6 Helpful Tips for Breastfeeding: New Moms (and Dads), Here’s How to PrepareAnna
Getting ready for baby to arrive can be one of the most exciting yet overwhelming experiences as a parent. And if you plan on breastfeeding and never have before, those feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty may be even more prevalent at this time. You might even be asking yourself: How does breastfeeding work? Or, how can I prepare for breastfeeding as a first-time breastfeeding mom?
The good news is that you’re making an incredible decision for baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights that breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for most babies, and it can help protect babies against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases, such as asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and SIDS.
But before you can provide your little one with that liquid nutritional gold, you have to get yourself set up for success. Breastfeeding can be challenging for some at first, but with practice, support, and a better understanding of what to expect, you can feel better about the journey ahead.
Wondering how to prepare for breastfeeding? Here are our best breastfeeding tips for new moms (and dads) welcoming a baby in the near future.
1. Take a Breastfeeding Class
If you’re nervous to start breastfeeding, consider signing up for a breastfeeding class at your hospital or local women’s center.
This is something you can do before or after having your baby; taking the class in advance is a good opportunity to ask lingering questions and put your mind at ease ahead of the arrival. This class will be led by a lactation consultant or professional with a similar background, so be sure to ask questions, take notes, and absorb as much as you can before you start your own breastfeeding journey.
2. Learn the Positioning and Proper Latch
Whether you decide to take a lactation class or you want to get comfortable with breastfeeding on your own, it’s important to understand proper positioning and latching technique.
You can hold your baby a few different ways while breastfeeding, as explained by the Family Doctor:
- Hold your baby in the crook of your arm and introduce your breast at the mouth
- Place baby on the bed and lie down next to them, pulling them in to reach your breast
- Tuck baby under your arm with their head resting in your hand with baby facing you, pulling their mouth in to feed
Beyond correct positioning, proper latching ensures that your baby is actually getting the milk, and that both of you are comfortable throughout the process. You know your baby is latched on correctly when:
- Both of their lips cover the entirety of your areola
- Their jaw moves back and forth
- They make soft, low-pitched sucking noises
Positioning and latching can be discussed with a lactation consultant or other medical professional who can help you feel comfortable and confident in your baby’s breastfeeding experience.
3. Set Yourself Up For Success
Educating yourself about breastfeeding in advance is one of the best ways to help you feel more prepared when your baby makes their transition into the world. Having other tools and resources available will also set you up for success. Here’s what we consider some of the breastfeeding essentials:
- Nursing bras and other nursing clothing
- A breast pump for storing breastmilk and having milk available for bottle feeds
- Nursing pillow
- Breast pads and cream for nipple discomfort and irritation
Make sure you also prioritize plenty of drinking water and nutritious food for yourself as you’re breastfeeding; fluids and healthy foods can help to increase breastmilk production and may even make for an easier, more consistent flow.
4. Feed On Demand, Not On Schedule
Figuring out how often to feed your breastfeeding baby can be extremely difficult, especially when they can’t tell you that they’re hungry. But feeding on demand is the best way to ensure your baby is getting the right amount of milk, maintaining a strong latch, and keeping your milk supply up. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand — the more often your baby drinks from your breast, the more likely it will fill back up with milk.
If you’re having a hard time understanding when baby is hungry, here are some hunger cues to consider:
- Insistent crying
- Sucking on fingers
- Fist moving to mouth
- Opening and closing the mouth
- Head moving to find breast
How Do I Know Baby is Getting Enough?
But how exactly do you know your baby is getting enough milk? Some signs that indicate baby has a full stomach, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, include:
- Completing a 10-minute breastfeeding session that has a noticeable rhythmic suck and swallow pattern
- Having eaten at least eight times within a 24-hour period
- Showing consistent wet diapers
- Gaining weight consistently, especially during the first six to 12 months of life
5. Encourage a Happy, Healthy, and Supportive Breastfeeding Environment
While you and baby might be the only two fully involved in the breastfeeding process, there are other people who can offer support during this time.
Talk to your partner about bottle feeding, as well as offering you assistance when necessary. Joining a breastfeeding support group can also be a great opportunity to gain new breastfeeding knowledge and meet other like-minded mothers who might be struggling similarly. Find a group of people, whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, or new acquaintances, that can provide support and make the breastfeeding journey less challenging and more satisfying.
6. Have Patience and Take Care of Yourself
There’s a reason they call breastfeeding a journey. Some sessions may come easier than others, but it’s important to remember to be patient with yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it, and make sure to prioritize rest and self care. Give yourself breaks and encourage your partner to bond with baby by bottle feeding.
Cherish the Breastfeeding Experience With KeepsakeMom
Completing your breastfeeding journey can be just as challenging as getting started! If you find yourself struggling to compartmentalize memories of bonding and nourishing your baby, but it’s time to start the weaning process, consider KeepsakeMom.
We can turn your breastmilk into a beautiful piece of jewelry that you can wear and cherish for years to come. Each piece of our beautiful and highly customizable breastmilk jewelry is designed to be a lovely keepsake that encapsulates your breastfeeding experience forever.
Shop KeepsakeMom today to find the perfect accessory to commemorate your breastfeeding journey.