Breastfeeding looks so simple and natural.
For many moms though, it can be quite a struggle to make breastfeeding work. Luckily there are some things you can do when it comes to making it more effective and less stressful. (Speaking of stress, you might also want to check these sanity saving tips for a newborn.)
Enjoy my 11 tips that will help you on your first month of breastfeeding!
Hydration is important in lactation. On your first month, there might be some days that you feel that you are kind of getting low on milk. If you feel this, always remember to hydrate to replenish your supply so that your dearest baby will continue on growing healthy!
But don't over do it, keep it to about 4 extra 8-ounces glasses of water. According to the article "Hydration while Breastfeeding" by dr. Sears, too much water could actually diminish milk production.
Aside from always being hydrated, you should also definitely watch your diet too. Having the proper diet will help you have the energy and it will also boost the nutrients you can give to your baby!
Be sure to lay off cigarettes, caffeine and alcohol while breastfeeding because that would definitely get into your milk. Also, don't go on a diet, because you and your baby need optimal nutrition.
If your baby has lots of cramps, gas, eczema, (silent) reflux or other problems, this could be related to something you consume.
If you have a notion which food it could be, eliminate that from your diet for a couple of weeks and see if the situation improves. For my baby, it was cow's milk. If you have no idea which food is the cause, eliminate all possible trigger foods, and start introducing them one by one to see if your baby has a reaction to it. This is called the elimination diet.
Some foods that can cause cramps for instance, are:
There are also foods and drinks you can try to stimulate your milk production. These are some examples of things that could help (though there are varied reports on them):
There are also lovely teas blended with organic herbs and spices that help increase your milk production. The one I always gift to new moms is The Mother's Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals, available on Amazon here.
Mother's Milk tea is a traditional blend of organic fennel, anise, licorice, blessed thistle and fenugreek. These are all galactagogues herbs in a recipe that has been passed down for centuries from mother to mother. It supports the production of breastmilk and promotes healthy lactation, and tastes yummy too!
There are also foods you should not eat too frequently, because they could lower your production: Parsley, sage and mint.
Always make sure to rest well on your first month of breastfeeding as well as in the months to follow. This will help very much in sustaining your energy and keeping your baby healthy. On tips for relaxing and getting more energy, check out my post on enjoying the first week with your baby.
If you find you can't easily rest or relax, or if you're especially overwhelmed or overtired, give yourself 10 minutes for this amazing meditation for moms:
When taking medicine, it’s very good to be sure that what you take are safe for women who breastfeed. It’s good to consult with pharmacists and your doctors whether these medicines will be safe for you and your happy so that no worries may arise.
When you are breastfeeding, it’s good to be close to your baby, skin on skin. This will help in keeping your baby warm and also for letting your baby be accustomed to feeding. Once your baby starts remembering the smell of your milk, he or she will be the one to crawl up to you for you to feed him or her!
In breastfeeding, it’s important that you and your baby are in a comfortable and efficient position. It’s also good if you let your baby adjust on what position he or she is comfortable with because this will also aid him or her in latching his or her mouth better.
Here you can see some great breastfeeding position variations you could try out:
It’s important to let your baby set the pace in breastfeeding. With this, you can observe when your baby is still hungry or already full. You’ll also notice that when your breast starts feeling softer, you can let the baby latch onto the other breast if he or she is still hungry. It’s also important not to forget to let your baby burp afterwards!
There might be moments on your first month of breastfeeding that you will feel pain on your breasts as the baby latches on. Fortunately, there’s a way to ease this pain. As the baby latches on, you can drink cold water through a straw. This will help ease the pain. And also try loosening up, don’t stress on it so much and you’ll be fine!
On your first month of breastfeeding, you and your baby are both adjusting. Just a month ago, your baby was still in your room where it was very dark. It’s nice to try out dark rooms where you think your baby will be more comfortable when it comes to feeding. Dark rooms can also definitely help you to relax more.
You might think you need black & gloomy curtains to create a dark enough room. But there are special nursery curtains in any color and design, that black out all light for a nice, dark nursery. Makes all the difference, for some very light sensitive babies!
It’s always good to talk to other moms who already have experience in breastfeeding. With this, you can have all the help you can get especially on your first month of breastfeeding which is mostly the getting used to and adjusting stage.
Having other moms to talk to would give you a space where you ask for advice and where they can share their experiences with you which will make the breastfeeding experience for you and your baby much better.
There are some amazing breastfeeding groups on Facebook, but sometimes they can result in a lot of drama. If possible, find a local breastfeeding group in your neighborhood, and get together regularly. Doing fun things with other moms was the best thing for me when I had a new baby, and we still meet up and have a great time.
La Leche League has an easy local breastfeeding group finder to see if there are groups near you.
This is one skill you need to train, not just for your baby now, but for their entire childhood (and beyond 😉 ). Practice how to let things go. Don’t stress out on breastfeeding. When you feel like you’re feeling too stressed out with breastfeeding, don’t. Just relax. While breastfeeding, why don’t you put on some calming music so that you can calm your mind. With this, things will be much easier for you and your baby!
If this advice has not helped you in your breastfeeding efforts, do not wait too long to contact a lactation consultant. You can find all information on lactation consultants on the website of breastfeeding organisation La Leche League International.