Techniques and tips to help you successfully nurse your newborn. Learn how to Breastfeed Successfully right after birth
Everywhere we look, pamphlets shout of “breast is best” and the numerous benefits of nursing on a baby’s health, well-being, cognitive, and emotional development. But nursing is not always easy. From sore nipples to getting a good latch, it is normal to struggle with breastfeeding in the first months.
Here are some of our best ways on how to successfully nurse your newborn without any of the headache.
The early weeks for new parents can be very tiring, frustrating and yet, rewarding. So many new things to learn and get used to with so little time. It is no wonder that many parents feel stressed and unsure about what to do. However, taking care of your baby is not rocket science, and if you follow a few essential tips for tired new parents, you will get it right without any trouble.
But to know how to breastfeed successfully, as a mother, you need to know what to expect when nursing your newborn.
Many moms set a breastfeeding goal: three months, six months, one year. But as soon as something doesn’t go according to plan, they start questioning it. How do women tolerate the pain, the frequency, the engorgement for six months, or a year? Sadly, often, as a mother you don’t get the support they need from the staff at the hospital, pediatricians, or their lactation consultant to learn how to nurse your newborn successfully. And it so happens that one of Nature’s greatest gifts to mothers and children - a precious nourishing bond that should come naturally - is a source of stress and frustration.
Take it from the experts, though, that this doesn’t have to be the case. In the first weeks and months after birth, your baby is learning just as much as you are. Those early weeks for your baby are full of learning and development – if you get through that period, relying on your baby’s skills and reflexes, you are on your way to successfully breastfeed your newborn.
Nursing for Beginners – What you Need to Know
Nursing your newborn can be an emotional roller coaster in the beginning, but with a little time and patience, you will get the hang of it. Patience and a bit of preparation will help you be in the right mindset to nurse your baby successfully. Few things are as beneficial to your newborn as breastfeeding and frequent skin-to-skin contact, which are both great tricks for soothing an overtired infant as they prevent over stimulation, help calm your baby down and encourage brain development.
“Enjoy the time that you spend with your baby. Smiling, cuddling, and talking to your baby can give them a sense of security – and make you happy too!” Bachman, Margo. Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth. Sounds True, 2013.
All babies are born with a sucking reflex. Babies will suck vigorously anytime something is placed in their mouths. But it is mom’s job to make sure that the mouth is positioned correctly when the sucking begins to cut down on painful latching and potential damage.
Socially your baby can communicate hunger to you from day one. When your baby exhibits hunger cues (rooting, bringing hands to mouth, lip smacking) offer your breast as soon as you notice them – whether during the day or at night. Babies gently guide us in meeting their needs and what some “experts” refer to as ‘manipulation’ is the simple markup of Nature, helping parents to ensure the survival of their offspring. Frequently nursing your baby throughout the night is a normal part of What to Expect with Newborn Night Feedings.
This goes without saying but stay as far away as possible from the highly damaging practices CIO (cry it out) or controlled crying. They not only traumatize your newborn and cause irreparable emotional and cognitive impairment but can also affect nursing.
“Getting babies to sleep longer before they are ready to (e.g., with cry it out) can be damaging for a mother’s breastmilk supply. This is because breastmilk production works on a supply equals need basis. So, if a baby’s needs are ignored by them being left to cry it out, then a mother’s milk supply can suffer.” Renee Kam, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
On the other hand, babies who are rewarded for “communicating” hunger, relax into the feed easily. If you miss hunger cues, your baby will most likely begin to cry to communicate hunger. In this case, the feeding may not go as well, begin more slowly, or your baby may tire easily from crying.
Tips to Nurse Successfully
Mother’s milk is scientifically the best thing for your baby, without a doubt. And the blissful bonding that comes along with it is just an added bonus that makes both mom and baby as happy as can be. But how to successfully nurse your newborn?
If you want to breastfeed your baby successfully, take heart, and prepare yourself with some info on What to Expect When Nursing Your Newborn. Make breastfeeding a warm, soothing experience for you and your baby with these nursing tips.
Breastfeed right after birth
Babies usually like to feed in the first few hours after birth. Welcome your little one the way Mother Nature intended – by cuddling and rocking them on your chest and then gently offering your breast. If you need help, ask for a lactation consultant at the hospital but don’t delay. Colostrum – the first milk you produce after birth – is rich in nutrients, antibodies, and essential fatty acids, which give your baby the best start in life!
Let your baby lead
You will have plenty of time to master the art of getting your baby to latch on. But for now – trust your baby’s instincts and needs. Nursing schedules have long been disproven as damaging to a mother’s milk supply, so don’t make the same mistake previous generations have. Don’t set a schedule for breastfeeding. Instead, look for signs that your baby’s hungry and follow their lead. Also, remember that babies are very sleepy during the first few days of life, so go ahead and offer the breast at least every 3 hours.
Eat healthy: your diet's feeding your baby
We cannot overstress the importance of a healthy postpartum diet for both mom and baby! Everything you eat ends up in the still-developing gastrointestinal system of your newborn. This means no spicy foods, no acidic foods, no allergens, no alcohol and no foods that are hard to digest and may upset your baby’s stomach (beans, cabbage, red meat, etc.). Eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in calcium while you’re breastfeeding. Make sure to drink lots of water as well to replenish your milk supply.
These are the most basic techniques of ensuring you can successfully nurse your newborn. Other things like picking the right positions while feeding your baby or getting them to latch on correctly are also important. With time and practice, you will learn what works for you and your little one.
While it’s natural for you to focus on your new baby, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. And that starts with ensuring you get enough rest. As time passes, you will learn to read your baby’s signals better just as they do yours.