So many moms choose to breastfeed their babies, yet many of these moms find they are struggling soon after birth. I was one of these moms. I had a plan, education, all the tools I thought I needed, but I struggled. I really, really struggled with breastfeeding. Luckily, I found a great breastfeeding support team, and we persevered and managed to meet and exceed my breastfeeding goals. I did change my goals a bit along the way, but that’s okay! All moms have different breastfeeding goals. I always encourage moms to make both short-term and long-term goals. The more confident you are in your breastfeeding relationship, the more successful you’ll feel. Every little milestone counts, whether its 2 days or 2 years, I want to share a few tips to help you meet your goals.
Meet with a lactation support professional.
It is always a good idea to meet with a lactation support person soon after baby is born. If you give birth in a hospital setting, someone is often available in the hospital to meet with you there. They can assess your latch and give you one on one assistance and tips as needed.
Breastfeed frequently and on demand.
Babies, especially newborns, cannot be nursed too often! Follow your baby’s hunger cues, and allow baby to nurse as often as needed. At a minimum, baby should be nursing 8-12 times per 24 hours. Remember that babies will nurse for hunger, thirst, and comfort.
Practice a deep, comfortable latch.
Hold baby close with his/her belly against yours. You want baby’s body to stay in alignment. Hips, belly, and shoulders should all be facing you. Line up baby’s nose to your nipple. Baby will naturally tilt the head back slightly and open the mouth wide. This is when you’ll bring baby straight on to the nipple to latch. The latch should be asymmetrical with baby taking in more of the lower part of the breast/areola. The Lips should be flanged out.
Nurture your baby close to you.
Skin-to-skin contact triggers baby’s instincts for breastfeeding. It is especially important in the first hour after birth. Skin-to-skin contact helps you bond, boosts your milk supply, and helps release hormones that will help make you feel happy and relaxed.
When in doubt, find your village!
There are free breastfeeding support groups all over the United States and in other countries. For our local mamas in St. Louis, join us at the Cotton Babies store Tuesday mornings at 10:00a.m. or Thursday evenings at 5:30p.m. Peer to peer support can make a huge difference in boosting your confidence and helping you meet your goals.