This month is national breastfeeding month, so we are focusing some of our content around breastfeeding. Last week we discussed nursing bras and because Motherhood Center is the number one rated breastfeeding center in Houston, we wanted to share some of our expertise and breastfeeding tips every new mom should know!
- Get Help! Take a class or book some time with a lactation consultant. At Motherhood Center we offer a breastfeeding class and have a lactation consultant on staff who will come to your home to give you all the help you need.
- Purchase a nursing bra that fits you well. Get fitted for a bra close to your due date. Try to avoid underwire bras that can put pressure on your breast tissue and increase the risk of getting clogged ducts. The Motherhood Center offers bra fitting services.
- Create a breastfeeding space. Find a quiet and cool place in your home where you can focus on breastfeeding when the baby comes. Set it up with burp cloths, a breastfeeding pillow, and a side table to put your, snacks and water on and anything else you might need.
- Tell the Hospital What You Want. Tell the nurse you want the baby in the room with you and that you are only going to be breastfeeding. Plan on doing skin to skin with the baby during all feeds for the first few weeks and any other time possible.
- Breastfeeding should not hurt. Yes, you probably will have sore nipples the first week to ten days or so, but that should just be soreness not pain. Pain is never normal.
- Don’t wait to get help. While some babies latch on naturally, some don’t. If you are experiencing pain when you breastfeed, or are having difficulty with the latch and positioning ask the nurse to call in a lactation specialist to help you get your baby to latch on correctly. Have them point out what a swallow looks like and sounds like when the baby is nursing. Babies can suck 24 hours a day, but if they are not swallowing they are not transferring milk.
- Start breastfeeding within an hour after birth. The sooner you start the better. The first milk you make is called colostrum and it is full of antibodies to protect your newborn.
- Enlist your partner to help. Your number one support person is the number one indicator of how long you will breastfeed your baby. The emotional support they provide is extremely important to a new mom. Also, have them with you when you speak to the lactation consultant. They can help an exhausted mom remember everything being taught and learn themselves what is considered normal with breastfeeding.
- Get your baby to the breast as soon as they start showing early feeding cues. The calmer they are, the easier it is to work with them at the breast.
- Position yourself and baby correctly. Mom gets completely comfortable and baby comes to mom. The baby should be up high right across from the breasts with mom not having to lean over the baby at all. Use a nursing stool if needed to be able to get your feet flat in a comfortable position. Point your nipple at the baby’s upper lip or nose and make sure their stomachs are touching yours. This puts the baby’s head in the perfect position to latch on.
- If you are holding your breast keep your fingers far away from the areola. This is baby zone and you don’t want your hand in the way of them being able to go on with a wide open mouth. Hold your breast from underneath because this allows the breast to line up with the baby’s mouth like a sandwich.
- Move the baby quickly and swiftly to the breast when they have a wide open mouth. Baby comes to mom. The only thing that moves is the baby.Mom should not take breast to the baby. The push to bring baby to the breast should be on their back and shoulders, not their head. This allows them to approach the breast chin first and keeps the nipple in the proper position of going up and back barely making it under their top lip and keeps the bottom lip as far from the nipple as possible.
- Don’t watch the clock. Allow your baby to stay on your breast as long as they are still swallowing. Time means nothing depending on what the baby is doing while on the breast. When the baby is not swallowing any longer, take them off, burp, change the diaper and be sure they are good and awake and put them on the second breast.
- Keep track of the number of feeds and the number of wet and poopy diapers for the first few weeks. You will never be able to remember all of it because you are so tired, and if you are having difficulties, this information is very important. Do this in whatever way is easiest for you. Write it down with check marks on a piece of paper, use ready made charts, or use a breastfeeding app.
- Nurse both breasts at a feed. By far the majority of babies need both breasts at a feed to gain weight well and build milk supply. Breastfed babies need 8-12 feeds in 24 hours for the first 4-6 weeks, then it varies greatly from baby to baby.
- Keep baby awake and active at the breast. Skin to skin helps them stay awake. Also, a good trick is to take their upper arm and stretch it out or do a chicken wing motion to get them swallowing again. If needed, take them off and wake them up good before putting the baby back onto the breast.
- Babies will normally lose 5-8% of their birth weight. Once they start gaining weight, which is usually around day 5 they need to gain 1 ounce every 24 hours. The baby should always be weighed naked and before a feed. The Motherhood Center has a baby scale that you are more than welcome to come in and use any time.
- Breastfeeding moms need an extra 500 calories a day, which is actually more than you need when pregnant. A well rounded healthy diet with extra protein and calcium is recommended. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins the entire time you breastfeed. Listen to your body. If you are hungry or thirsty you need more calories and fluids. But mom’s forget to eat and drink because they are so busy and tired, so be sure someone is taking care of the mom.
- Peppermint decreases milk supply.
- A rental hospital grade pump is what is recommended if mom is having specific issues. A mom of multiples, a mom that has a low milk supply, or a mom who is trying to build a milk supply without a baby on the breast for whatever reason. Or just because you want to be sure you are using a great pump. The Motherhood Center has hospital grade breast pumps for rent.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience. If you need help with breastfeeding contact Motherhood Center at 713-963-8880, and we can help with all your breastfeeding needs by providing advice and support.