Breastfeeding Tips

Most experts recommend breastfeeding your child at least during the first six months of life. The nutrients, antibodies, convenience and digestibility of breast milk make breastfeeding the best option for feeding a newborn. It is important to remember that breastfeeding is different for each new mother, but there are certain breastfeeding tips that you can use to help you deal with common breastfeeding problems.

8 Best Breastfeeding Tips

Before learning our breastfeeding tips, make sure you know the step-by-step instruction to properly breastfeed

1. Listen to Your Baby

A newborn will “talk” to you and let you know when it is time to eat! Most babies will want to breastfeed at least every three hours until they gain weight. As you near the 3-hour mark, watch for signs that your baby is getting hungry: increased movement, lip movement, and sucking. Most of the time, your baby will nurse about 20 minutes on a breast. After that length of time, burp the baby then offer the second breast. If he is still hungry, he will begin to nurse on the second breast. If he is full, be sure to start the next feeding on the other breast to ensure that each breast is emptied regularly.

2. Hold off the Pacifier

With your newborn, do not offer a pacifier until both of you are comfortable with the breastfeeding routine. Within 3-4 weeks, you can begin to offer a pacifier if your infant seems to want more sucking.

3. Find the Best Breastfeeding Position

You and the baby will both be more comfortable if you use the best breastfeeding position. If the baby cannot latch on to your nipple, the baby will become frustrated and your nipples are likely to get sore. For an excellent presentation on various breastfeeding positions and other tips for different circumstances, be sure to watch the video:

4. Eat the Right Things

If you established healthy eating patterns during your pregnancy, you probably will not have to make too many changes now that you are breastfeeding. In general, the calories you burn by breastfeeding will require that you eat up to 500 additional calories each day. Make sure these calories count by eating a well-balanced diet that contains healthy amounts of all the food groups. Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol although you can have a small amount of each if you feel a craving. Avoid foods that make you gassy, since these foods are likely to pass through the breast milk and make your baby gassy, also. Typically, your baby will let you know if a specific food does not agree with her digestion. Simply avoid those foods until you stop breastfeeding. 

5. Know How Often to Nurse

A newborn will need to nurse every two to three hours around the clock. Look for the signs of hunger mentioned in the first point above. If you wait until your baby starts crying, your breastfeeding experience will start off wrong and both you and the baby may be frustrated by the experience. Let your baby tell you when she is hungry!

6. Register for a Class

Before your baby is even born, you can sign up for breastfeeding classes that will provide you with the information you need to be successful. Check with your hospital to see if there are breastfeeding classes in your area.

7. Join La Leche League

La Leche League is an organization that has promoted breastfeeding for over 40 years. Joining this organization and attending the meetings will allow you to get your questions answered by mothers who have actually experienced many of the same problems you are having. If there is not a La Leche League group in your area, read the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that was written and edited by members of the organization.

8. Deal with Problems with Breastfeeding

Among breastfeeding tips, dealing with breastfeeding problems is one of the most important. Almost every breastfeeding mother will have an occasional problem with the process. Some of the most common breastfeeding problems include:

Problems

Description and Solution

Unsettled baby

Occasionally, your baby may seem to be unsatisfied during the breastfeeding. When this happens, try changing your position to help your baby latch on to your nipple better. Usually, this will resolve the problem. If this issue persists, talk to your healthcare provider.

Sore nipples

Particularly in the early days of breastfeeding, it is not uncommon for your nipples to become sore or cracked. This is usually caused when the baby has not latched on to the nipple fully. Try repositioning to ensure that the baby is securely latched. For the soreness, a drop or two of the breast milk rubbed into the nipple may help the discomfort and dryness. If you use breast pads, be sure to change them when they become moist. Try switching to a cotton nursing bra that will allow air to circulate around your nipples to keep them dry. Avoid soap that can dry your nipples; instead, try rubbing some lanolin lotion on any cracks that have developed.

Sore breasts

Sore breasts can be a sign of blocked milk ducts or mastitis. These conditions are both very painful. Be sure your baby is positioned so she can latch on, but if you are certain that the baby is feeding well, consult your doctor if the pain persists. Additional signs that you should see your doctor include: red, painful breast skin that feels hot; fever; or general feelings of malaise.

Thrush

Infection by the candida albicans fungus can cause thrush in the baby’s mouth and on your nipple. In the baby, you will see white patches in the mouth that bleed when you remove them. Your nipples will become pink and sore. The good news is that thrush is easily treated; the bad news is that both you and the baby must be treated so you do not re-infect each other. If you think your baby has thrush, contact your healthcare provider who can prescribe medications for both of you.

Tongue-tie

Everyone has a piece of skin that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In a baby that is “tongue-tied”, this piece of skin is very tight and does not allow the baby to nurse effectively. If you suspect this may be a problem, contact your healthcare provider since this condition can be treated.

Tips and techniques for breastfeeding are easy to do and can be readily mastered. View the video to learn techniques for getting your baby to latch on and other issues you may encounter during breastfeeding: