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Feeding your baby breast milk can offer many benefits, from antibodies that strengthen your baby’s immune system to a perfectly balanced combination of vitamins, protein, and fat for optimal digestion. But many new moms struggle with breastfeeding. According to the CDC, about 84% of women start off breastfeeding their newborns, but by the 6-month mark only 26% are still exclusively breastfeeding. While some women end their breastfeeding journey because of work schedules or health challenges, a larger number stop because of frustration caused by multiple unsuccessful attempts.
At Belly Bandit, we’re dedicated to helping you feel comfortable and confident through every stage of motherhood—and that includes breastfeeding. Here are our top ten breastfeeding tips for new mothers:
You don’t have to wait until your baby arrives to start your breastfeeding journey. There are tons of resources available including books, video tutorials, and even breastfeeding classes to help jumpstart your education. Breastfeeding is a difficult skill to master, and every baby you breastfeed will be a little bit different. Try to learn as much as you can before your baby’s arrival so you’re better prepared for the challenges you will face as you and your baby learn to breastfeed together.
One of the best breastfeeding newborn tips is to make sure your baby is properly latched. Signs of a good latch include hearing or seeing your baby swallowing, not being able to see your nipple, and feeling the baby’s tongue cup underneath your nipple and breast. Most importantly, a good latch should be painless. If it feels uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to put your finger in your baby’s mouth so they break away and then relatch.
One of the best things you can do when breastfeeding a newborn is to follow baby's lead. They’ll tell you when they are starting to get hungry and how long they want to nurse for. Don’t try to force your baby into a specific schedule. Instead, try to learn what your baby’s cues are and adapt to the routine their body is already following. The sooner you can learn to recognize these cues, the easier nursing will be for both of you.
The key to successful breastfeeding is to relax—that goes for you and the baby. It’s much easier to relax when you’re in a comfortable position, so find yourself a recliner or a supportive chair and something to put your feet up on so you can lean back and settle in.
Your baby will be most comfortable when held horizontal to your body. Use pillows or blankets to help support them so you aren’t hunching over or straining uncomfortably to hold their weight. Feel free to repurpose your Belly Bandit® S.O.S. Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow for a little extra nursing support.
For many moms, the new baby becomes first priority. However, it’s important to remember to maintain your own health and well-being. Try to exercise daily and eat a well-balanced diet to help give your body the energy it needs to keep producing milk. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Try to drink at least one additional glass of water every time you breastfeed.
It’s normal and very common for your nipples and the surrounding skin to become sensitive and sore while breastfeeding. This soreness often makes breastfeeding painful and uncomfortable. Two of our best breastfeeding tips for pain treatment are to regularly use nipple cream and invest in some hot/cold gel packs. Applying nipple cream before and after every feeding can help soothe nipple soreness and skin irritation, while hot/cold gel packs can help reduce swelling.
You are not alone in your breastfeeding journey! If you’re struggling, reach out for help. Many women find comfort in speaking with a family member or close friend about how to breastfeed. Additionally, most hospitals have nursing specialists who can show you how to properly latch your baby. There are also a variety of support groups and private breastfeeding coaching programs available to help you become a pro at breastfeeding.
Using the right nursing support products can make all the difference! Some of our favorite products to help with breastfeeding are:
It’s easy to overthink breastfeeding and worry about not having enough milk. However, your body is designed to respond to your baby’s demand. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. One great breastfeeding tip for producing more milk is to place a warm compress on your chest for several minutes before you feed. The warmth helps your milk come down so your baby can nurse more easily.
Your first time breastfeeding will probably be a bit rough—and that’s okay! Be patient with yourself. You and your baby are both learning, and practice makes perfect. If you have a particularly rough nursing session, don’t be afraid to give your baby a bottle, take a break, and try again later.
As a new mother, breastfeeding can be intimidating. However, once you learn how to do it properly, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood. So start doing your research, ask for help if you need it, and practice, practice, practice!
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