All moms know the first time trying to breast feed was a little tricky. The sensation is indescribable and some babies have trouble latching onto the breast. Some mothers, especially those who give birth through cesarean section have trouble producing milk at first.
Your birthing facility should be in a position to help you get this process started but a recent government report found that almost half of hospitals in the U.S. aren’t doing enough to help new moms breastfeed. In 2007 only 29% of hospitals in the US were taking the steps to ensure new moms were successful at breastfeeding. By 2013, this number had risen to 54%.
When searching for the hospital you intend to give birth at, ask about their breastfeeding protocol. This has actually been found to make a difference in whether a mom is willing or able to breastfeed for the recommended amount of time.
If you have no choice with regard to the facility you will be giving birth at, new moms can take the steps below during the first few days of breastfeeding to ensure their baby gets enough nutrition.
- Ask staff any questions you have
- Ask to breastfeed within an hour of birth
- Ask for tips on pumping
- Only feed the baby breast milk
- Ask to be with your baby as much as you want
- Do not give the baby a pacifier
The reality is that the onus is on you to ensure you are breastfeeding your baby properly.
Points to note
Engorged breasts, sore nipples and marathon feeding sessions are just some of the things you can expect with your newborn. The vast majority of frustrations can be overcome with a little information and lots of practice.
- Experts agree that breast milk is full of nutrients and antibodies that boost a newborns immunity and brain development while aiding in digestion. Breastfeeding is also a calorie burner and reduces your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. When you and your baby learn the ropes, your milk supply will be established.
- After a vaginal delivery with no complications, try to nurse immediately. Don’t stress your baby though as they don’t need much nourishment in the first few days. Babies are born with stores of fluid and calories that will last for the first few days, unless he or she is a preemie.
- Settle into a comfortable position before you start to nurse your baby. Newborns need 8 to 12 feedings daily for the first few weeks. This equates to about every two or three hours. Nursing sessions can last anything from 20 to 45 minutes. As the nursing time increases, feedings should decrease.
- You may have to initiate feedings in the first few weeks as your baby is usually more sleepy than they are hungry. If she falls asleep within minutes of feeding, wake her.
- Hold off introducing a bottle for at least a month, longer if possible, until breastfeeding is established. Its easier to get milk out of a bottle than it is a breast so your baby may reject your breast in favor for the faster flowing bottle.
Severe breast pain, bleeding or cracking are signs that your baby isn’t latching on properly.
Have any breastfeeding tips for first time moms? Please share in the comments section.
first published at whattoexpect.com