Breastfeeding can benefit your baby, but it can be intimidating if you’re a first-time mom. It’s a learning process for you and your baby.
Some discomfort may be inevitable, especially at first.
Getting help, taking care of your mental health, drinking enough fluids, eating healthily, and taking care of your breasts are all important when you’re breastfeeding. Here are five tips to consider.
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1. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
You may have many questions when you start breastfeeding for the first time. How do you hold your baby, so both you and the baby are comfortable?
How do you encourage the baby to latch on and feed? How do you know if the baby is latching on properly?
How do you remove the baby from your breast when you finish feeding? You may often feel tired, frustrated, and in need of answers.
These questions are very common, and you don’t have to figure this out all on your own.
Many of these providers also offer telemedicine services, so you can get the answers you need through a video or telephone call.
2. Stay hydrated
When you’re breastfeeding, it is important for you to drink plenty of fluids. Water, milk, broths, herb teas, and soups are all good liquids to drink.
Try to avoid sugary drinks and juices that contain too much sugar. It will help to drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed.
You need to drink more if your urine is dark yellow, as it should be pale yellow in color. If you get dehydrated, you can experience symptoms like fatigue and dizziness.
Limit caffeine intake to two to three cups, as it could agitate your baby and interfere with sleep. Don’t feed for at least two hours after drinking alcohol.
There is no level of alcohol in breast milk that is safe for a baby. You could consider pumping breast milk before drinking it on a special occasion to feed the baby.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
When you’re breastfeeding, you need to fuel yourself to feed your baby. Eating a varied and balanced diet high in vegetables, whole grains, and fruits can regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent you from craving foods high in fat or sugar.
Breastfeeding can burn up to 300 calories a day, so it’s not the time to try and restrict your diet. You should choose snacks rich in nutrients, such as whole grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, yogurt, or a medium apple or banana.
If you suspect something in your diet is affecting your baby, try to avoid it for up to a week and see if this makes a difference. Babies may react to garlic, cabbage, or onions in your diet.
4. Take care of your breasts
Nipple pain and incorrect latching are common when trying to breastfeed. Relief may just be a matter of making some small adjustments.
Simply changing position may help your baby to latch on better. You must allow the baby’s chin to lead first into your breast so the head tilts up.
This opens the mouth wider and makes correct latching more likely. The mouth should cover as much of the areola as possible with the nipple further inside the mouth.
Some tips for breastfeeding pain relief include applying a breast ointment and letting your nipples air out after feeding.
This can help with cracked nipples. If your breasts are engorged, you can apply cold compresses to help relieve soreness.
If your breasts feel painful and you have flu-like symptoms or a rash, it could be an early sign of mastitis. This can happen when milk builds up in the breast.
The treatment is to take antibiotics and continue breastfeeding, which will resolve it in a few days.
5. Get Enough Rest
To whatever degree possible, you need to get enough rest. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps and go to bed early. Ask a family member or friend to look after the baby for a while so you can take a nap.
You don’t have to sleep while the baby is sleeping – you can do whatever makes you happy such as reading, listening to music, or watching TV, as long as you get some rest.
If you don’t get enough rest and your stress levels are high, your baby will sense it, and your milk production can diminish. One of the most common problems that nursing mothers have to face is that exhaustion affects milk production.