How To Get Started Breastfeeding: A Guide For First Time Moms
The day I was handed a baby, I learned quickly that time was precious and that multi-tasking was a must. And, I learned that everything was not going to always come easily to me … like breastfeeding.
My son and I went on quite the adventure!
But luckily, I had a lot of help, support, and I learned to remain calm, patient, and to persevere to accomplish my nursing goals.
If you’re a first time mom, breastfeeding can be pretty overwhelming—it can even be painful!
Most importantly, it can be an amazing, bonding experience for you and your baby.
Not sure what to do? Read on to learn how to get started!
When's The Best Time To Start Breastfeeding?
If you talk to anyone who has breastfed before, they’ll tell you that it’s essential to start nursing in the hospital as soon as your baby is cleaned up, you are cleaned up, and you get the opportunity to hold your baby.
This works great because it instantly connects the two of you together and just goes along with basic baby and mommy instinct, which is something you’re born with.
5 Steps For How To Position Yourself And Your Baby
There are some simple steps you can follow to ensure your baby is positioned properly, so they have success with nursing right from the get go.
Your baby should be propped up on her side with their belly touching your belly. It’s best to do this with skin to skin.
Hold Your Baby Up To Your Breast
If you need some help with this step, use a bed pillow or a nursing pillow to help prop
your baby up. If you’ve just had a C-section, this step is important. This will allow your
baby to be perfectly aligned with your breast and nipple.
Stimulate Your Nipple
Place your fingers and thumb around your nipple to stimulate it. This will also encourage
some drops of milk to gather around the nipple and aerola, which your baby will be able to sense and smell.
Guide Your Baby Toward Your Nipple
Don’t lean over your baby or bring your breast to them. Instead, remain relaxed but postured and guide your baby toward you. It’s more inviting and also allows you to remain comfortable during a feeding.
Position Your Nipple Upward
Your nipple should be positioned upward, toward the roof your baby’s mouth, rather than stuffed inward and toward the back of their throat. This can take some practice!
5 Tips For Getting Comfortable
Here are a few tips to ensure your comfort:
- 1Use a nursing pillow. There are a few different kinds of nursing pillows on the market that allow for perfect placement and a mom’s comfort.
- 2Wear a button-down top. This way, you don’t have to continue to lift your shirt up and out of the way!
- 3Sit in a peaceful setting. You can actually gain comfort and produce more milk in an environment where you feel completely serene. Choose a comfy chair by a window and set your room’s temperature to a comfortable level.
- 4Utilize blankets. Wrap your baby in a soft, comfortable receiving blanket to keep them warm and cozy, and to also mop up spills or spit up.
- 5Experiment with positions. One position doesn’t always fit all. So, it’s wise to know about all kinds of holds and positions. One day might work with one position, and another day might require another type of hold to be comfortable.
How Often Should You Nurse?
When you first deliver, you need to feed frequently—this helps get your milk production going.
Expect to feed every hour or so to get things started (this is called on demand feeding).
Once your baby hits the one month mark, they’ll need to nurse about 7 times each day.
It can take some time to put your baby on a feeding schedule, but once you can seal the deal, the whole process becomes less taxing and less tedious.
How Do I Know That My Baby Is Hungry?
Babies aren’t shy about letting their mommy know when they’re hungry. The biggest indicator is their loud, frequent cries.
You may also notice that continuously put their fists in their mouth and also purse their lips together, making sucking motions and sounds. As they get older, they may also pull your shirt and lean in toward your breasts.
Typical Obstacles To Expect
Nursing isn’t a cake walk for everyone. Some women really struggle with some different aspects of breastfeeding. It’s normal to expect:
If you’re struggling with nursing, you are not alone. Many women have trouble with some of the examples above. It’s important to know that there are many supports available.
When you breastfeed, you join a whole community of moms who want the best for their baby.
While it may come natural and simpler to some, others may stress and struggle.
If nursing your baby for their entire first year is your goal, then keep your eye on the prize.
It’s important to educate yourself and understand that the process takes time and it’s ok to get help from outside sources.