Childbirth is one of the greatest miracles in the world. It’s not a secret that a baby needs their mother’s care, attention, and, of course, milk. Pediatricians all over the world constantly urge women to breastfeed because the composition of milk is perfect for the child. But how to breastfeed? How to establish lactation? It is very important for young mothers to know how to breastfeed and how to deal with possible complications. To help you with this issue we made a list of 50 useful tips on how to breastfeed which will be helpful for every mom.
50 Tips on How to Breastfeed
On the 1st-5th day after birth when the milk still hasn’t appeared the colostrum is enough for the baby. An infant’s kidneys can only digest these 2-5 ml. Still, the benefit to the baby’s health and your breasts is huge!
2. Benefit of the Colostrum
From the colostrum, the child receives immunoglobulins that protect the baby if an insemination of the pathogenic flora occurs during passage through the birth canal. Therefore, ask to put your baby to the breast in the first minutes after birth.
3. How to Breastfeed at a Maternity Hospital
Doctors can forbid putting the baby to the breast only if:
- you had cesarean with the use of general anesthesia;
- if you lost a lot of blood during childbirth;
- you have HIV, syphilis, and other viruses;
- if the baby has asphyxia or intracranial birth trauma.
4. Benefit of the First Feeding
Applying baby to the breast on the birth table provokes the contraction of the uterus. It helps the placenta to separate faster. It also triggers the mechanism of normal lactation and helps to establish the best psycho-emotional contact between the mother and her baby.
5. Why Can’t You Put the Baby to the Breast?
Doctors can refuse to bring the child for feeding if the newborn is in a serious condition and in intensive care; if you go through a course of antibiotic treatment or are also in intensive care. Colds, runny nose or bronchitis are not an excuse to refuse to bring you the baby for the first feeding. It is enough to wear a special mask for the time of breastfeeding.
6. Breast Size
Breast size does not affect the lactation. From the first minutes of the child’s life, regularly attach the baby to the breast. The main thing is the following – you need to be completely sure that you will safely feed up your child.
7. The First Days After the Delivery
If in the first days after childbirth it is impossible to breastfeed the baby, be sure to express milk with your hands or with the help of a breast pump. If the liquid does not leave your breast lactostasis may develop, and then mastitis. The regular outflow of milk from the first days after birth is the key for a full-term lactation in the future.
8. The First Weeks After Childbirth
In the first 6 weeks after childbirth, attach the baby to the breast at their first request. There is no need to establish a feeding regime. After all, in these weeks the baby develops all the attitudes and trust to the world in which they came. The child needs to feel that their mother is always near and takes care of them.
9. Milk Crises
In the first 3 months of lactation, as well as at the 7-8th month of breastfeeding, so-called milk crises can be observed. At this time, it may seem that the amount of milk decreases. Do not panic. Just give your breasts to the baby more often. Within 3-6 days, lactation usually restores.
10. Baby’s Weight and Need for Milk
The less your baby’s weight after the birth is, the less milk the infant sucks in one feeding and the more often requires the breast. But the more weight the baby gains, the less often they need feeding.
11. Feeding Is Not the Only Thing a Baby Needs
You should not give your baby the breast at the first sign of anxiety just in order to calm the baby down. Maybe the child just needs attention or the diaper needs to be changed.
12. Breastfeeding Regime
From the 3rd to 4th day after birth, a child may require breast up to 12-20 times a day. The intervals between feedings range from 15 minutes to 3-4 hours. A relatively regular regime is usually established by 2-2.5 months after the birth.
13. How to Breastfeed: Importance of the Right Pose
Try to choose the most convenient for you breastfeeding pose. If you are uncomfortable (there is a pain in the neck, back, excessive tension in the lower back and arms), you may have negative associations with feeding, and this will be the first step on the way of unjustified weaning.
14. Nipple Cracks
If you have nipple cracks, use a special cream to heal them. Do not stop feeding your baby. Give your baby the breast through a special silicone pad that you can buy at a pharmacy or at a maternity store.
15. Correct Application to the Breast
Make sure that the baby takes the breast correctly. When capturing the nipple with the lips, the baby should take in their mouth not only the nipple but also the areola.
16. Bottle Feeding
It is not recommended to feed the child with expressed milk from a bottle because of the appearance of nipple cracks. Very soon the baby will learn that it is much easier to suck milk from the bottle and may soon refuse to eat from your breast. And this directly leads to a rapid cessation of lactation.
17. Importance of Alternating the Breasts
As a rule, the milk from one breast is enough for a baby. But make sure to alternate the breasts in order not to have galactostasia.
18. How to Breastfeed: Time to Eat
Do not force a child to suck at the “right” time. This makes the baby nervous and does not help to establish breastfeeding regime.
19. Time Spent at the Breast
Most children suck the breast for 10-20 minutes but there are children who need at least 40-60 minutes to satisfy hunger. During this time they eat the same amount of milk as “quick” children. They are simply doing sucking movements less intensively.
20. Baby’s Cry
Learn to recognize the hungry cry of a baby and crying as the demand for your attention. When the baby wants to eat they smack their lips, turn their head in search of a nipple, try to suck your finger. These reactions are observed long before crying. If you do not react, the child will soon begin to cry. Try not to wait until this. Otherwise, the kid will learn the formula: attention and feeding can only be received by shouting.
21. Milk Flow
If the milk flows from the breast before feeding, the newborn can choke. To prevent this, express a little milk before feeding.
22. Bad Habits
If you cannot give up smoking, try not to smoke before breastfeeding, as nicotine provokes narrowing of the vessels. As a result, milk is produced and is released worse. Though, it must be clear that bad habits and breastfeeding are not compatible.
23. Breastfeeding Bra
With the onset of breastfeeding, purchase a special bra. It is more convenient to feed with it on since its design allows you to quickly and easily give your baby a nipple.
24. How to Choose the Right Bra?
When choosing a bra, make sure that the cups fit tightly (but do not squeeze the breast). Models without elastane are not able to support the breast well, and it can sag.
25. What to Do if Milk Flows Out?
As a rule, milk from the breast slightly flows out. Therefore, insert disposable cotton or cloth discs into the bra. They are sold at pharmacies or at any baby goods store.
26. Positions for Breastfeeding
Classical pose – the head of the child is on the mother’s elbow. This is the most convenient pose if you have a small breast.
Pose “child at hand.” Suitable for mothers with large breasts (size 4-6) and low nipple.
Feeding lying: the pose is convenient if the breast does not slip out of your hands.
27. Can You Breastfeed?
There are only 3-8% of women who are physiologically unable to give enough milk to a child. It is possible to assert that you have little milk only if you have hormonal pathologies, physiological infantilism, diseases of the organs of internal secretion, or if you are more than 35 years old.
28. Weak Production of Milk
Weak milk production after childbirth happens if the mother suffered severe toxicosis in later pregnancy, severe bleeding during or after labor, obstetrical operation or postpartum infection. But this is not an excuse for refusing to stimulate the mammary glands. Do not stop feeding your baby or pump milk, and lactation will be restored.
29. Decrease of Lactation
Sometimes it happens that lactation is normally established but decreases after some time. The reasons for this are violations in the feeding regime of the child, irregular attachment to the breast, long breaks between feedings, etc. So the mammary glands are not sufficiently stimulated and they produce less and less milk.
30. Exclude Any Stress
The process of milk production is controlled by the brain, not by the breast. Therefore, in the first 3-4 months after childbirth, exclude any factors that can cause stress: work, nerves, bad news, etc.
31. Fit Breast
To maintain the skin of the breast in tone, do contrasting showers daily
32. Where to Breastfeed?
For breastfeeding, choose a quiet gloomy place in the apartment where there are no TV sets, phones, pets, and other annoying factors that can distract you and the baby from the process of breastfeeding.
33. Mother’s Diet?
The caloric content of the diet should be 300 kcal higher than in the 3rd trimester. But do not overeat: three meals a day and 3-4 light snacks a day are enough. Calories are obtained from lean meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, cereals, and fermented milk products.
Some products are able to cause an allergy in a child through milk. Be careful.
35. Nipple Cracks
During breastfeeding, you can use special creams to prevent nipple cracks. Buy them only in pharmacies or special stores for mothers. As a rule, these products contain components that are safe for the health of the child.
36. Milk Stagnation
When there is too much milk there is a risk of stagnation, and excessive pumping will only increase the production of milk. Feed the baby with the breast, and then express a little more milk. Do not pump milk until breasts are empty.
Take a vitamin complex for pregnant and nursing women. It will provide the child with those vitamins and minerals that you might not get from foods.
38. Night Feedings
Night feeding is a means to maintain adequate lactation. This is due to the increased production of the prolactin hormone in these hours. Therefore, do not exclude night-feeding from the regime. They are necessary for the continuation of natural feeding.
39. How to Breastfeed If the Mother Is Sick?
Did you catch a cold? It is enough to wear a special mask for feeding time. The child will not become infected if you do not stop breastfeeding. Your breast milk has all the immunoglobulins for protecting your body from infections.
40. No Drugs
Avoid taking drugs that are not compatible with breastfeeding.
41. Learn to Understand Your Baby
If a child is more than 3 months old but often asks for a breast, perhaps they need your attention and love. It is possible that the baby is very nervous. Therefore, instead of feeding the child with a mixture, restore calm atmosphere in the house, hug the baby more often, and continue to feed only with the breast milk.
To keep the breast in a good shape, do exercises for the breast muscles every 2-3 days.
43. Sport for a Breastfeeding Mom
The most suitable sports for nursing mothers are yoga, pilates, and callanetics. Drink plenty of water during workouts. It will help to quickly remove the products of metabolism from the body.
44. Relationship with Your Husband
Natural feeding does not adversely affect your intimate relationship with your husband. Rather, on the contrary: a lot of men consider the process of breastfeeding very sexy. But if you hide from your husband to breastfeed the baby, perhaps something is wrong in your relationship. Visit a family relationships expert.
45. Importance of Rest
Physical and emotional fatigue can cause a decrease of lactation. Therefore, try to go out 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours. Take a walk, go to the hairdresser, go shopping, visit a friend, visit a theater, a museum, etc. Successful feeding requires periodic emotional relaxation.
The smell of your perfume, deodorant or a sharp smell of sweat can push the child away from you. While breastfeeding, try not to use perfume and shower more often. The most favorite and soothing smell for the baby is the smell of your skin. Certainly, clean skin.
47. Sudden Changes of Environment
If you are changing your place of living and move somewhere, a child can often demand a breast. Do not deny feeding the baby in such circumstances. The feeling that their mother is near gives a child a sense of security. The baby adapts faster.
48. Coming Back to Work
If you are planning to go back to work and start feeding the baby with expressed milk, store a good breast pump, 3-5 bottles, and bags for keeping frozen milk. The nipple for the bottle should have a very small opening – then the child will not forget how to “get” milk from the breast. Otherwise, they will no longer suck your breasts.
49. Gradual Changes
Don’t go immediately for a full day at work. The transition to bottle feeding with expressed milk should be gradual. This is important for the psyche of the baby (a sudden leave of the mother may cause severe stress) and for lactation (the natural suckling of the baby supports the lactation better than pumping).
It is recommended to breastfeed the baby up to 12-14 months. Weaning will pass unnoticed if you correctly introduce the complementary feeding in the child’s menu after 6 months. If the baby keeps on asking for a breast it can be a sign of increased nervousness and hyper excitability of your child.