Breastfeeding is number one on the list when it is about nourishing your baby, therefore the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend exclusively breastfeeding your infant at least in the first six months. This means no water, no juice, only breastmilk.
However many mothers choose not to breastfeed, and to each their own. This guide is for you if you do choose breastfeeding.
So let's start.
There is a huge amount of information out there about breastfeeding but there are even more questions. For new mothers this can be especially can be really overwhelming at first, but no need to panic.
Here I come with a quick guide prepared for you moms out there wondering how you can master the art and beauty of breastfeeding.
Rule 1: Take care of yourself. Then you can take care of others
Give extra attention to your physical health (and of course your mental health)!
Did you know that your body burns an extra 400-500 calories when breastfeeding? I didn’t at first.
This means no calorie cutbacks just yet. New mothers tend to rush into losing pregnancy weight but this is an important fact to remember. The amount of your food should be generous and the quality of your meals the highest possible. This way you can provide the best for you and your infant.
The best is to consume foods high in protein, healthy fat, leafy greens, root vegetables, beans and legumes and incorporate nuts and seeds as often as possible.
Only foods high in vitamins and minerals will provide replenishment to your energy store and help you keep up producing your precious breast milk.
Just as important as your meal choice is important is to watch for the quantity of your daily water intake.
You can easily experience intense thirstiness while breastfeeding unless you make sure your water bottle is emptied frequently. Which is why on my other blog post, I recommended seeing up a dedicated feeding area in your home with a table next to it. Keep water and snacks for yourself on this table.
As we lose ourselves in the joy and love for our baby, we forget that after giving birth our body is also in a high repairing mode itself. Healthy eating is crucial for a fast recovery and for the best development of your baby.
To note here that it is also recommended for you to have at least four postnatal health check ups in the first two months after giving birth.
Rule 2: Master latching
The very most important aspect of breastfeeding is to get the best practices for latching, it will add to the well-being of your baby and to yours. One of the secrets to proper latching on is to get your baby to close its mouth on your areola.
Here are a few more tips for the best latching practices:
- Find the most comfortable and quiet location for breastfeeding.
- Hold your baby skin to skin, support their neck and shoulders throughout the whole process.
- A gentle tickle will encourage your baby to open her mouth, this is the best trick to achieve our final goal.
- Baby's chin should be lifted off its chest. Baby's chin and cheek should be touching mom's breast.
- Always aim the lower lips away from the base of your nipple. Angle the nipple towards the baby's palate.
When you hear a clicking or smacking noise and your child is sucking her cheeks in and her lips are aiming inwards, it's a shallow latch and you will end up with sore nipples. A nice deep latch is where the mouth is about 140° angle open wide with both lips flanged.
Failed breastfeeding practices will result in poor milk supply, and your baby will not get enough milk and your breast won’t be stimulated to produce more milk.
If this wouldn't be fun enough you will end up with cracked and painful nipples.
I don’t want you to live this beautiful experience in pain, so make sure you check out this smart designed Breast Shell & Nipple Shield Set.
They are designed to help you ease the pain caused by breastfeeding. Helps you to even store your milk and minimize its waste.
It prevents yeast infections which can develop easily when the nipples are cracked and chaffed.
They are designed to be super comfortable and discreet.
Rule 3: Get the hang of the best milk storing practices
Start with acquiring the right milk saving containers and collectors!
You can do this even before the arrival of your baby, but if you haven’t thought of this yet I’m sure it’s not too late.
Each and every time your liquid gold has to be stored in a clean sterilized container, the last thing you want is to infect your baby with germs and bacteria.
It is of course best to use up freshly pumped milk as soon as possible, but kept at room temperature you can store it up to four hours, and in constant refrigeration up to three days.
If you have the chance and would like to keep your breast milk longer than the above mentioned time, you can freeze it up to six months.
When freezing breastmilk the best is to keep in mind to label the container with the date of milk pumping. The labels help you know the oldest milk in your freezer, so you can use that up faster.
Rule 4: Worried that quantity of your milk supply isn’t enough? Stop!
You have done everything right and you are still worried that your milk supply isn’t enough?
As a new mommy overthinking just about everything is very common, questions around your milk supply will just add to the daily stress.
Pay attention to a few details and you can be quite sure whether you need to compliment your baby’s meal or not and make your life much easier.
Tips on how to be sure your baby is well fed:
- Weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding. Note down the before and after numbers. The difference will suggest if your baby has gotten enough nourishment. You can keep up this practice throughout the first 2-3 months.
- Observe your baby’s sleeping pattern. If she is often asleep and calm indicates that she is getting the right amount of nutrients. If your baby is frequently crying and sucking her fingers it will be most likely because she is looking for more breast milk.
- You can expect that when your baby is well fed, it will soil around five diapers with yellow coloured waste and twelve wet diapers a day. The big difference from these numbers can indicate that your baby needs extra nourishment.
If none of the above mentioned works for you and you are still thinking about your milk supply, you can always ask for help from your pediatrician.
Rule 5: Don’t get lost in the overload of information
I know you and other fellow new mommies have many questions and probably you have had many different information getting to you.
The best you can do is try not to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Reach out for help, or read my other articles, we are here for you.
We mommies shall stick together on this beautiful journey of motherhood.