For many new moms breastfeeding is a big challenge. As an Ayurvedic Birth Support Coach, I have helped hundreds of women give birth. I have subsequently helped them also in their postpartum period. I have to say that I noticed a few important things that I felt would be important to note. I have seen the difference small things make on the success of breastfeeding. While I am not a lactation consultant, I have studied to be a lactation educator and my own experience helping women breastfeed has informed my thoughts.
Here is what I tell my clients before their birth:
Breastfeeding really is learned through trial and error and with practice.
10 Breastfeeding tips for New Moms:
- Don’t worry about feeding baby immediately
- Be calm and as confident as possible
- Always bring baby to breast and not breast to baby
- Tease the baby’s nose with your nipple
- Allow baby to open WIDE and then bring them to you swiftly!
- Hold them on confidently at the back of the neck
- Remove her from the latch if it hurts or they are chomping on your nipple
- Never feed a baby when they are crying, soothe them first and then put them on
- Make sure to get help early on in the hospital – especially if you have a surgical birth and need to pump.
- See a lactation consultant! (a good one! – and yes, there are many different kinds) and other allied health professionals that can help you!
I have noticed that most new moms who have not “freaked out” in the beginning end up breastfeeding really easily or much easier than those who do! Most of my clients tell me that they hear different opinions from different nurses or LC’s and this may be confusing. What I’ve noticed is that while there is definitely a learning period for both mom and babe, after a short amount of time, mom doesn’t need any of the tips or techniques that others use…they figure out what works for them and it does!
You and Your Baby Are Connected
Baby feels what you do. When they come to the breast and everyone freaks out, feels nervous, starts to fuss, babies wonder what the heck is going on! They must wonder, why is it that mom is upset or everyone gets all worked up when I come to eat? It then becomes a cause and effect…well, I don’t want to upset mom, so I won’t go to breast. This absolutely can happen because they don’t know why there is a lot of tension and naturally would think it’s because they are feeding.
Know that it is a dance that needs to be learned by both you and your baby. It takes time.
It’s a Long Term Endeavor
Since you probably plan to do this for a while, or at least more than once, make sure that getting a good latch is your goal. This means that first of all it doesn’t hurt. If it hurts…and still hurts after some time…it’s probably not ideal. Most moms don’t take baby off the breast at this point….but, you have to! Release the suction using one of your fingers and then relatch! Definitely bring baby to breast, rather than breast to baby. It teaches the baby to open up really wide…which is important if you still want to have your nipple after the feeding! The other thing is that when you bring your breast to the baby, most moms kink some part of their neck or back and that doesn’t feel so great! Trust me, you will hurt and you’ve already been through a lot!
When you tease the baby’s nose with your nipple…they smell that good stuff and they go for it! They open their mouth and all their airways are open…wider their jaw, the safer your nipples…and the less painful breastfeeding will be!
Over time, you will figure out the best way to hold your baby and maneuver your breasts. It can be challenging at first. As the baby gets bigger…you won’t need to do hardly anything…so don’t give up at first….
Get the Help You Need
The other thing is…it’s really hard to know exactly how much your baby is getting. Some women take 30-40 minutes to produce 2 oz of breastmilk and some women take 5 minutes. Having an expert help you figure out transfer will be really important. It will help you to understand what’s happening in your specific case. Sometimes, babies just like to suck to be and feel soothed! Over time, you will get to know your baby and his or her cues for chow time and just wanting your attention!
The best thing to do is to never feed a crying or very unhappy baby. Soothe that angel first….and then put them to the breast.
Getting help early on in the hospital helps increase your toolkit of techniques to approach breastfeeding. Even if you get differing advice, you can incorporate and see what works best for you. Get help on how to use your pump for moms who need to provide breastmilk to their babe who might need additional support will be important. Situations where skin on skin cannot be immediately done might need more coaching. Make sure to seek out help when you need it.
And the most important thing is…this journey can be really scary, really hard and just plain overwhelming. Here’s a secret….you don’t have to do it alone. Accessing resources is totally worth it and you should seek help when things aren’t as easy as you would like them to be. Some babies have muscular tension, structural or functional restrictions just because or due to birth. A lactation consultant is qualified and able to diagnose any such issues and provide you with great resources to help both you and your baby. They will usually refer you to allied health care practitioners that can help give you more solutions after a diagnosis.
Find a great lactation consultant and craniosacral therapist and keep their number in your phone. A good one can make things great. A bad one will only make you more frustrated and confused. Finally, remember that while some things do have a singular cause and effect…most things occur in context and because we are all multifaceted individuals…there can be many factors contributing to difficult breastfeeding. Get the help of someone who may help and support you to identify and find solutions to your challenging issues.