Top Tips For Breastfeeding After Birth
Breastfeeding is a journey specific to you and your baby. Like any other journey, there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way. So, how can you ensure that there are more ups than downs?
Having a successful start, especially in the moments just after your baby comes into this world, will make a huge difference in your breastfeeding journey. Here are five important steps to make sure you and your little one have a good start in regards to breastfeeding:
1. Place Your Baby Skin to Skin Immediately After Delivery
The first few hours after birth are extremely important developmentally for a baby. I mean, they have a whole new world to take in and get accustomed to. Many short and long term physical and psychological advantages take place when a baby is held skin to skin.
Skin to skin offers a great transition from womb to world for your baby, who is a little shocked due to their recent eviction from their only known home--your uterus.
Your body will help theirs learn to regulate circulation, breathing, and provide many other health benefits to your baby--not to mention, the awesome things it will do for your milk supply! Besides, your baby has been with you since the beginning, why should things be any different now that they are born?
2. Offer the Breast Within the First Hour After Birth
Babies have been suckling and swallowing inside of the womb since the beginning of the second trimester. Crazy, huh? Consequently, they are born full. It is important to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, not because they are starving, but because colostrum is a natural laxative.
That first feeding is important in getting that first nasty poop, or meconium, out of baby’s body so they can make way for the nutrients they will need. The colostrum will also help regulate the good bacteria inside of their gut. This bacterial transfer is crucial to your baby’s health, think about it, they have been living in a literal bubble since they were created.
3. Try the Laid Back Position
There is no escaping the size difference between your baby’s tiny mouth and you
enlarged breasts--it’s inevitable! So, in order to minimize any pain or discomfort you may feel during the early stages of breastfeeding, you will want to do everything in your power to help your baby get more breast tissue in their mouth.
The laid back position is perfect because gravity aids your baby to get a deeper latch. Your body also naturally supports the weight of your baby in this position, so your arms can finally have a rest. This position is also super relaxing for you, so get comfortable and just enjoy time with your new baby!
4. Offer the Breast Frequently During the First Few Days
Babies eat a lot, that’s just how things go! Expect to feed a newborn anywhere from 8 to 12 (or even sometimes up to 15) times a day. Sounds exhausting, but it’s worth it, trust me! Newborn stomachs are the size of a cherry and can only hold about 1-1.5 tablespoons per feeding the first couple days.
This is why colostrum is so crucial to your baby's nutritional needs. Your body knows that your baby can only take a few drops (literally) at a time, so naturally it makes milk that is calorie and nutrient dense. Don’t worry if you are only producing a few drops of colostrum at the beginning--that is exactly what your baby needs. Keep offering the breast often and your milk supply will quickly increase in volume!
5. Be Patient and Understanding Towards Yourself and Your Baby
Just because breastfeeding is natural, does not mean that it will come easily to
you and your baby. It can be really challenging! Be patient with each other as you
learn together. You are not alone! Find the support that you need. Ask others to be there to support you and help remind you of your goals. Celebrate any and all successes--no matter how small!
Remember, no breastfeeding journey is perfect and breastfeeding is far from ‘one size fits all.’ Use these five tips to get a good start from the beginning and then find what works best for you and your baby. No one knows your baby better than you do, so trust those momma bear instincts! Whether you breastfeed for two days or years, you are doing amazing things for your little one.