Tips and Tricks for Successful Breastfeeding
You might have heard that breastfeeding comes naturally to a new mum. False! Yes, it is a natural process, but it doesn't come naturally to everyone. And chances are, if and when you start your breastfeeding journey, you might struggle and find it more difficult than you previously anticipated.
Just like parenting, nursing a baby is also a skill that requires time, a bit of trial and error, practice and a whole lot of patience. But once you get the hang of it — you will both enjoy and look forward to this beautiful bonding time between you and your baby.
Although nursing will become easy eventually, new mums to be well informed to have a good start. We've compiled a list of breastfeeding tips and tricks. You might just avoid some difficulties and discomforts while feeding your little one if you follow our advice.
Before we move forward, let's remember that breastfeeding is a way to feed a baby, but it is not the only way. Here, at The Hermosa. Co., we believe that fed is best. So, if you can’t breastfeed or decide not to, it’s OK. You can give bub all the nutrition needed for growth and development through formula feeding as well.
1. Make the Feeding Session As Comfortable as Possible
Newborns require almost round-the-clock feeding. That means you have to spend a lot of time holding bub in the same position. If you devoid yourself of any support or stay uncomfortable while nursing, there might be repercussions like extreme back or shoulder pain.
To avoid such physical distress, try things that make the session more comforting to your body. Maybe add back pillows or an extra blanket underneath bub to take some pressure off your arms or anything else that makes the session more pleasant for you and the baby. If you still feel body aches and pains, even after these adjustments, try relieving them with our magnesium chloride spray. It not only eases muscle strain but also improves sleep.
2. Find the Best Feeding Position for You and the Baby
Figuring out the perfect breastfeeding position can be tricky and requires a lot of tries. However, finding the right one for your baby is well worth the effort because it allows bub to get a better latch on to the breast, resulting in a more comfortable feed.
Here are some well-known positions for you to try:
- Cradle Position- cradle the baby in your arm with the head resting in the crook of your elbow. Adjust your hold so that you are both belly to belly, and bub's head is opposite your nursing breast.
- Cross-Cradle Position- Hold your baby in the bend of the arm opposite the nursing breast. With your open hand, support the back of bub's head and guide the mouth toward your breast.
- Football Position- Bent the arm on the same side of your nursing breast, then hold the baby lengthwise and face up. Support and guide bub's head with your open palm while keeping the rest of the body tucked under that arm.
- Side-Lying Position- Lie down on your side and make bub lie down beside you. With your free hand, support the baby's head and move it toward your breast. Make sure bub's mouth is at the same level as your nipple.
- Laid-Back Position (also known as biological nurturing)- Lie down in a semi-reclined position and make your baby lie on your stomach, pressed against you. Allow bub to explore and find the nursing nipple.
3. Always Have Breast Pads Nearby for Leakage
Many factors can trigger milk leakage. It can be the let-down reflex, experiencing intense emotions or even hearing another baby cry. Breasts leak more frequently in the beginning when your body is figuring out the feeding schedule, but some mums experience leakage throughout their lactation period.
There is no way to avoid the inconvenience of leaky breasts, but you can avoid the embarrassment of wet spots by keeping nursing pads or breast pads close by — at all times. Our soft and breathable breast pads are great for your nursing nips and are fun to wear with their pretty designs.
4. Feed According to Baby’s Hunger Cues
Learn your little one's hunger cues in order to have a healthy feeding session. Watch your baby for signs like smacking lips, sucking fists, or turning the head toward your breast. These cues signify that bub is hungry, and if you start the feed as soon as you notice them, you won't have to deal with a frantic, crying baby later on. Note that crying is the last sign of hunger, so it is better if you intervene way before the crying starts.
5. Make Sure That Baby Has a Good Latch
A good latch is essential for effective breastfeeding because it lets bub drink more and empty your breasts, allowing your body to supply more milk, which can help you avoid getting plugged milk ducts. If the latch is shallow, then bub may not get enough milk. Furthermore, the feeding session will be much longer, and this prolonged usage can damage your nipples further.
To obtain a deep latch, cup your breast from underneath and gently press it just behind the areola. Bring your nipple to the baby’s lips, and once bub opens wide, slowly guide the head so you can insert it into the mouth.
6. Stay in the Same Room and Increase Skin-to-Skin Time
Cuddling up with your baby in the same room and holding bub skin-to-skin for extended periods of time can help increase your milk production. Doing so can also help you get more acquainted with different baby cues (including hunger) and help bub get a better latch during feeding time.
7. Alternate Breasts During a Feeding
Let bub nurse on both breasts at every feeding. Switching breasts during the same feed can help bub sleep longer and allows a newborn to drink more, which is crucial for gaining weight. Additionally, doing so can also assist your body build up a healthy supply of milk. By offering your little munchkin both breasts, you also lessen the wear and tear of the same nipple.
8. Be Patient and Take Care of Yourself
Breastfeeding is often a journey full of highs and lows and can be quite exhausting for a new mum. Therefore, if you decide to commit to breastfeeding, it is critical that you be kind and patient with yourself, especially on those rough days, and that you always make time for self-care.
Our advice? Get a rejuvenating postpartum massage. But if that's too time-consuming for you, try a DIY spa day at home. Start by gently massaging your body with an exfoliating body polish, and then dip into a warm bath filled with healing Himalayan salt soak. To make the experience more soothing, spritz some room tonic and create an aura of calm around you. Ask your partner, a friend or a family member to care for the baby while you enjoy these minor indulgences. Believe us! These minor indulgences can have a significant impact on your overall well-being.
Some Challenges You Might Face and Their Solutions
- Sore and Cracked Nipples - Improper latch, dry and cold weather, not alternating breast, etc., can cause soreness and crack the nipple surface. In severe cases, it might even start bleeding. To prevent such extremes, use a herbal nipple balm from the very first day of breastfeeding.
- Mastitis - It is a painful infection caused by a blocked milk duct or bacteria entering the breast. You can take antibiotics and over-the-counter pain meds for mastitis. Do consult your doctor first.
- Breast Engorgement - It happens when the breasts aren't completely emptied during a feeding. Pumping in between feeds and putting cabbage leaves inside your bra can help you get relief from the swollen, painful breasts.
- Thrush - It is a yeast infection that can develop in the baby's mouth or on nursing breasts. If not treated immediately, mums and their babies can become trapped in a cycle of reinfection through feeding. A prescription antifungal cream can nip this in the bub. You can also try preemptive care such as using nursing pads, air-drying your nipples, and wearing a clean bra.
Think you are missing out on bonding with your baby due to not being able to breastfeed? Don't worry! Just try doing the following activities to strengthen your special bond with bub.
- Sleep in the same room together
- Carry your baby in a sling instead of using a stroller
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin often
- Make eye contact while talking to your little one
- Sing to bub before bedtime
- Play peek-a-boo or read engaging storybooks
- Massage your baby every day before sleep with a nourishing baby massage oil
Expecting mamas embarking on their nursing journey deserve to be armed with every bit of knowledge. They should be aware of the common challenges and be mentally prepared for the unexpected curve balls that come along the way. We hope this read has given you the information you were looking for and comes in handy while you feed your little one.
– The Hermosa Co.