5 Breastfeeding Tips For First-Time Moms

Mother’s milk is the perfect food for newborns, containing all the nutrients they need. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggests the cells, hormones, and antibodies in a mother’s breast milk help to protect babies from illnesses including, but not limited to, asthma, obesity, type I diabetes, SIDS, and more. Although the benefits stated above are wonderful and many assume breastfeeding comes easily and naturally, the truth is that breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult. 

Breastfeeding Tips

Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we understand the difficulties many women face during breastfeeding, from your baby not latching properly to blocked milk ducts. That’s why we have compiled a list of five breastfeeding tips for first-time moms: 

      1. Hold Your Baby Skin-To-Skin

Skin-to-skin has terrific benefits for your baby, such as skin hydration, more stable blood sugar, less crying, lower levels of stress hormones, and a protective barrier. The Cleveland Clinic states that eight different research studies have shown that babies who have had the benefit of skin-to-skin breastfeed better, along with nurse an average of six weeks longer. 

      2. Eat Healthy And Stay Hydrated

Eating healthy is not only important while your baby is in utero but after too! The CDC suggests a mother’s need for iodine and choline increases during lactation. These nutrients can be found in eggs, seafood, dairy products, beans, peas, and lentils. 

It is also important to note that generally, women need an additional 330 to 400 calories a day when breastfeeding, but this may vary based on a woman’s age, BMI, activity levels, and extent of lactation. Additionally, because breastmilk is about 90% water, a good rule of thumb is to have an 8-ounce glass of water every time you breastfeed to ensure you stay hydrated. 

      3. Experiment With Different Positions

If you struggle to find a position that works for you and your baby, don’t be afraid to experiment with different holds! Some common positions for breastfeeding include:

No matter how you choose to position yourself, remember to always raise your baby at the height of your nipple, rather than leaning your baby over, and ensure a good latch. A good latch is one that is comfortable and causes no pain. 

      4. Focus On Your Baby, Not The Clock

In the first few weeks, it is common for a newborn to want to feed eight to twelve times per day and spend roughly 15 minutes nursing on each breast. Even with this general guidance, it is always important to focus more on your baby than on the clock. Continue to follow your baby’s cues when it comes to mealtime. Signs that your baby may be hungry include:

  • Putting his/her hands to his/her lips
  • Sucking on his/her fingers
  • Whimpers and moves his/her arms and hands
  • Nuzzles in your breast

There is no magic number or amount of minutes your baby is supposed to breastfeed for. Always focus on the quality of the feed over the length!

      5. Take It One Day At A Time

Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience between you and your baby. It also provides the perfect food for your child at just the right temperature for easy digestion and absorption of nutrients. However, although natural, it doesn’t always mean it’s easy. When it comes to breastfeeding, some days can be easier than others. It is essential to take it one day at a time and enjoy this intimate time between you and your baby. If breastfeeding becomes difficult or uncomfortable, always reach out for help. 

At the end of the day, breastfeeding is not easy. The goal is to learn what to expect beforehand so when it comes time, all your attention can be on doing what’s best for you and your baby. Do you have more questions about breastfeeding, specifically as a first-time mom? Kernodle OB/GYN is here to provide you with answers, resources, and unmatched levels of care. Check out our website or give us a call for more information.

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