Did you know that breastfeeding has health benefits as well as monetary benefits? Not only is breastfeeding a nutrient-rich diet that is perfectly formulated for your baby, but can also save you up to $4,000 dollars in a single year by choosing breast milk over formula.
However, breastfeeding can also be stressful for new moms when you have a crying, hungry baby and are struggling with breastfeeding. Don’t worry, this is normal. Here are our top seven tips for breastfeeding.
When you are tense it can be difficult for your milk to letdown. Try taking a deep breath in and squeezing your shoulders up towards your ears then blow out the breath through your mouth quickly and drop your shoulders.
2. Lean Back
Laid-back or “Natural” breastfeeding positions are a great way to use gravity to obtain a deeper, more comfortable latch. For a great video demonstrating these positions, check out www.naturalbreastfeeding.com.
3. Skin-to-Skin Is In
Direct skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to bond with your baby. It helps regulate a baby’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and breathing and can help mom’s milk come in faster. Dads or other caregivers can also provide skin-to-skin care and may find it helpful for waking up a sleepy baby or calming a fussy one.
4. “8 or more in 24”
The best way to bring in and maintain a robust milk supply is by feeding your baby on demand at least 8-12 times a day. Feed your baby whenever she shows feeding cues at least 8 or more times in a 24-hour period.
5. Breast Milk Works on Supply and Demand
A nursing mother’s breasts are never completely empty; her body is continuously producing more to replace what has been removed. Emptier breasts make more milk faster and the milk produced has a higher fat content. Moms wishing to increase milk production should remove milk more often.
6. Watch Your Baby, Not the Clock
Different babies have different feeding styles; some are aggressive and some like to savor their meals. The amount a baby needs with each feeding changes throughout the day as well. Sometimes they want a whole meal (both breasts), and sometimes they just want a snack or to nurse for comfort. Watch your baby for feeding cues and feed them on demand. A baby’s hands are a good indicator of whether they are hungry or content. Their hands will be in tight fists by their face at the start of a feed and will relax and open up when they are done.
7. Hands-On Gets the Job Done
Using massage, breast compressions, and hands-on pumping techniques will help remove more milk from the breasts. Moms who are pumping can get up to 50% more milk out by using their hands in addition to a breast pump. There is an excellent 10-minute long video about this at http://med.stanford.edu titled “Maximizing Milk Production with Hands-On Pumping.”
Who Can Help
The internet, friends and family, and mother’s groups can all be great sources of breastfeeding tips and support. However, the most reliable source for up-to-date breastfeeding and pumping information is an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Any time a mother has a question about whether or not to pump, how to pump, or whether or not she needs to pump and dump, she should contact a breastfeeding professional. In our area, there are many trustworthy breastfeeding resources:
•WMMC Lactation Consultants: Ruthie Porter, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Monday – Friday 9 am – 3 pm (660)-262-7519
• Johnson County WIC Lactation Consultants: Tammie Crabtree, IBCLC & Tricia Fleming, IBCLC, Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 6 pm. (660) 747-2012
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About Western Missouri Medical Center
Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) is a fully accredited acute care county medical center located in Warrensburg, MO. WMMC prides itself in emergency care, obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics, ambulatory care, rehabilitation services, and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric, and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Learn more at WMMC.com.