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Family & Kids
1. Be sure you get the right latch
This is KEY. If we don’t have the right latch, we end up with really sore and perhaps damaged nipples. There’s a TON of great resources online that will literally show you what the right latch looks like but in a nutshell it’s about getting the lower part of the breast and areola into baby’s mouth so that the nipple hits their high palette which stimulates sucking.
http://www.breastfeedingmadesimple.com Click on the “animated latch” on the home page to see a great example of a good latch. There’s other great information on this site as well.
http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos One of my favorite resources, this site has tons of videos on latch.
2. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions
One of the most important of the breastfeeding tips is to get the right latch! As part of this, experiment with different positions. The Breast Crawl is an excellent and intuitive position for a newborn. They literately will latch themselves! But, we can’t nurse reclining in our bed with baby.
3. Get breastfeeding help early
Habits form fast so it’s VITAL to get the latch right at the beginning. (Don’t despair if you didn’t, as babies are adaptable.) It will help you and your baby immensely if you start off on the right foot.
If you can afford it, I highly recommend hiring a Lactation Consultant. Even if you are breastfeeding just fine, it can be a worthwhile investment. Yes, of the breastfeeding tips, this one will cost you some money. But, think of lactation consultants as Breast Whisperers, experts in the field of palettes, latching, positions, and intake volume.
If seeing a consultant isn’t for you, check out some of these free resources online:
General breastfeeding sites
www.llli.org The international La Leche League website, a phenomenal resource for breastfeeding families.
www.bfmed.org The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is a worldwide organization of physicians dedicated to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human lactation.
www.kellymom.com Awesome site. Created by a lactation consultant and mother of three, this site provides evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting.
www.breastfeeding.com This site has a ton of resources including videos, forums, etc.
www.drjacknewman.com One of the great advocates for breastfeeding, Dr. Jack Newman’s site has a plethora of breastfeeding including videos, articles and troubleshooting information
4. Use breastfeeding props
A key breastfeeding tip is to stock up on some of the tools that can help us! Some of my favorites include:
The Nesting Pillow. OK, this is a pricey nursing pillow but the most comfortable by far. It literally molds to baby and mama. Love it!
The Boppy. The classic nursing pillow… very versatile too!
My Breast Friend. Another nursing pillow that’s great if you’re having a hard time getting the latch and positioning right. It’s very firm and you can even nurse while standing up! (with support from my hands, of course).
Motherlove Nipple Cream. This stuff is wonder cream for sore nipples, creating a healing “moisture seal” in-between feedings. Made with extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula, it’s non-toxic and safe for the baby to ingest, so no need to rinse off before feeding.
Nursing Pads. At the beginning, while you are establishing your milk supply, nursing mamas tend to leak. Using these pads, you prevent the embarrassing ring-around- the-nipple phenomenon.
5. Expect that breastfeeding will be challenging
Call me twisted, but I find if I know the worst right off the bat it helps me to stay positive. It is easier for me to find joy in the small successes along the way and not get discouraged if it doesn’t click right away. I also found that despite the right latch, I did have some tenderness from time to time, and that is perfectly normal. If your soreness persists, look into thrush. You can try this nipple cream, which should reduce thrush symptoms and pain.
6. Be sure to burp ’em!
If you don’t want your precious milk regurgitated onto the back of your couch, be sure to burp your baby well! This will also help ease painful gas bubbles that often accumulate in baby’s belly since their digestive system is still so delicate.
7. Get an eyewitness
My husband was a HUGE help in making sure I got the right latch with Griffin. From his perspective, he could see things that I couldn’t. He also was supportive in terms of getting me water each time I fed, inserting extra pillows for support, and changing Griffin’s diaper once I finished. He will also be the one who feeds Griffin a bottle at some point so it’s good for him to get involved early!
8. Use a breast pump if needed
I found pumping at 3 weeks was helpful so I could literally *see* milk coming out of my breast. While not always a good indicator of supply, it did give me peace of mind that things were working as a first-time breastfeeder.
9. Keep it pure
For the first month, try to just breastfeed without introducing a bottle or pacifier. This will help to establish a strong breast bond so that the baby doesn’t experience nipple confusion and start preferring artificial nipples.
10. Think peaceful thoughts
When I find myself tensing up while feeding Griffin, I consciously work at relaxing so that the experience is more enjoyable and successful for both of us. Instead of reading or looking at my phone, I often pray for him as he’s lying there. I believe little Griff picks up on this healing energy and feeds better as a result. And it’s especially important to relax while pumping to maximize milk production. So, be sure not to ignore this among all of the breastfeeding tips.