Becoming a new parent is an incredible and exciting experience, but it can also be challenging, especially when it comes to postpartum and learning to nurse. Breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial process for the health and well-being of the baby, but it can be overwhelming and intimidating for new mothers.
Tips for getting ready to breastfeed are;
1. Seek Support and Information
The first step in learning to nurse postpartum is to seek support and information. There are many resources available to new mothers, including lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, and online forums. These resources can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and practical tips on breastfeeding. It is essential to surround yourself with people who support and encourage breastfeeding and who can provide accurate and helpful information. La Lèche League is a great resource or a local lactation consultant.
2. Practice Skin-to-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact is an excellent way to establish a bond with your baby and encourage breastfeeding. This practice involves holding your baby close to your skin, with only a diaper between you, immediately after birth and throughout the first few weeks of life. Skin-to-skin contact can help regulate your baby’s body temperature, heart rate, and breathing and stimulate the release of hormones that promote milk production.
3. Learn Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
Learning your baby’s hunger cues is essential in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Hunger cues can include rooting, sucking on hands or fingers, making sucking noises, or becoming more alert. It is important to respond promptly to your baby’s hunger cues to establish a healthy milk supply and prevent engorgement.
4. Positioning and Latch
Proper positioning and latch are critical for effective breastfeeding. It is essential to hold your baby close to your body, with their head and body aligned. The baby’s mouth should be wide open, with their lips flanged outward to create a deep latch. A shallow latch can lead to sore nipples, low milk supply, and frustration for both mother and baby. Laid back nursing can be helpful as it presents more breast tissue to the baby. Yet, every woman has a different shape and style and it’s important to do what works for you. If what you are doing isn’t working, that is ok. You will figure out what works. If you need to reach out to a lactation counselor, your doula, or your midwife’s office do it without hesitation.
5. Be Patient and Persistent
Learning to nurse postpartum takes time and practice. It is important to be patient and persistent and not to give up if breastfeeding doesn’t come easily at first. Remember that every baby is different, and what works for one baby may not work for another. It is also common to experience some discomfort in the first few weeks, but this should improve as your body adjusts.
In conclusion, postpartum learning to nurse can be a challenging but rewarding experience for new mothers. Seeking support and information is important. Give yourself grace. Plan ahead and know a support person, like an IBCLC, you can call if needed. Let others know your focus after the month after birth will be feeding the baby. Ask your partner to be supportive. Remind family and friends you will be topless and focusing on nursing and nourishing your new baby. Ask for help from a professional or ask for space from other family members if you need it.