Tips for Success with Breastfeeding
Following are tips from Suzanne Deliee, RN. Suzanne leads regular breastfeeding workshops for new and expectant mothers at LSA. To find out more or register for a workshop, contact us at (646) 672-5200.
Before the baby is born
Establish a support network: The first thing to do is talk to other people, especially people who have had positive experiences. Make sure you have other people involved for your support –the father, your partner or other people in your household.
Talk to your doctor about it and prepare yourself by reading about breastfeeding and about good nutrition during pregnancy. You can also look for a good course, but make sure that it is in-depth and that it offers thorough information about breastfeeding.
At the hospital
As the birth of the baby approaches, make sure your doctor and the nurses at the hospital know right away that you want to breastfeed.
If you really want to be successful from the beginning, put the baby to breast immediately after birth — at least within the first hour. Ask that the baby not be fed formula, and ask to have the baby sleep in your room or be brought to you when it is time to feed.
You can also ask for lactation support in the hospital.
In the first few days
Recognize that it’s a learning experience for both mom and baby. Be determined not to give up easily! Know that in the first couple of weeks breastfeeding will be your full-time job. In the first days, you’ll need to feed your baby frequently to really get your flow established – every one to two hours. Eventually you’ll get a rhythm.
Patience and a good support system are your very best allies. If you don’t go to a good support group, at least seek the support of some of your good friends. Definitely elicit the support of your partner!
Advice for challenges
In the beginning, latch is important – make sure that the baby isn’t just sucking on the end of your nipple. It should have a good grasp on the areola and on the breast.
If the baby is just sucking on the end of your nipple, put your finger in the baby’s mouth to break the suction, and take the baby off right away. With a good latch, your nipple should be touching the top of the baby’s palate. Though you’ll feel it when the baby really latches on, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful; if the baby has a good latch, it won’t be.
If you’re having trouble with the baby latching, change positions to try to find one that the baby will be more comfortable with, and make yourself as comfortable as possible. The baby will feel your tension if you are uncomfortable.
Recognize the importance of skin to skin contact. Try to nurse with the baby undressed (except for diapers!). Skin to skin contact soothes your baby and makes her feel more comfortable.
Sometimes moms complain about having inverted nipples. For a lot of moms – especially first time moms – their nipples don’t protrude enough for the baby to latch on easily. The suction of the baby is the best force to bring the nipple out. There also different apparatuses that may help, such as a breast pump.
Have patience and don’t give your baby formula or a pacifier in the first three weeks until the baby really establishes good breastfeeding habits. And if you experience anything unusual, consult a lactation specialist.