Bringing home a newborn for the first time can be a bit scary. I remember how nervous I was in those first few days. And then, my milk came in and I about lost it because no one had told me what to expect. Suddenly my breasts hurt and were lumpy and so full that they felt like they might explode. On top of that my new babe was having so much trouble latching. I was a weepy mess trying to figure it all out.
It was an emotional time to not know what I was doing (Thank you, post-partum hormones!). I was afraid that I was never going to be able breastfeed my baby (which was my goal). But then I stumbled onto a mothering forum in the middle of the night. I suddenly had a resource where I could ask ALL of my questions about breastfeeding and other mamas gave me advice and support. The ladies I met that night are still my friends today.
By the time baby number two came along I was ready for those challenges. But they never came. You know what they say- all babies are different. So before I forget all of those things I learned, I thought I'd share a few with you and if you have breastfeeding advice for a new mama, please feel free to add it in the comments.
1. Nurse frequently: When your milk comes in it's important to nurse baby whenever they cue you that they are hungry. Your body will learn quickly how much milk to make based on what baby is removing.
2. Don't pump! Try not to use an electric pump (unless you are planning on exclusively pumping) for the few weeks. This could cause your body to make too much milk! And over-supply is its own ball of wax. If you need to relieve a bit of pressure so that baby can latch well, try a little bit of hand expression.
3. Tiny tummies! A newborn's tummy is the size of a large grape! That's it! So remember that when you worry about if they are getting enough. A little bit of milk at a time is normal.
4. Constant nursing: Breast milk digests completely from feeding to diaper change in 90 minutes! That's why newbies want to nurse a lot. Don't worry. The more they grow the less frequent they will be at the breast. But in those first few weeks it is totally normal for baby to want "always" be nursing.
5. Get support: Find other breastfeeding mamas to talk to! This can be such a lifesaver. There is something really special about being able to talk with other moms who are in your shoes.
What advice do you have for a new mama who wants to breastfeed?
image © iStock/ wildcat78