Five tips for breastfeeding your newborn

By Lainie Coombes, Momsense

Lainie Coombes from Momsense provides her five tips for breastfeeding your newborn.

Breastfeeding is the most natural bond between a mother and her newborn. Ever since the dawn of mankind this primary act was only second to the actual birth itself. So why are mothers today increasingly reporting difficulties breastfeeding their babies and what can you do to avoid them?

In fact, a study published in 2010 stated that 50% of feeding mothers stop within 6 weeks (Journal of Pediatrics, 2013; Office of the Surgeon General, NIH, 2011). There are several troubling effects when stopping to breastfeed, including the potential decline of the baby’s immune system, coupled with the mother’s frustration and disappointment. Leading the list of reasons for this extremely high rate of mothers stopping to breastfeed is the mother’s uncertainty of whether her baby is getting enough milk. How can you avoid these worries while feeding and have peace of mind? We sat down with the entrepreneurs of Momsense, the innovative tech savvy product that enhances the feeding experience for mothers, and collected their top five tips. If you are expecting, we recommend you re-read these after you’ve given birth. Moreover, attending a breastfeeding class before you give birth, will definitely help you start off on the right foot.

1. Feed on demand. Forget what you’ve read about feeding your baby every 3 hours and put that watch away! Each baby has its own set of physiological needs so the best way to build a good milk supply is to simply feed whenever your baby “asks” you, responding to his/hers early feeding cues. In the first few weeks most babies breastfeed at least 8-12 times a day.

2. Go with the flow. Sometimes your baby might want to feed for other reasons than hunger, such as thirst or simply the need to feel your presence. In these cases, breastfeeding will give your baby more than just sustenance but also comfort, warmth and security, knowing you’re there. This is very natural, and nothing to fear.

3. Don’t wait. If you can, try to breastfeed right after giving birth, when your baby will probably be alert. However, don’t be stressed if he or she doesn’t seem to latch on right away, he is not born hungry. These are only your first moments together; you will have more than enough opportunities to practice during the subsequent hours and days.

4. Take off the clothes. Yes, this is scientific. Medical studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact has many advantages for your baby, including the improvement of blood sugar levels, stabilisation of blood saturation, reduced crying and the improvement of breastfeeding. Simply place your naked baby (with their nappy!) on your bare chest, and keep your baby warm by covering him/her with a blanket.

5. Look after your body. Keep smearing your nipples with a soothing cream or gel in between feeds and use soft, absorbent breast pads as well as good quality maternity bras that will support your breasts. Eat well and drink plenty of water and try and get as much rest as you can. It all seems like simple and obvious advice, but it’s easy to put your baby’s needs before everything else at the beginning and let your own health be secondary. Remember the better you feel, the better you can be as a mum!

Lastly, despite the potential deprivation of sleep you may encounter, try to seek ways that will make you feel as calm and relaxed as you can. Ask for assistance from your spouse, friends or relatives. You deserve it.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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