5 Things To Know About Breastfeeding In The Early Days4
Over the last 9 years as a maternity RN I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many new mothers and I definitely have a few things to say about breastfeeding. Especially so in those early moments and days with your newborn.
For me, my professional experience was enhanced when I had my own babies and was privy to a different side of breastfeeding. That emotional and exhausted side where you’re trying to learn new skills after giving birth. I’d love you to take these 5 Things as if I was your big sister who just happens to know a thing or two about breastfeeding.
1. Feed on your baby’s cue. Look for your sweet baby to be thrusting their tongue, putting their hands to their mouth or opening their mouth and moving their head around. These are all great signs your baby would like to eat, crying is actually a late sign of hunger. If you have a healthy term baby, feed on their cues and not by the clock. Sometimes your babe will want a snack, then a drink, then a large meal and before you know it they want another drink. Feeding times can vary and they don’t tell us how much milk your baby got.
2. Block out the visitors or make sure to just invite the A list. People love you and they’re so excited to meet your new baby, but those early hours and those first few days are not the best time for your baby to be separated from you. If people do come, ask them to bring you food and take a peek at your babe before they are on their way. Visitors: keep it short and sweet and bring food! It turns out that new mamas don’t always feel comfortable telling you to leave and so they don’t.
3. Don’t expect to learn how to breastfeed all on your own. If you’ve never seen another person latch their baby on and feed them, how do you now how to latch on your own baby. It turns out that breastfeeding is more than just feeling ‘natural’ and a lot about learning a new skill. The same goes with your baby, who born at term, is born knowing how to suckle but not how to latch. Just like you, your baby is learning to latch too.
4. If it isn’t working ask for help. If you’re in the hospital please ask your nurse. If you didn’t love her advice, then ask another nurse! Be aware of who you do ask for help from. We love our doctors but they don’t learn about human lactation and breastfeeding in medical school. Unless they have sought out their own education, most medical doctors don’t have any formal training on breastfeeding.
5. Skin to skin! Take off the blankets, remove the swaddle, get them out of their onesie and get that baby skin to skin with you. If mama is busy or recovering than dad can do it to. Baby’s need that warmth from going skin to skin to help them regulate their temperature and stabilize their blood sugar levels. It’s not just something cute, even though it is super adorable, skin to skin actually has some science behind it. If you’re ever having any issues with breastfeeding, whatever the issue is, try to do even more skin to skin and get that baby in love with your breast. Having baby hang around your breasts by doing skin to skin can also help with your milk supply and an easier time recognizing those early feeding cues.
These 5 tips are all things that I practice in the hospital setting as a perinatal RN and also what we teach in prenatal classes. These tips are intended for healthy full term babies. You can find more evidence based information and support at these websites: