Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Whether you are a brand new mom or have been a mom for years and have a brand new baby, breastfeeding can seem overwhelming at times! We help new moms and veteran moms every week who have questions that they didn’t even know to ask while pregnant. I’m always glad that they asked for help from an expert, instead of relying on what their mom, neighbor, or social media said. I’m going to give my top four breastfeeding tips for new moms today– they’ll help you get off on the right start and know what to do if things get tricky.
These tips mostly are directed towards the time when moms feel most vulnerable: after they are discharged from the hospital. To learn tips for those first hours and days after birth, check out our Breastfeeding Basics video or in-person class!
Top Four Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
- Don’t suffer in pain! Some nipple soreness is normal, due to postpartum hormone changes and your breast tissue stretching. This is common the first few weeks. The pain should not last more than 6 0 seconds or be a tow-curling pain. If you have “ouch-ouch-ouch!” pain after the first couple of weeks, notice wounds on your nipples or they come out of baby’s mouth shaped like a brand new lipstick, seek some professional help to make sure that baby is latching well. Keep calm and call an IBCLC!
- Breastfeed often! For the first few weeks or even months, new moms might feel like they’re feeding baby all the time. I tell moms that you can’t nurse too often, but you can nurse too little. The first couple of weeks are very important in establishing your milk supply for the whole time you breastfeed. Additionally, baby’s tummy is small and breastmilk is digested quickly. That’s a recipe for frequent feeding! Aim to feed your baby at least 8-12 times in 24 hours; many moms find that they feed even more often than this. Remember that practice makes perfect, so breastfeed often!
- The pump is a tool, not a necessity. If you want to pump to have some extra milk in the freezer or if you plan to return to work, you will likely want to get a pump. But that doesn’t mean you need to start using it that first week or two home from the hospital! If baby is latching and breastfeeding is going reasonably well, you may just want to keep it simple rather than introducing the pump right off. Many women think that they should pump due to engorgement but it is generally more effective to hand express when new moms feel engorged. Take it one thing at a time; not every mom needs to introduce the pump right off the bat!
- Practice nursing in public, at home. Many moms are very nervous to breastfeed in public! It can seem a little strange to lift your shirt in public for the first time, but remember that baby has to eat and the law is on your side! One way to ease your mind before that first public outing is to practice nursing in front of a mirror. Latch baby on in whatever clothes you are planning to wear and see what shows. You may be surprised how discreet public breastfeeding can be! If you’re uncomfortable showing your postpartum tummy or just want a little coverage, you could use a tank like Undercover Mama (use code LLINK for 20% off!) that you pull down after you pull up your normal shirt. If you’re getting stir crazy at home with your new little one, don’t let the thought of breastfeeding in public be the reason you stay home!
Hopefully these tips bring you some peace of mind while in the turbulent waters of the newly postpartum period with your tiny baby! If you’re pregnant or you still have questions, definitely check out our Confident Breastfeeding Course, which goes over in detail a myriad of questions, concerns, and ideas for troubleshooting. If you need personalized help, don’t hesitate to reach out for an in-person or e-consult!