When Ella was 3.5 months old, breastfeeding started getting easier for me. It was a hard road, cracked painful nipples, and thrush from hell. I recommend learning as much as possible about breastfeeding before the birth of your baby, also gathering as many resources as possible such as a doula, lactation educator or consultant, and lastly a doctor that is supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding.
These tips can help you get started with breastfeeding baby:
1.Start nursing within an hour after delivery: Your first milk is colostrum a thick golden liquid that is full of antibodies for baby this milk will line and protect her stomach. If possible initiate breastfeeding within an hour after your birth by practicing skin to skin. Skin to skin is possible even if you have a c-section talk to your delivery nurse about skin to skin.
2. The right positioning: The baby’s mouth should be wide open, with the nipple as far back into her mouth as possible. This minimizes soreness for mom. A nurse, midwife, or doula can help her find a comfortable nursing position.
3. Nurse your baby on demand: Newborns need to nurse frequently, about every two hours, and not on any strict schedule. This will stimulate the mother’s breasts to produce plenty of milk. Nurse your baby until she looks lethargic and tipsy from her satisfying milk. If she falls asleep wake her up and offer the other breast. Babies love to sleep but if you want to sleep too its best to get their tummies good and full.
4. Delay artificial nipples: Babies love to suck and you might be intimidated by their sucking machines however try to wait to introduce a pacifier or bottle, for a baby learning the ropes it can be confusing to them to have different shaped nipples in their mouth. Wait at least 3-6 weeks to introduce a new nipple.
5. Cracked nipples: If it hurts take her off! You should not feel pain for an entire feed, you might feel discomfort when she first latches but it should ease up after a minute or two. Its all about proper positioning at the breast the nipple should be far back in her mouth, chin into chest and little areola at the top and none at the bottom of her mouth. There are lots of creams and potions for cracked nipples, for serious pain use APNO cream check out Dr. Jack Newmans website for more information.
6. Engorged breasts: A new mother usually produces lots of milk, making her breasts big, hard and painful for a few days. To relieve this engorgement, feed the baby frequently and on demand until your body adjusts and produces only what she needs. In the meantime the best and easy way to relieve pain is to add water to a newborn diaper and put in freezer, once frozen put in your bra for half an hour on and off its a great relief!
7. Don’t forget to eat!: Nutrition is so important during breastfeeding, for your health and energy you should eat 500 extra calories a day. Your baby will get what she needs but will take it from you, don’t forget to eat lots of fruits, veggies and protein organic if possible and drink lots of purified water at least 2 litres a day. When breastfeeding you will get extremely thirsty keep a water bottle beside your nursing station.
Support! I can’t say enough about support, I got through my breastfeeding problems by having a doula and lactation consultant, don’t forget to book your doula today!