Breastfeeding. Some Moms make it look so easy, don’t they? It takes time and patience when it comes to breastfeeding and for a new mom. It can be challenging and there is lots to learn! Here are some great tips on how to support yourself as a new mom learning the ins and outs of breastfeeding.
Here are some great ways to ensure you will have an adequate milk supply!
Hydration is key to ensuring a plentiful milk supply. Be sure to keep a glass or bottle of water nearby at all times. It is a great idea to invest in a mom-sized “sippy” cup (something with a lid and straw is best) to ensure easy access to water and minimal spills. And, be sure to keep your water close to wherever you breastfeed. Your feeding baby will make you incredibly thirsty!
Skin to skin
Mom and baby’s body are designed to respond to each other and work together in unison, so keeping baby in a diaper or a onesie usually best. The smell of your baby and suckling behaviour together alone will help your body to produce more milk!
In order to be able to feed your baby, you have to feed your body! Its important to realize that your baby will always get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need from you and your breast milk, so at the end of the day it is so important that you eat well. Make sure to keep healthy and nutritious snacks on hand so you both benefit from an abundance of nutrition. Smoothies are a great way to ensure you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Also fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts are great, easy options.
The first few days and weeks of breastfeeding can require a lot of patience and perseverance. In addition to that it can be extra challenging because of all the hormone fluctuations that you are experiencing. It is so important to be kind to your self and take things moment by moment. You will feel vulnerable and emotional so be sure to reach out and ask for the extra help if you need it.
And, finally, be sure to surround yourself with support! Make sure that the people in your inner circle are supportive with your commitment to breastfeed. Try to educate them them ahead of time as to what the journey will look like. Preparing ahead of time can really help everyone to be on the same page so they can support you the best way they can.
Cracked nipples can be quite painful but if we try to be proactive we can try to prevent them!
- Avoid using soaps directly on nipples
- Keep nipples dry and change your breast pads and bra often to prevent infection and cracking
- Ensure that your baby has a good latch! If the latch is too shallow it can increase the chance of a cracked nipple. If you feel that you need help with latching or feel that the latch is not correct, then reach out to a lactation consultant. These professionals can be hugely helpful and supportive with these issues!
- Use nipple creams, ointments or make your own with coconut oil!
- Leave a bit of breast milk to dry on your nipple after a feed, it will help to encourage the healing of a cracked nipple with its antibacterial properties.
- Last but not least! Also having a highly functional nursing bra can be a mom’s greatest assets! A good nursing bra or 2 can go quite a long way in supporting a new mother with breastfeeding. An amazing company called Belly Bandit supports moms before, during, and after pregnancy also carries a wide variety of nursing bras! Feel free to check them out !!
Clogged Milk Duct
A clogged duct can happen when milk gets trapped in the passages and gets backed up !
Signs of a clogged duct are:
- Sore, hard and painful spot or lump on breast
- Skin may appear red or swollen
- Discomfort that subsides after feeding and/or pumping
Ways to prevent clogged milk ducts
- Avoid long periods between feeds. Clogged ducts are more likely to happen when milk is left sitting in your breasts for too long
- Nurse on one side until that breast feels empty before switching baby to the other breast
- Wear comfortable clothes and bras, make sure they are not too tight fitting and are breathable.
- Get lots of rest! The more tired you are, the higher the chance of clogged ducts.
How to help a clogged duct
- Breastfeed as much as you can! Even if it hurts, continuing to nurse is one of the best ways to clear a clogged duct
- Apply heat to the breast. A hot shower or a heating pack can work wonders! It can help to increase the blood flow and move the milk through your breast more efficiently
- Massage the area that is tender or sore and while nursing if possible. Also trying to massage and hand express during a hot bath or shower can really help
Mastitis is generally caused by a clogged duct and can have many of the same signs but in addition to those symptoms there will be flu like symptoms such as chills, fever, body aches and fatigue (more than normal).
- Increase fluid intake
- Heat & massage
- More frequent nursing
- Nutrient rich foods & an increase in vitamin C
Antibiotics may be needed if your infection is severe so be sure to see a doctor if all of the above does not help in a day or two!