Breastfeeding is recommended as best for your baby. It has its own amazing benefits for your health, too. But it’s not always easy to breastfeed, especially for first-time mothers. How does one get started in this incredible bonding experience with their babies?
During your pregnancy, you should start reading and researching more about the practice of breastfeeding. It will definitely help a lot when the time comes for you to begin the journey yourself.
What You should know about Breastfeeding
That First Moment
The best time to start breastfeeding is when you hold your baby in the delivery room/hospital for the first time. Don’t be concerned if, at first, your breast only produces a small amount of milk. It is called colostrum, a very special milk known to help your baby’s health and protect your baby from any infection.
The newborn baby may have difficulty finding, latching on properly, and staying on your nipple. Be patient. You will learn that breastfeeding requires lots of practice.
How Often is Often?
Answer: As often as you can and as often as your baby needs your milk.
The more you nurse, the more milk you’ll produce. Nursing 8 to 12 times every 24 hours could be considered a good average.
You should nurse your newborn at the early signs of hunger, such as increased activity or restlessness, mouthing, or reaching for your nipple. Don’t wait for the baby to start crying for milk. Crying is a manifestation of the late stage of hunger.
Find What’s Comfortable for You and Baby
Be prepared to be in one position for up to 40 minutes in a breastfeeding session, especially in the first few months after birth. When you’re uncomfortable, your baby could detect that from your movements.
You wouldn’t want to move often if the baby is comfortable or almost dozing off.
Find a comfortable spot and use support items like a nursing pillow and/or nursing chair to make breastfeeding easier.
A Healthy Mommy is a Healthy Baby
A regular healthy diet is all you need while nursing. Always keep your hunger in check and maintain high levels of energy throughout the day. The best way to do this is to eat small meals and supplement with snacks in between. Do you remember the way you have done this during your pregnancy?
Although you can produce milk for your baby even if your nutrition isn’t the best, by eating a well-balanced diet, you can ensure that the quantity and quality of your milk is the one that is healthy for your baby. You will also need to keep yourself hydrated during those breastfeeding months. Drink lots of water.
You need that Extra 200 to 500 calories.
As a general guideline, breastfeeding women would need an extra 200 to 500 calories than the regular daily intake of one who is not breastfeeding. This isn’t the time to starve yourself or go on a diet to get back to your pre-pregnancy body. Your body and your baby need all the good nutrients. Listen to your hunger and don’t count calories.
Be mindful of your food or drinks intake.
You will pass that on to your baby through your milk. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. Watch how certain foods (like spicy ones) affect your milk and how your baby responds to the changes (for example, colic) in your food consumption.
Get Support and Guidance
Although breastfeeding has been a practice of many mothers for centuries, it doesn’t always come easily. A lot of women experience difficulty at the early stages of breastfeeding. Some of the most common problems you may encounter in the first six weeks include:
- engorgement (breasts are excessively full)
- sore nipples
- mastitis (a breast infection)
- baby doesn’t latch
- low milk supply
Don’t allow yourself to suffer in silence. Immediately call your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant if you’re suffering from any of the above, or if you’re in pain, or if any physical discomfort is getting in the way of nursing.
How did you get started with your breastfeeding journey?
Any tips that you can share with first-time mothers?
My tip is not to be shy. When I had my daughter it was like taboo to breastfeed in public. I Carried around a blanket to cover myself and baby and just felt so awkward. Now it is becoming more and more accessible to breastfeed in public it is a natural thing and shouldn’t have to be hidden. Next baby (Due in March) I will definitely be less worried about it.
– Melissa A. | Abbotsford, BC
Positive attitude is key. Yes, it’s difficult at first. You just have to keep in your mind, “I can do this” and “this is a wonderful thing I can do for my baby.” You got this!
– Austynn M. | Edmonton, AB
Make sure you establish a milk supply in the first 3 weeks. Feed or pump as often as you can.
– Mandy | Leduc, AB
Be calm….. The calmer you are the calmer baby will be and have a better feeding, don’t believe everything you hear or read….. Find what works for you what may have worked for others may not work for you, we are all different and that includes breastfeeding. And finally remember above all else breastfeeding is natural. There is no shame in feeding your child. The shame is on the people who feel uncomfortable with you breastfeeding…. Relax and enjoy, it goes by faster than you realize.
– Jacqelyn T. | Mission
Every nurse will tell you a different way as the only right way to breastfeed. Find a way that’s right for you and your baby, as long as your baby latches right then you’re fine.
– Katrina P. | Sudbury, ON
Stick with it. It is challenging at first and painful. But if you keep at it, the nipple soreness goes away. Drink pineapple juice for any engorgement issues. Don’t eat anything that makes you gassy because then it goes into your milk and your baby can get colicky. Make sure you enjoy the bonding of bf because it doesn’t last forever.
– Gigi M. Winnipeg, MB
I’m a first time mom and the best tip that I received and would like to pass on is Don’t Give Up. It’s not easy but worth it when the baby and the mom get it.
– Jen B. | Cornwall, ON
Skin to skin with your baby. Unlimited latch to produce more milk. Don’t time breastfeeding your baby. Healthy diet (more soup) liquids. Seek advice or help to the lactation nurse. Stay positive and think positive.
– Donabelle J. | Markham, ON
You are going to have days where you are frustrated. Remember that the baby can feel your frustration and it will make it even more difficult. Just take a deep calming breath and even take a moment before trying again. Once you are calm baby will be too and will latch easier. Breastfeeding isn’t easy but you can do it!
– Shanna F. | Conception Bay South, NL
– Rhonda B. | McLennan, AB
Make horseradish tea or eat the vegetable to increase your breastmilk production.
– Priscilla C. | Delta, ON
Don’t give up! The more persistent you are in the beginning will make it easier in the long run – but also don’t be afraid to supplement with formula if you need to. Sometimes it’s just the boost the baby needs to get started with their latch. Hang in there!
– Kayla | Barrie, ON
Don’t be afraid to breastfeed in public ! Remember it’s a beautiful thing so don’t be embarrassed!
– Jennifer T. | Centerville, ON
Watch baby not the clock! Don’t stress at how long baby is feeding as long as they are gaining weight and wetting enough diapers!
– Brittney T. | Edmonton, AB
Don’t introduce a bottle for at least 1 month. Keep positive and don’t give up they will get it eventually. My son only eats lying down.
– Stephanie M. | Squamish, BC
Learn to feed lying on your side. Makes night feeding so much easier.
– Megan A. | Vancouver, BC
Just stay calm. It can be frustrating at first and you Just do your best. That’s all you can do. Also don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t breastfeed. Everyone’s bodys different.
– Kristen W. | Warburg, AB
Be patient. Take deep breaths if you feel frustrated because the baby will sense it and it’ll make you want to give up but DONT! Take a minute to calm down and then try again. Third time is always the charm for my baby girl. But it could be the 10th time until the baby latches so keep trying! You can do it!
– Cera Q. | Campbellford, ON
Warm up your breasts with warm towel for better milk flow.
– Anastasiya T. | Richmond, BC
Don’t give up! It could be challenging in the beginning but keep at it…it will get easier!
– Melissa M. | Prince Albert, AB
Fennel essential oil on the breast tissue (not the nipple) helps with milk flow.
– Joelle M. | Timmins, ON
I used a silicone nipple shield the whole 8 months I nursed him, didn’t have to worry about cracked nipples, And to wean him off I just used the same silicone bottle nipple.
– Brittany J Thomas | Saskatoon, SK
Don’t beat yourself up, it isn’t easy for everyone!!!
– Jessica Y. | Halifax, HS
Take your vitamins and drink lots of water.
– Stephanie S. | Toronto, ON
Breastmilk is the best thing for sore cracked nipples and how much you pump is not a good indication of how much you are producing! Babies are better at getting milk out than the most expensive pump out there, so don’t worry!
– Samantha S. | St.Francois Xavier, MB
Relax your body. Bring the baby to your breasts, than the breasts to baby.
– Crystal M. | Vancouver, BC
Babies are all different, even with feeding habits. Some babies prefer several “short courses” of feeding, while others prefer one long feeding. Don’t rush your baby. Discover what works for both of you.
– Amanda C. | Saskatoon, SK
Written by: Donna Costa
Check out our blog – Postnatal Yoga – Benefits for You and your Baby