of breast milk.
Set Up A Breastfeeding Kit
Babies tend to breastfeed for a longer time, and it’s not good to keep on disturbing their feeding time. Before you start breastfeeding, ensure you have all the things you’ll need close by. Here are things you should keep closer to you when breastfeeding.
A water bottle in case you get thirsty.
Snacks such as fruits or energy bars.
Phone, a charger, and a remote.
Several nursing pads.
A nipple cream in case you get sore nipples
Ask Someone To Help With Housework And Errands.
Breastfeeding is incredible but comes with its challenges. You will likely wake up at the wee hours to breastfeed, and you get exhausted pretty easily. To get enough rest, ensure you have someone to help you with other household chores like cooking. You can also save time by ordering groceries and have them delivered to your home.
Join A Local Support Network
Join the local breastfeeding support group so that you can spend some time with moms in similar situations. You will learn a lot as well as get emotional support. If there is no local support group, there are numerous online breastfeeding courses you can enroll into and learn how to breastfeed and take care of your baby.
Stick to your routine
Breastfeeding is not a walk in the park, and you can be tempted to stop in the way. Sore nipples, blocked ducts, and sleepless nights can make you stop breastfeeding. However, if you want your baby to have all the breastfeeding benefits, it’s advisable to persevere. Know how to latch correctly and ensure you feed your baby as often as they want to.
There are many breastfeeding hacks that you can try out. If you get shy when breastfeeding in public, you can try using the double shirt method. This method allows you to nurse your baby in public without covering them, and at the same time, you’re not exposing your body. If you can’t breastfeed your baby anymore, it’s okay to switch to formula. Don’t be disappointed that you didn’t make it because at least you tried.
Did you have trouble breastfeeding your baby?
Tell us what worked for you in the comments!
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