I am so happy to have Whattoexpect.com as a guest contributor for my site today. As a new mom breastfeeding came with so many questions and Whattoexpect.com was a fantastic resource for me. Take a look at this article to find so much great information that is sure to be helpful as you start your breastfeeding journey.

As far as parenting is concerned, nothing will be close to smooth, well at least in the beginning. Sleepless nights, multiple diaper changes, adapting to a being a mother and learning the needs of your new little one. There are so many good times too, but nothing in this world can replace the feeling of looking at your bundle of joy while breastfeeding, well-fed and sleeping peacefully. 

In order to make the entire process of feeding your baby smooth and efficient, we will guide you through important steps to follow while breastfeeding. Here is a list of 7 crucial tips for both the mother and baby, that can be beneficial before beginning to breastfeed your child. 

The Correct Position

As shared on whattoexpect.com, “I learned from the nurses at the hospital to undress my baby, so I could feed him with his bare belly against mine—he’d be resting on the boppy pillow for support—in a ‘football’ hold. I’d also make sure his feet were against my arm so he felt more secure, then I’d use the ‘U’-hold the nurses taught me on my breast.” — excerpts Lorraine S., New York. 

This way the baby doesn’t have to turn his/her head to latch on your nipple. Now point your nipple towards the baby’s nose instead of the mouth, in order to have them lift their head, open the mouth wide and latch on deeply.  

Start Nursing from the First Hour

Nursing soon after birth is deemed as the best practice scientifically, as babies tend to be easily roused in the first hour, compared to later. Also immediate skin-to-skin contact aids in regulating the body temperature of the newborn while exposing them to the good bacteria present on the mother’s skin. These beneficial bacteria build a strong immune system for the baby and shield them from any infectious diseases.  

Let the Baby Choose Sides

Most mothers always panic when the baby feeds on from one breast and not both. But don’t worry, it is completely normal for the baby to feed on to as much as he/she wants. They generally take only one breast feedings sometimes and both breasts feedings, otherwise.  

Get Comfortable while Nursing

New mothers you can lie on your side to nurse your baby, making the process comfortable for both you and the baby. Especially for mothers who have gone through C-section procedure, this position will prove the best. It will allow you to rest your lower back as well as your shoulders, instead of hunching over uncomfortably. 

Put your hand under your head and keep a pillow between your knees, and then place your baby facing you. That way you can rest while your baby is being nursed at ease.   

Don’t Hesitate to Seek for Help 

Call for help right away in case anything goes wrong with nursing your child. The problems could vary from wrong latching, injured nipple or your baby is not gaining weight. For all these complications call a lactation expert, immediately to deal with the issues right away. This way you will end up saving a lot of trouble and pain for both you and the baby. 

Keep your Baby Awake while Feeding

Babies sleeping during feedings is a normal thing, but if your baby is snoozing a few minutes into her feed then it could mean she is not latched on to your breasts properly. The shallow latch has exhausted her from sucking hard and not getting enough milk. In this case, you must first latch her on properly as explained in the previous points. 

Experts also recommend the “switch nursing” strategy, in which you stimulate the baby by rubbing, tickling the feet or chin, before offering them your other breast. Repeat this procedure with breastfeeding a couple of times until the baby is latched on to your breast for over 10-15 minutes and is suckling well. 

Introducing Bottle Feedings after 4 Weeks 

Give your baby the first bottle only after they are comfortable with breastfeeding and at least post the first month. Start 2 weeks before the actual shifting in order to let the baby get acquainted with his new feeding method. As sucking milk from a bottle involves different tongue and mouth movements in comparison to breastfeeding. In case you delay the process there can be a risk of bottle rejection by your baby. 

Babies act differently when they are given their first bottle so you can try techniques to make the change easy for them. Let any other close relative like the father of the baby give them the bottle for a positive result, while you are away. If the baby is too attached to you, give your baby the same attention, time and position which she received while breastfeeding and replace it with bottle feedings. 

The key is to be aware of the situation that you and your baby are in, in order to turn for assistance wherever you are going wrong, while you are breastfeeding. Keep your lactation expert and pediatrician on speed dial in case you need to call for a quick tip or expert opinion. And the most important thing every nursing mother should do is rest well and maintain a stress-free state of mind.

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