Being a new mom is a wonderful thing, but most people tend to assume that it can be a relatively easy time since the child is so small. The confusion and stress that comes along with it can get very tough. Even something like breastfeeding, which seems pretty straightforward, is tricky to get right. Here are some useful tips to make sure you and your baby have a smooth transition into the world of breastfeeding:
1. Feeding your baby straight after the birth is ideal.
2. Get help with positioning. If it does hurt, there might be a problem with positioning. Experiencing initial tenderness is totally normal, but a feeling of soreness that gets worse is not. Midwives in hospital, or community midwives who visit you at home, can help you correct your position so it isn’t as painful.
3. Keep your baby close to you. Skin to skin contact (as and when possible) with your little one nestled against you can be soothing for your baby and will help you respond to signs they make when they want feeding.
4. Frequent feeding is normal in the early days as hunger is an active instinct. Don't try to establish a routine just yet, just go with your baby’s wants and reactions to feeding. It could happen quite frequently in the early days.
5. Always offer both breasts at every feed, even if your baby takes only one.
6. Breastfeeding is something you and your baby have to learn together, and it can take a little while for it to feel normal and natural. What goes on in the first days and weeks changes for the better and as time goes by, it’ll feel like the most comfortable thing.
7. It would be best not to introduce your baby to any kind of bottles while you're still establishing breastfeeding. The use of a bottle and the teat can affect your baby’s 'skill' at breastfeeding.
8. If you’re experiencing soreness after a long period of pain-free feeding it could be the result of thrush (a fungal infection) on your nipples. Consult your doctor. If that is the case, both you and your baby will need treatment.
9. It’s best to forget the clock when you're breastfeeding. The amount of time your baby is on the breast is irrelevant to success and doesn't reflect the amount of milk they are getting. Some babies get what they need in a few minutes, whereas others take a lot longer. Just pay close attention to your baby’s needs.
10. Most babies have natural pauses in their feeds which are variable in length. But long feeds (say, regularly over an hour) which fail to keep your baby happy and leave him hard to settle, is a sign that something might not be right. Check positioning once again, to ensure your baby's able to take a more satisfying feed.
11. Regularly change your breast pads as damp breast pads can quickly develop bacteria.
12. To stop breastfeeding, gently remove your baby from the nipple by breaking the suction seal they have created. This can be done by slowly sliding your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth and gently pulling them away.