Breastfeeding is hard work and can truly be down right exhausting in the beginning, but you will quickly transition into a pro! To help I am listing newborn breastfeeding tips for first-time mothers to have a successful first week. You can also read my Q&A with an IBCLC about preparing for breastfeeding just as much as you would for the birth of your child. It’s important to make every attempt to set yourself up for success.
Here’s my early breastfeeding tips for a successful first week and a DIY Breastfeeding Station.
Tips For First Time Breastfeeding Moms
Early Breastfeeding Tips
- The most important tip I can give is if your hospital has a Lactation Consultants USE THEM! This is their expertise and they are there to help and guide you. They provide you with lots of breastfeeding tips for latching, breastfeeding positioning, to educate you on how much colostrum/milk your baby truly needs in the beginning and any other breastfeeding tips and tricks and can think of. Be sure to see them after delivery, prior to discharge, and if they have a hotline number, make sure you know that too. Most of the time they already know which patients they need to see. Sometimes you may have to request their presence. If your hospital does not have a lactation consultant, check with your provider or your baby’s pediatrician for recommendations.
- Nurse often. Think supply and demand! Try not to nurse to the clock and nurse on demand. The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body should produce. Attempt to start breastfeeding within the first hour of life and be sure to do skin to skin. Nursing often will allow you to start learning your baby’s feeding cues.
Breastfeeding Tips For Pain
- Breastfeeding is painful in the beginning, but it should not be painful the entire time your baby is latched. It hurts, and this is when some are ready to stop. The severity of discomfort varies from person to person. For me personally, the first week was very painful, but it was worth every ounce of discomfort to give my son the nourishment he needed. By the end of the first week I no longer had discomfort. We continued our nursing journey for 25 months. Hang in there! There are options to help decrease discomfort. The best nipple ointment and cooling packs.
- Engorgement as your breast milk comes in you will feel fullness and some breast discomfort. You will get relief when your child is nursing. This one goes back to nursing often. A silicone pump is a great option to provide relief to the other breast while your baby nurses. When applied it will fill with milk and you can store for later. Win!
- When will my milk “come in”? This can take place within 2-3 days, and for some it may take longer. What you may notice- leaking, engorgement, change in color and change of consistency.
- You will have frequent visits with the pediatrician early on. Be sure to keep track of wet and poop diaper frequency. Most hospitals require pediatrician appointments within 24 to 48 hours after discharge so you can discuss the frequency with your child’s pediatrician. They will also keep track of weight. These are all very important! What’s also important is to have a pediatrician that supports breastfeeding.
- Get as much rest and stay as hydrated as you can. As I stated previously, early breastfeeding can be exhausting and the nights can be long.
You may also find How Dads Can Support Breastfeeding helpful.
Tip: Breastfeeding tips after c-section. All 7 breastfeeding tips for first-time mothers apply to c-section mothers. If you’re not able to start the skin to skin process in the operating room, start once you return to your room and given the go ahead from staff, put the baby to breast.
FAQs- Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Mothers
How do hospitals promote breastfeeding?
I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse for 14 yrs and know many hospitals do an outstanding job at promoting breastfeeding. Some ways they do so is by holding breastfeeding groups with lactation consultants where moms can come with their babies. Other ways rooming-in, meaning baby stays in the room with parents throughout their hospital stay only to leave for medical evaluations and/or procedures. Visits while in the hospitals by lactation nurses to assist you with your needs. Some even have a hotline to call for help once home.
Does leaky breast mean good milk supply?
Leaky breast is a significant sign that your body is doing its job to produce milk.
How do I prepare for breastfeeding?
Preparing for breastfeeding is just as important as preparing for everything else newborn related. It provides a better understanding of what to expect, and the experience can vary from person to person.
*Take a breastfeeding class if possible.
*Check with your hospital to find out how they assist moms who plan to breastfeed.
* Use resources such as Le Leche League to learn about breastfeeding.
* Later join breastfeeding groups that you can attend for support.
Should you wear a bra to bed when breastfeeding?
In the beginning, it’s probably a good idea to wear a bra due to milk leakage and support from discomfort you may have from fullness or even engorgement.
Is it appropriate to breastfeed in public?
The brief answer is YES, it’s always appropriate to feed your baby whenever and wherever you need to. Is it legal to breastfeed in public? Yes, in all 50 states.
How do I prepare to return to work while breastfeeding?
- Start testing out your baby’s response to a bottle if they haven’t had one yet.
- Get an idea of how many ounces your baby is taking from a bottle. It may vary with each feeding.
- Freeze a variety of ounces to have once you return to work. For example 3 oz, 4 oz and 6 oz bags of milk.
- Find out where the breastfeeding room is at your workplace.
- How often will you be able to go pump while at work?