As a new mother, one of your initial acts of nurturing will likely involve feeding your baby. While breastfeeding is a natural process, it’s common to feel concerned and anxious about providing the necessary nourishment for your little one.
It’s normal to have numerous questions about the mechanics and techniques of breastfeeding. Our suggestion is to stay calm and remember that you and your baby will gradually become comfortable with it. Read on for a few valuable breastfeeding tips specifically tailored for new mothers.
1. Be Attuned to Your Baby’s Needs
Instead of waiting for your baby to cry, you can proactively respond to their needs by observing certain indicators. When your baby is hungry, they might exhibit the following signs:
- Repetitive turning or raising of the head
- Opening and closing of the mouth
- Protruding their tongue
- Sucking on nearby objects
If you notice these gestures from your baby, promptly offer your breast. By doing so, you’ll prevent them from having to exert extra effort to get your attention and foster a deeper connection in your mother/baby relationship.
2. Follow Your Baby’s Lead in Feeding Frequency and Duration
Your baby has a keen sense of their own needs, even more so than you at this stage. Allow them to dictate the frequency and duration of nursing sessions. Avoid imposing strict time intervals between feedings and denying them food simply because it hasn’t been long enough.
On the other hand, there’s no need to wake a sleeping baby for a feed just because a predetermined three-hour mark has passed. Let your little one rest peacefully and feed them when they wake naturally.
3. Ensure Comfort During Nursing Sessions
Spending extended periods holding your baby to your breast while they feed requires a comfortable setup. Unsupported positions can lead to back, shoulder, and neck pain, while constant movement can disrupt your baby’s feeding.
We recommend two comfortable breastfeeding positions:
- Side-lying position: Lie on your side with your baby facing you.
- Reclined position: Sit in a reclined posture while cradling your baby in your arms.
Choose a comfortable spot like a bed or spacious couch with pillows for support during breastfeeding. Find the position that suits you best and feel free to switch it up as needed. Prioritising your comfort will make nursing sessions a pleasant experience for you and your baby.
4. Embrace Relaxation
Alongside ensuring your comfort while nursing, it’s crucial to relax. Your baby can perceive if you’re tense or anxious about breastfeeding, which can hinder their latch. Remember that your baby can’t relax if you’re not relaxed. Evaluate your surroundings as well. If you’re in a stressful or uncomfortable environment, consider changing the scenery.
5. Stay Hydrated
It is crucial to prioritise hydration for both you and your baby. Remember, you are still nourishing yourself and your little one! Water plays a vital role in replenishing the body, so a helpful tip is to drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed. Yes, that means with each feeding. This practice will support adequate milk production and ensure you stay properly hydrated.
6. Incorporate Both Breasts in Each Feeding
For the initial four to six weeks of your baby’s life, it’s important to provide them with eight to twelve feeds within a 24-hour period. To support healthy weight gain and enhance your milk supply, consider utilising both breasts during each feeding session.
We understand that breastfeeding can feel overwhelming on occasion, but implementing the aforementioned breastfeeding tips will assist you in making the most out of this precious time with your baby.
Take careful note of your baby’s cues, create a comfortable environment, and allow yourself to relax. Keep an eye out for signs that breastfeeding is going smoothly and ensure that you stay hydrated. It’s important to remember that seeking help is perfectly fine. By following these tips, you’ll witness your baby thriving before your eyes!