Breastfeeding can seem intimidating to a new mother. Your body has gone through and is continuing to go through so many new changes. You’re experiencing things that you never have before. We want to help make sure you’re ready for this journey into motherhood by helping shed some light on how to breastfeed your newborn baby successfully. It’s not always as immediate and natural as you are led to believe. Your OBGYN is here to help and make sure this transition into breastfeeding goes smoothly.
Why Should I Breastfeed?
Breast milk provides complete nutrition for your baby and can help prevent illness. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer occurrences of common childhood illnesses, have fewer allergies, a lower risk of obesity and diabetes, reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and higher IQs than their formula-fed counterparts. Breast milk also can change and adapt to the nutrition needs of your baby and contains all essential vitamins and nutrients to help them grow and develop.
Breastfeeding mothers are at a lower risk of ovarian and breast cancer. It also helps with postpartum weight loss and creates a bonding experience between mom and infant.
How Do I Get My Baby To Latch On?
This is a very common question from new mothers. Some babies are a bit more challenging to work with, so have patience and don’t give up if it doesn’t seem to work at first. Support the baby’s head and tilt it back a bit. Lightly graze your baby’s lower lip with your nipple to make the baby open their mouth. With its chin lifted and nose in line with your nipple, bring the baby to your breast. The baby’s chin will make contact first, sinking deep into your breast and the nose will not be touching. Keep the baby’s neck straight for easy swallowing, and they should be securely latched. Successful latching will feel like a tug or pull. If there is any pain, this usually has to do with positioning, so try to adjust the baby. If that doesn’t work, re-latch.
How Long Should My Baby Nurse?
As long as the baby is actively suckling and swallowing, you can allow it to feed. As you notice the baby’s suckling start to slow down, try massaging your breast to move more milk to the baby. Once the baby stops suckling, use your small finger to reach into the baby’s mouth and release the suction. Burp to clear air and only offer the second breast if you notice the baby telling any feeding cues.
How Do I Know If My Baby is Eating Enough?
Keep track of how your baby’s diapers look for an indication of proper nutrition. Keep track of the color of the baby’s stools and count any stools that look like the size of a tablespoon or more. Keep a log and bring it to your first pediatrician appointment. If you see your baby is gaining weight, this is an indication that they are eating enough. It is common within the few days after birth that they lose up to 8% of their weight. They typically return to this weight within two weeks. You will establish a milk supply within the first three weeks, and the more you breastfeed, the more milk your body will produce to meet the demand.
Do I Need to Pump?
You can choose to pump if you are unable to feed your baby according to its demanding schedule naturally. Otherwise, as long as your baby is nursing enough to make your breasts soft, you do not need to pump. You may need to pump if your baby is only feeding on one breast or your areola needs to soften for latching. Other than situations where you are feeling discomfort from not having fed or having difficulty latching, pumping is entirely your choice to make.
Contact Brownsville Center of Obstetrics & Gynecology!
If you’re in the Brownsville area of Texas and have any questions about breastfeeding or would like to consult with someone who can help you feel more comfortable breastfeeding your baby, give us a call to schedule an appointment today!