There’s a lot to learn when becoming a mother for the first time. Most new parents feel like they have no idea what they’re doing, especially regarding breastfeeding.
Don’t worry because you’re not alone in this feeling. It’s an intimate experience that can cause stress when you’re first starting.
We’re here to provide some helpful advice for new mothers beginning their breastfeeding journey.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
It’s important to learn not only about how to breastfeed, but why it’s essential.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s recommended to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of their life. Then, for the following six months, integrate other foods while simultaneously breastfeeding for a smoother transition.
Breastfeeding provides essential nutrients that can only be provided by the child’s mother. It also helps to reduce the chances of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and other health-related issues for both the newborn and the mother.
When To Expect Milk Production
One of the most frequently asked questions from new mothers is when they can expect to start producing milk. You may be surprised to learn that your body has already started producing breast milk within the third trimester of your pregnancy.
That means you’ll be prepared to nurse within 40 minutes after giving birth. Always allow your baby to feed as many times as they want and as long as they want.
Common Breastfeeding Positions
As you start to learn about your newborn and how they like to breastfeed, you’ll want to try out a few different breastfeeding positions. This is also for the comfort of you as the mother. New positions can help to facilitate milk production or improve latching.
Some common breastfeeding positions include:
- The cradle position which is the most common.
- The cross-cradle position, where you support the child’s head in your hand.
- The clutch position, where you use the same arm as the breast they’re feeding on.
- The side-lying position, where both you and the child are laying on your side.
What If You Have Difficulty Breastfeeding?
Unfortunately, breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone. Some issues can arise such as:
- Difficulty latching
- Low milk production
- Sore nipples
- Breast engorgement
- Blocked milk ducts
Sometimes there are holistic approaches you can take to help, such as repositioning the child or gentle massages on different pain points. But sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.
The good news is that you don’t have to go through the breastfeeding process alone. Lactation consultants are a great place to start. They provide support and insight towards best practices for your individual needs.
What If You’re Breastfeeding Twins?
Did you know that nearly 1.6 million twins are born every year around the world? So if you’ve been worried about how to make breastfeeding work for one, you may have genuine concerns when there are two mouths to feed.
Here are some helpful breastfeeding tips when you have twins:
- Try to breastfeed and pump often. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you produce.
- Invest in a really good pump as you may need to bottle feed in the beginning if your twins are born prematurely.
- Consider using a nursing pillow to support two bodies.
- Breastfeeding twins can burn upwards of 1,000 calories per day so make sure you’re staying on top of your nutrition intake.
- Build up an extra stock of breast milk in case you need to leave the care of your twins in someone else’s hands.
When it comes to breastfeeding, there isn’t one right thing you can do to make it go perfectly. There will be hiccups along the way, but it’s important to stay calm and remain patient.
Be willing to try different things like new breastfeeding positions or working with a lactation consultant. The less stressed you are during this process, the easier time both you and your child will have.