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Deciding how to feed your baby is among the first and most important decisions you make as a new mother. Even though breastfeeding is a natural choice, it doesn’t come naturally for every mom, says Stacie Gehring, an AdventHealth lactation consultant.
If breastfeeding isn’t working for you right away, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Overcoming these challenges requires expert breastfeeding support and some practice.
Your baby didn’t come with an instruction manual, so you can’t expect to know the finer points of breastfeeding without being taught. But it’s worth learning; breastfeeding is great for your baby, who gets a boosted immune system, better digestive health, a lower risk of SIDS and more.
Because we believe in the whole-health benefits of breastfeeding, we’ve compiled a list of five suggestions to help make breastfeeding easier for you.
1. Be Confident in Your Ability to Make Enough Milk
The more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk your breasts produce. Even though you can’t measure the amount of milk a baby takes in at each feeding, there are many signs that breastfeeding is going well, including when your baby:
- Is able to latch comfortably
- Is breastfeeding at least eight times in 24 hours
- Has at least six wet and four stool diapers each day
- Is gaining weight appropriately
2. Hold Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
Keep your newborn undressed on your bare chest with a blanket covering you both as often as you can in the early weeks. Skin-to-skin contact has been shown not only to regulate a baby’s temperature and blood sugar, but also to reduce stress, improve immunity, assist with breastfeeding and increase milk supply.
3. Watch Your Baby, Not the Clock
Newborns should breastfeed frequently, at least eight times a day. Your baby will set the schedule.Whenever your baby shows signs of hunger, assume it’s time to feed. This frequent demand is important for establishing a good milk supply. A typical feeding can last anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes. Breastfeed on demand, not on a rigid schedule.
4. Getting a Deep Latch is Key
Start by getting in a comfortable position with your back and arms supported. Use positions that allow you to guide your baby deep onto your areola (the circle around the nipple) while you support your breast throughout the feeding. A good latch should not hurt. Nipple tenderness during the first week can be normal, but you should not have nipple pain or damage.
5. Find Support and Ask for Help When You Need It
Surround yourself with family and friends who encourage you to meet your breastfeeding goals. We offer weekly support groups at four Central Florida campuses: Altamonte, Celebration, Orlando and Winter Park. It’s called The Baby Bunch, and it’s a time for new moms to talk with each other about whatever is on their mind.
We also offer private consultations and a Breastfeeding Line, open weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Call Call407-303-7650 to talk with one of our certified lactation consultants. Remember, most breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with a little help, practice and patience.