Keeping these details in mind can feel overwhelming, so we put together 15 of the best tips to help you on your journey.
Top 15 Breastfeeding Tips
1. Support your breasts for better latchingHold your breast with your hand while feeding, placing your fingers back behind the areola. This position helps improve milk flow and reduces the likelihood of sore nipples post-feeding.
2. Hold your baby tummy to tummy, and nose to nipplePlace your baby against your skin, ensuring their stomach is touching yours. Then, point your nipple at their nose, not their mouth. This way, they’ll be encouraged to lift their head and open their mouth wide enough for a proper latch.
3. Track your feedingsResearch shows that babies need to be breastfed at least 8 times in 24 hours, but that number can range from 7 to 19. Count your feedings to ensure your baby gets the nutrients they need to thrive.
4. Feed by needWhile tracking your feedings is essential, it’s also important not to get too caught up in the numbers. Focus on feeding your baby as frequently as they want. This will help your breasts continue producing enough milk to adjust to your baby’s demands.
5. Be in the same room as your babyKeeping your baby near you during its first few months has many benefits, one of which is more consistent breastfeeding. Consider placing your baby’s crib in your room during this critical period, and you’ll become more attuned to their needs and feeding schedules.
6. Avoid confusing your baby with pacifiersGiving a new baby a pacifier or teat can create confusion and cause them to breastfeed less. Instead, focus on providing your breasts for your baby to feed or suck on as often as possible to satisfy them and increase your milk supply.
7. Create a comfortable nursing stationYou’ll spend a lot of time breastfeeding during the first year of your baby’s life. So why not make it comfortable? Put together a nursing station in your home with a breastfeeding pillow, cozy chair, snacks and water, nursing pads, and a book or magazines.
8. Get in the right moodNursing isn’t just a physical act - it’s also a mental one. Being relaxed and attuned to your body can help you produce more milk for your baby. To get into this calm headspace, download a galactagogue - a relaxation recording to stimulate milk production.
9. Avoid pushing the back of your baby’s neckPutting pressure on the back of your baby’s neck can trigger their instinct to resist and bite down. Instead, place your hands at the nape of their neck while feeding.
10. Make sure you’re taking care of yourselfAs a breastfeeding parent, you need about 300 more calories per day than in your last trimester to ensure your body is healthy and strong enough to produce milk. So prioritize taking care of yourself during this time, with frequent snacking and larger meals.
11. A happy baby is likely a healthy babyKeeping track of your baby’s growth and other factors is important. If your baby is experiencing lower-than-normal weight gain but looks happy, has linear growth, and is hitting other milestones, there might be nothing to worry about. Get a second opinion for reassurance.
12. Start bottle feeding at 4-6 weeksThis two-week window is ideal for introducing a bottle to your newborn. If you start too soon, the baby could develop nipple confusion, and if you start too late, you risk bottle refusal. Allow someone else to give your baby their first bottle to make the transition easier.
13. Take care of your nipplesTry these simple tips to prevent sore nipples:
- Only touch your nipples with clean hands
- Wear a clean bra with proper breast support
- Avoid using harsh soaps, which can cause dryness
- Use water-based hydrogen pads to keep your nipples moisturized between feedings
14. Track your baby's diapersTo ensure your baby gets enough nutrients through breastfeeding, keep track of how many diapers they’re going through. In the first month, your baby should produce six or more wet diapers and have three to four bowel movements per day.
15. Seek support
Learning to breastfeed properly is a journey rife with highs and lows. Don't struggle through it alone if you’re having a hard time. Seek help from friends, family, and lactation consultants in your area.