Updated: Aug 25
Breast milk is much healthier for babies. It contains essential nutrients that are good for babies as well as antibodies that can help improve their immune system. Still, for most women breastfeeding can be difficult. The following tips can help you get off to a great start.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Breastfeeding can be difficult. Most likely, you will breastfeed the first time an hour after your delivery. Be sure to ask your doctor, nurse or the hospital lactation consultant for advice on how to position the baby. Don’t get discouraged if breastfeeding if tougher than you expected. Give it time. It should feel more natural as you go along. Your nipples may be tender the first few weeks of breastfeeding, but they should never hurt. Speak with your baby’s pediatrician or a lactation consultant if feeding is painful or the baby is not gaining weight.
Let the baby set the pace. During their first few weeks of life most newborns typically breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours. But you should watch for signs of hunger, such as restlessness. There is no set time for nursing, but typically you should let your baby nurse from the first breast for about 15 to 20 minutes. Try burping the baby after that and allow him or her to nurse on the second breast. If the baby is still hungry, he or she will latch on. If not begin the next feeding with the second breast.
Allow the baby to sleep in your bedroom. We recommend that your baby sleep in your bedroom usually for the first year of life, or at least for six months. This makes feeding easier. However, do not allow the baby to sleep in your bed. The baby should sleep in a bassinet or crib. This prevents suffocation.
Do not introduce the pacifier too soon. Giving your baby a pacifier too early may interfere with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you wait to give your baby a pacifier until at least three to four weeks after birth.
Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices. Eat plenty of veggies, fruits and whole grains to maintain your energy. Drink plenty of water, juice or milk to stay hydrated. Get as much rest as possible. Don’t smoke. Smoking exposes the baby to nicotine, which can interfere with the baby’s sleeping patterns. Also, second-hand smoke increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Most medications are safe, but speak with your physician about your medicines to be sure it is okay to continue them while breastfeeding.