As a new mother, it may take some time and patience to be able to learn the skills it takes to successfully breastfeed your infant. For some newborns breastfeeding may be difficult and frustrating at first, as they learn to latch on successfully. This is especially true if you are a new mother and are still learning how to hold your baby and get your baby to latch on in order to breastfeed. However, with a little patience and some determination, you can overcome most problems with newborns breastfeeding and successfully help your baby to latch on consistently each time. Here are some tips to make newborns breastfeeding easier, particularly for new mothers:
Help your baby to latch on as soon as he shows an interest in feeding.
Many times, your baby will wake up hungry and ready to nurse. If you offer the breast before your baby has a chance to get fussy, you have a better chance of getting him to latch on successfully. However, it is important to temper this advice with your baby’s unique personality. Some babies do not like to nurse if they are wet or dirty, so a quick diaper change before feeding is necessary. Remember to take your time letting the baby latch on – for newborns, feeding times should be a secure and relaxed time, so the more comfortable you are, the more comfortable your baby will be.
Make sure you are getting enough rest and enough fluids.
Many new mothers get very thirsty when nursing their infants, and if you are uncomfortable then it will be difficult for you to let your baby stay latched on as long as she needs to in order to feed properly. Try to time your naps around the same time that your baby sleeps for the first few weeks – this means taking naps throughout the day and night. Have water on hand and within reach while you are nursing and make sure you are in a comfortable position before you settle in to nurse your baby.
Avoid having guests that make you feel stressed or uncomfortable.
Your baby will take his cues from you, and if you are stressed and nervous, he will be also. If you have relatives that are overly judgmental or critical, avoid having extended visits until both you and the baby are feeling up to it. Don’t feel obligated to breastfeed your baby in front of family or friends. Instead, make sure you and your baby are as comfortable as possible – they will understand if you need to excuse yourself for a feeding, and your baby will have a better, more relaxed meal time if you don’t place yourself in a stressful situation.
Don’t let conflicting advice overwhelm you.
There are several different methods for getting a baby to latch on successfully. Some of the holds or positions you might use may seem odd to others who are not familiar with the newer techniques. As long as you and your baby are comfortable and safe, that’s all that matters. Remember, your newborns breastfeeding success is dependent only upon your commitment to making breastfeeding a success – not the advice of well-intentioned friends and family members.
If your baby is having severe problems with latching on and you are worried about his health, seek the advice of a medical professional sooner rather than later. La Leche League and other groups can put you in contact with a breastfeeding expert who can give you solid advice and assistance when you need it most. Make the most of this time with your precious newborn and enjoy the bond the breastfeeding provides.