Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can offer your child. Breast milk is the only perfect food he or she will ever have. Breast milk is an amazing substance. It changes with the time of day and the time of year. It even changes to supply what the child needs at the time. Here are some tips to help you build a successful breastfeeding relationship.
First and foremost, get a support group around you. Surround yourself with people who will support you and help you with breastfeeding. Building your support system can be very helpful before you have the baby, as well as after. Breastfeeding can be a learning experience for both mom and baby so having the right support can make a world of difference.
Nurse the baby as soon after birth as possible; with in the first half an hour is ideal. Some babies will crawl to the breast if placed on Mom’s stomach and find the breast on their own. Babies’ natural instinct is to find the breast. Avoid artificial nipples of any kind for the first 6 weeks so that the breastfeeding relationship can become established and get on the right track.
Breastfeeding works through demand and supply. The more the baby demands (is at the breast), the more your body knows what to do and how to supply the milk your baby needs.
Be sure to establish a proper latch. 90% of breastfeeding issues can be attributed to an improper latch. The good news is it can easily be adjusted. Position yourself comfortably and bring the baby to you. Align the baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip in a straight line. The baby’s mouth and nose should face your breast. You do not want the baby turning his or her head towards you, as this will cause the baby to slip off and cause improper positioning for nursing. Encourage the baby to open wide. Baby’s tongue should be down, and once latched on, the lips should be flanged, forming a collar around the nipple.
Nurse on demand and allow the baby to nurse as long as he or she wants to. This can take anywhere from 10-45 minutes at a time. Babies should nurse 10-12 times a day in order to establish and maintain your milk supply Having the baby sleep in the same room with you will help you achieve this goal. When moms and babies sleep close together, they establish the same sleep rhythms. This means that mom and dad get better sleep, babies get their needs met sooner, and the nursing relationship is stronger.
Babies show many signs that they are hungry before they cry: the rooting reflex, the hand sucking, the little noises made. Then, if their needs are not met, that is when they cry. Trying to latch a crying baby onto the breast can be overwhelming and tiresome for both of you. Remember that this can be a learning process for both mom and baby. Relax, get the support you need to ensure success, and don’t hesitate to contact a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support person when you feel you need to. I always tell my moms, if you can make it through the first 6 weeks, you can overcome almost any breastfeeding hurdle.