21 Tips from an Expert on How to Breastfeed

Posted by Midwife Odette on

Are you still pregnant, but looking for some breastfeeding hints for when the time comes? Perhaps your little one is here, but you can’t seem to find a good breastfeeding rhythm? Whatever the reason, we’re glad you found us!

Breastfeeding may be natural, but it often doesn’t feel like that. You may have always pictured yourself easily breastfeeding your baby, but it frequently takes a lot of patience and practice to develop a good breastfeeding relationship with your infant.

After all, they’ve never done this before — and if you’re a first-time parent, you probably haven’t either.

We know breastfeeding can be an emotional journey (breast milk is one spilled milk everyone is allowed to cry over after all!), so please sit back, take a deep breath, and allow us to offer you some support in the form of some of our favorite tips and tricks.

Worried about low milk supply?

Worries about milk supply are incredibly common, and can lead to a premature end to breastfeeding. Remember that breast milk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis. The more your baby and your pump demand of you, the more milk your body should provide.

You want to encourage frequent and full feedings. If you’re planning on pumping or want to build a stash you can also give power pumping a try.

You may also want to consider eating foods believed to impact milk supply or drinking some lactation tea. Make sure you talk to your doctor or a lactation specialist before taking any supplements.

Oversupply and engorgement got you down?

Consider block feeding to diminish your milk supply a little. If too much milk production becomes a painful problem, you may want to also speak with your doctor or lactation consultant about natural ways to dry up your milk supply a little with cabbage leaves, sage, or even Sudafed in extreme cases!

Feeling the pain of breast engorgement?

Using a warm compress on your breasts before starting a feed can help to draw the most milk out of your breast and relieve engorgement. Doing breast massage during a nursing or pumping session can also help to get the most possible milk out.

Following up a feeding or pumping session by applying cold packs to the breasts can help to offer some healing comfort.

Trying to figure out how long to make a feed?

Watch your baby and not the clock for cues. When your baby is full, their hands will relax, sucking will slow, and they may even appear a little milk drunk!

Sometimes babies will want a break during a feed, and you may notice them releasing the latch and pushing away. Take breaks when you need them but feel free to offer more if your baby is showing hunger cues.

Worried your baby isn’t getting enough?

One place to look is their diaper! By day 5 you should be seeing 6 or more wet diapers every 24-hour period. You should also see about 3 to 4 stools a day by day 4 of your little one’s life.

The color of these stools should be transitioning from the dark, thick meconium poops right after birth to what is usually a yellow, seedy poop. Keep in mind that poop frequency and color both have a range for what’s normal.

Another way to know if your baby is getting enough food is to make sure that they are back to their birth weight by no later than 14 days birth. After that, you’ll want to see them steadily putting on weight.

Concerned your baby is wanting to eat more frequently?

Despite what it seems, this is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong with your milk supply. Cluster feeding is part of normal development, and can be a sign that your baby is going through a growth spurt or needs to comfort nurse.

Again, follow your baby’s lead and nurse on demand.

 

Medically reviewed by Mia Armstrong, MDWritten by Catherine Crider on October 26, 2020 (https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/tips-on-how-to-breastfeed). 

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