While breastfeeding information is useful in terms of latch and milk production, it is also useful to have some practical tips that will make your breastfeeding relationship more pleasant.
1. Hit the bathroom
I cannot stress this enough, go relieve yourself before sitting down with baby. There is nothing worse than sitting down, getting a good latch going and then - bam! - mama has to pee.
2. Create a Nursing Nest
Nursing mamas need hydration, snacks, and a book/tablet/phone/etc. Make sure you have an area in your home where you can sit comfortably and can reach a glass of water, and a snack. Have something to keep you entertained while baby eats. I personally love to read a book, or play Words with Friends on my phone. Make sure your nursing nest is stocked and that you are going to be comfortable. Other items could include nursing pads, pillow, a cloth, some lanolin cream, nipple shields or whatever you need to make your breastfeeding session successful.
3. Good Posture
One of the first things you should be told as a breastfeeding mama is to always being baby to the breast. The breast should not be brought to the baby. By bringing baby up to the breast, proper posture is maintained and slouched shoulders are avoided. In the early days, baby could take a long time to finish a feeding so mama needs to be especially comfortable.
When for some reason things aren’t going well, get naked. Take your baby into a warm room with baby naked. Mama take your shirt off and spend some time together skin-to-skin. Your body temperature, heart rate, hormones and milk will help bring baby back to a good place. This time out from distractions can prove to be a healing moment for both mama and baby. Enjoy it.
Babies feed off of our energy. If we are stressed or irritated, they tend to be fussy and squirmy. If you are having a hard time with breastfeeding, take a break. Seek out the help of a doula, lactation consultant, nurse, partner, friend, mother… Then try feeding again later with your calm and relaxed attitude.
6. Try different positions
Sometimes we tend to think of the cradle hold as the easiest most natural way to breastfeed. For a very small newborn baby, it might be easier to try a laid back version of this. Instead of sitting up in a chair, opt for laying down in bed. This page from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding shows gives instructions on how to try out this technique. This is just one way to hold your baby for feedings, you can check out more ways on the La Leche League website.
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