Breastfeeding may be natural and intuitive for both the mother and baby, but it can come with a lot of challenges. Many new moms discover the difficulty that comes with breastfeeding, whether their child won't latch on or it's hard to keep up the supply of milk. There are a few ways to make it easier and have a smoother process.
Help Your Baby Stay Awake
One of the main reasons babies fail to get enough milk and learn how to nurse is because they're prone to falling asleep. It's common for babies to be sleepy when they eat when they're newborns, but it's important to help them stay awake by tickling their toes or taking off a warm blanket that may be making them too cozy. This will ensure they get enough to eat to prevent them from wanting to nurse again in an hour. It will also help your body produce more milk the longer they stay latched.
Let Your Baby Determine How Often and How Long To Nurse
Don’t set predetermined intervals between feedings and then deny your baby food just because enough time hasn’t gone by. Let your baby determine how much they need to nurse. Your baby knows their needs better than you do right now. There is no need to worry if they nurse for only ten minutes or forty-five minutes, some babies are fast eaters and others like to take their time.
While making sure you and your baby are comfortable while nursing, you should try your best to relax as well. Your baby can sense when you’re tense about breastfeeding and this may result in them not latching on correctly. Check out the environment you are in before breastfeeding. If it's stressful or a place that makes you uncomfortable, find a place that can make you feel more at ease. This is supposed to be an enjoyable time with your baby, not a stressful one.
Staying hydrated is very important for you and your baby. Remember, you are still eating and drinking for two. Drinking water replenishes the body, so a good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed. This will ensure that your body can make enough milk and that you are staying hydrated at the same time.
Practice the Latch
One of the most common reasons so many women have trouble nursing is because their baby fails to latch onto their breast properly. Getting a good latch is key to ensure there's enough milk letdown and to prevent damage from occurring to the tissue in the breast. You can work with a lactation specialist at the hospital where you delivered your child to determine how to improve the latch and help your baby develop a better habit. You may also need to hold your baby better or prop their head up more to ensure they stay latched on as they nurse.
Practice Skin to Skin
During the first few days that you start to breastfeed, practice skin to skin as much as possible. This requires keeping your baby directly on your chest as your little one nurses, which will not only help you develop an emotional bond but will teach your baby when it's time to nurse. The baby will begin to latch easily before crying, allowing the transition to breastfeeding to be a lot more seamless.
Don't wait several months to try and breastfeed on your own, especially if it's your first time as a mom. Services are available through the hospital to ensure you can have access to a certified lactation specialist. The expert will take the time to practice nursing with you and your child and will identify any causes of the breastfeeding issues. They can even look at the baby's mouth to determine if there are possible tongue or lip ties that are preventing them from latching on correctly.
With the support of a lactation specialist, you can get encouragement from someone that is positive and nurturing when you're not sure what other steps to take to feed your child.
By following a few tips and techniques, it can make it easier to nurse and help your little one feed in the first days of their life. It can also help you to stay motivated to care for your child and avoid giving up as you help them grow and develop. If you need anything, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Medical.
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