Making the decision to breastfeed has countless benefits for both mom and baby, although sometimes the process can be tricky for new mothers to navigate.
Here are 4 tips to help you prepare for a successful breastfeeding experience:
Bringing your baby to your chest right after they are born not only soothes them and is a wonderful bonding experience, but skin-to-skin contact actually helps increase milk supply. Research has shown that holding your baby skin-to-skin increases your levels of the milk-making hormone oxytocin – or the “love hormone.”
Consider different positions
When your baby is properly latched to your breast their mouth is wide open over your nipple, covering most of your areola, with their nose, lips, and chin close to your breast. Experiment with a variety of options like a cradle, cross-cradle or football hold to find what is most comfortable for you and your baby. As your practice continues, you can try additional options such as side-lying position or laid back position.
Follow your baby’s lead
There’s no perfect schedule to follow when it comes to breastfeeding. Follow your baby’s lead and let them tell you when and how much feeding they need. Signs your baby is hungry may include smacking lips, hands to mouth, nuzzling breast, flexing arms and hands to make a fist, and awake and alert responses. Listen for swallowing, look for signs of contentment after feeding, and assess if breasts feel softer after feeding.
Seek classes and help if you need it!
The number one reason why moms quit breastfeeding is nipple trauma. Educating yourself on breastfeeding can set you up for success and help you understand what a proper latch should feel like.
Hoag offers a variety of free on-demand and live virtual breastfeeding classes. After you give birth, you’ll have assistance in the hospital, as well as access to Hoag’s Breastfeeding Clinic for one-on-one consultations and Breastfeeding Support Group–all facilitated by a Hoag International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) registered nurse. You’ll even receive 24/7 video-enabled lactation support through Hoag Pacify.
Hoag’s BabyLine is staffed by an IBCLC nurse who can offer resources, support and empathy as you navigate the new world of breastfeeding. For questions, call 949-764-BABY (2229).