If you’ve just become a mother, there are probably a lot of things on your mind, from diaper changes, to baby clothes, to the sheer amazement at how little sleep you can actually survive on.
One potentially difficult aspect that few women fully prepare for is breastfeeding. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, there is a good chance that breastfeeding will take a bit of practice before you feel comfortable. Here are five tips to help you get off to a good start:
1. Create A Relaxing Environment
If you can get yourself to relax, chances are that you will have a much easier time breastfeeding. When you get home from the hospital, create a special spot in your house for you and your baby with a rocking chair, calm lighting and your favorite blankets and pillows.
2. Invest In The Essentials
Having the right tools can make breastfeeding a lot easier. If you plan on returning to work or doing any other activities that may require you to be away from your baby, you will need to purchase a good breast pump. Pumped milk can be put away in the freezer for later, enabling your husband or another loved one to feed your baby while you aren’t around. Another important tool for breastfeeding is a nursing pillow, which aids you in holding your baby in the most optimal feeding position. Not only can this help your baby latch onto your nipple, but it will also help relax your body and keep you from becoming uncomfortable.
3. Eat Well And Stay Hydrated
Creating breast milk is a powerful process, and many different nutrients are required by the body to make it happen. It’s very important that you eat plenty of calories during this time, focusing on healthy, nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Drinking a lot of water is also crucial, as your body requires extra fluid to make milk.
4. Sleep When The Baby Sleeps
This advice has been passed down from woman to woman for many generations, so you probably already know that laying down as soon as your baby is asleep may be your only chance to get some much-needed rest. However, you may not have known that this can actually encourage healthy breast milk production. When your body is exhausted, it can’t do anything as efficiently, and a quick nap can prepare both you and the baby for a better feeding. As an added benefit, being well rested has been shown to reduce your chances of developing postpartum depression.
5. Nurse as Often As Possible
The more often you nurse, the easier it will be to stimulate breast milk production. It is recommended that a new mother nurse at least once every three hours, especially during your baby’s first few days. This will help you get into a routine and learn what works and what doesn’t work for you and your baby.
Being a mother will be the most amazing journey that you will ever experience. By choosing to breast feed, you are giving your baby the best start that he or she could possibly have, strengthening the bond between you, and preparing for a long and beautiful future together.
Nadine Swayne presents these tips to all new mothers. Breastfeeding can sometimes be daunting and a mom can use all the help possible. Whether it’s drinking plenty of water or getting help from using nursing pillows, finding the right method to care for your new baby is an essential.