The Top 10 Tips for Breastfeeding SuccessMar 11, 2020
Tip # 10 - A mother’s diet does NOT greatly affect the quality of her breast milk!
Think about it…mothers around the world have the amazing ability to make milk, regardless of their living environment! Although, here in the US, we are very fortunate to have good food sources and obtain relatively healthy diets, but this still has very little influence on a mother’s ability to make good, quality milk. With that being said, it is important to know that a woman needs more calories while she is breastfeeding than when she is pregnant! You should try to consume approximately 300-500 more calories to your usual diet while breastfeeding. Protein intake is especially important for the breastfeeding mama! Continue taking your prenatal vitamin, eat a well-rounded healthy diet, and have adequate fluid intake indicated by clear or pale yellow urine.
Tip # 9 - There are very few medications that are contraindicated during breastfeeding!
A mother’s body provides amazing filtering when it comes to most medications. It is always best to check with your health provider or lactation consultant when it comes to medications. Some are safer than others and there are always alternatives!
Tip #8 - The size of your breasts do NOT indicate how much milk your body will be able to make for your baby!
Your cup size is mainly determined by how much subcutaneous fat you have in your breasts. One of the most important indications about your ability to make milk is how your breasts grow during your pregnancy in preparation to produce the milk. Additionally, about 3-5 days after delivery, you should also notice a change in your breasts, specifically how they look, feel, and their fullness. This is a good sign that your milk is transitioning from the colostrum, or the “liquid gold,” that you make in the first few days of breastfeeding to the more mature milk.
Tip #7 - You don’t need a lot of “Breastfeeding Bling” to be able to breastfeed your baby!
In the early days when you are learning to breastfeed, you don’t need a lot of stuff! At minimum you need a baby who is demonstrating early hunger signs (crying is a late hunger cue), a comfortable spot for you to nurse, and a breastfeeding pillow. A good nursing pillow will help out tremendously, giving your baby support and positioning him/her so that they are even with your breasts (saving your back and neck from straining!). To promote a good latch, it is also helpful to use your hands to gently massage your breasts and hand-express a few drops of milk before latching the baby.
Tip #6 - Breast milk is the perfect nutrition for your baby! Human milk for human babies!
There are SO many benefits to breastfeeding your baby! We learn more and more each day about the science and nutritional components of breast milk, and why it is the best nutrition possible for growing babies. One reason being that there are more than 200 components in breast milk that help babies grow more optimally than formula! Did you know that breast milk has antibodies that fight infection and keep babies from getting sick? Formula can be used when needed, but no formula company has not been able to replicate the immunological benefits of breast milk!
Tip 5# - GOLDEN HOUR is the first hour after your baby is born. Skin to skin and the first latch during this time are both great predicators for breastfeeding success!
Research shows that getting off to a good start from the beginning makes a huge difference in how well babies do with breastfeeding. Golden hour is “golden” because babies transition much better from being in the womb to outside of the womb when they are put skin to skin on your chest right after delivery. Sometime within that first hour babies will naturally start to show hunger cues by sticking out their tongue, putting their hands to their mouth, and rooting. This is a great time to put your baby to breast and let them start to nurse.
Tip 4# - The importance of colostrum……LIQUID GOLD!
Did you know that all mammals initially make colostrum? As humans, we are also mammals and so we make colostrum for the first few days following delivery, too! Colostrum comes in very small amounts because a newborn’s tummy is only about the size of a shooter marble. It is called “liquid gold” because it is yellow in appearance and has great benefits for your baby. The consistency is very sticky for lots of good reasons! It covers and “paints’ the gut to prevent bacteria from getting in. Some sources even refer to colostrum as a baby’s first immunization because of all of the great immunological properties it has!
Tip #3 - Breastfeeding takes PRACTICE…PERSISTANCE…PATIENCE!
Like any new skill, it takes doing it over and over and over to get good at it, especially since there are TWO people who are brand new at figuring out how to breastfeed. Just think about your first few days on the job and then fast forward a few months into the job, and then finally, a year into the
Job. You and your baby WILL get better at breastfeeding! With practice, persistence, and lots of patience, you will learn how to best hold and position your baby for breastfeeding. More importantly, you will learn how to read your baby. You as a new mama will begin to recognize when your baby is hungry, how to know when your baby is getting enough milk and what a good feeding looks and feels like.
Tip #2 - The theory of SUPPLY & DEMAND and how to make lots of milk!
The concept is super simple…the higher the demand, the higher the supply that is needed. A similar analogy is just like a factory that makes bikes; as the factory ramps up the production of bikes and sells them, the factory then needs to make more bikes. As the baby nurses more frequently, it sends a message to the brain and breasts to increase milk supply. Babies nurse every 2-3 hours because the milk is digested super easily and the stomach capacity is small. As babies grow and need more milk, the breasts will naturally make more milk.
THE #1 BREASTFEEDING TIP - REACH OUT FOR HELP EARLY!
We all agree that breastfeeding is one of the most natural ways you can feed your newborn. It should be easy, right? Well unfortunately, not always. In fact, one research study showed that 1 in 3 women will have breastfeeding difficulty by day three. Yes, babies are innately born with the reflex to suck and moms have the maternal anatomy to do so BUT the two don’t always dance beautifully together in the beginning. Ask for help in the hospital and find a qualified lactation consultant to connect with once you get home. There is outpatient help available at most hospitals, WIC offices, Le Leche League, and those of us, like myself, who do private practice make house calls and offer virtual lactation support. Finding experienced breastfeeding support plays an integral role in the success that many moms have with breastfeeding.
You got this, Mama!
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