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Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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a mom breastfeeding her baby

For breastfeeding moms, beginning the nursing process can feel overwhelming at first; however, understanding some pointers and tips can help make breastfeeding and nursing your newborn a successful and rewarding experience. The first thing to consider when getting ready for breastfeeding? Skin-to-skin contact with your little one. Close contact with your newborn is all part of the parent/child bonding experience. Additionally, holding your little one close can also help regulate his heart rate, temperature and even breathing for an easier transition out of the womb.

Best of all, these first few moments of skin-to-skin contact make a perfect time for first moments of breastfeeding and nursing. By holding your baby close, you will begin to notice that she will “root” around in search of your breast. Be sure to always ask your physician, nurse or midwife for help during your initial efforts to make the experience as seamless as possible.

What You Need to Know About First Milk

In the days immediately following delivery, your breasts will begin to produce “first milk,” a liquid that is highly concentrated in colostrum. This “power food” can play a significant role in your baby’s initial development as it passes on antibodies directly to your child to ward off sickness and infection, all while jump starting her tiny immune system.

While you may initially feel like the quantity of your first milk is low, it’s important to remember that with colostrum it really is all about the nourishing quality of this liquid. Many health experts believe that this precursor to breast milk is a superior option when compared to other newborn feeding alternatives. Most importantly, successfully breastfeeding your baby colostrum can help you solidify your nursing routine with your baby once your milk fully comes in.

Understanding Fore and Hind Milk When Breastfeeding and Nursing

Did you know that your milk actually changes and evolves throughout the course of a feeding? It’s true. The milk produced during the onset of a feeding is known as foremilk. Foremilk is categorized by its thin and watery appearance and is an indicator that hindmilk, or a richer, higher-fat breast milk is being produced for your child, waiting to be consumed at the proper time.

Throughout the feeding, it’s imperative to allow your child to drink as much as he wants, to ensure that he gets as much nutrient-rich hindmilk as he needs. Many moms find that allowing the child to drink from each breast during a feeding (or allowing for a diaper change or small nap in between) is a great way to ensure that their newborns get all the nourishment they need with each feeding. No matter what your method, be sure to always start with the opposite breast than the one you started with the last time you fed your little one.

Baby-Led Feeding: An Important Factor in Successful Breastfeeding and Nursing

Many moms quickly realize that breastfeeding is a prime example of supply and demand; the more often your child nurses, the more milk your body will produce. Because of this, listening to your baby’s cues and following baby-led feeding proves vital in successful nursing. In short, don’t decide when and how long your child will feed. Instead, feed her when she’s showing hunger signs and allow her to feed for as long as it takes for her to feel satiated. Remember, when it comes to determining how often to nurse your child, there really are no hard and fast rules. Their little stomachs often dictate small feeding multiple times a day, so cuddle up, chat, and enjoy these precious moments with your little one.

Other Breastfeeding and Nursing Tips

Following these other tips can help ensure that your breastfeeding and nursing attempts progress as smoothly as possible:

  • Engage in skin-to-skin contact as much as possible with your child.

  • Breastfeed as quickly as you can upon delivering your baby.

  • Ask a midwife or nurse for help holding the baby properly and to confirm proper latching at the breast.

  • Keep your baby by your bed to quickly respond to her feeding needs.

  • Don’t offer water to your breastfeeding newborn - she doesn’t need anything else beyond your milk.

  • Allow your little one to feed often and with no routine stop time.

 
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