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January 23, 2018 | OB/GYN
Breastfeeding is a source of vital nutrients for your baby, but it’s also beneficial for the mother-child relationship. Some mothers, may find breastfeeding challenging, however. If you have concerns, try these tips:
Most women start breastfeeding within hours of delivery, and it’s totally normal and even expected for new mothers to have questions. Hospital nurses or lactation consultants are well-trained to offer you tips and support.
They can show you how to hold your baby in a way that keeps both you and the baby comfortable, how to provide proper head support and methods for encouraging the baby to latch on and receive milk. They can also show you good techniques for removing your baby from your breast.
For at least the first few weeks, let your baby dictate the frequency and length of breastfeeding. They’ll likely feed every two to three hours through the entire 24-hour day, so prepare for disjointed sleep. Most feedings last between 15 and 20 minutes, but this can vary between babies and even between feedings.
If possible, it’s good to sleep in the same room as your baby for at least six months, and often a year or more. This not only helps decrease the risk of SIDS but it can create easier access to your baby for feeding. Be sure to give your baby proper crib space, as sleeping in an adult bed is dangerous for your baby and creates a risk for suffocation.
Finally, take care when it comes to pacifiers. Some babies always want to be sucking on something, but giving them a pacifier too soon may disrupt the breastfeeding process, as it’s different from sucking on a breast. It’s recommended that you wait until at least three or four weeks after birth, or until when you’ve fully established a consistent breastfeeding routine.
To tell if your baby is latched on properly to the nipple, look at their lips—both lips should pout out and cover the entire areola, and the jaw should move back and forth as your baby sucks for milk. If you feel pain, this could be a sign of an improper latch. The baby should not have to strain or turn their neck.
The baby’s nose might touch your breast—if you’re worried this is disrupting their breathing, just press down on your breast in that area. If your baby is latched on successfully, you’ll feel a slight pulling sensation. Your breasts should feel softer or emptier after feeding as well.
Women who have leaking breasts between feedings should use bra pads, but you don’t have to immediately dry milk off your breast after feeding—this milk can actually soothe the nipples. When bathing during breastfeeding, minimize contact with soaps and products on your nipples, and use lanolin for dry or cracked nipples.
When breastfeeding, it’s important to make healthy choices for not only your benefit but also your baby’s benefit:
Common signs of hunger in babies include:
How frequently you feed your baby each day will generally decrease with time, though feeding times may temporarily increase during a growth spurt—these tend to occur at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.
Your family doctor can offer further recommendations on breastfeeding.
Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.
“Breast-feeding tips: What new moms need to know.” The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-feeding/art-20047138?pg=1
“Breastfeeding: Hints to Help You Get Off to a Good Start.” FamilyDoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/breastfeeding-hints-to-help-you-get-off-to-a-good-start/
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.