Ten Tips For Successful Breastfeeding
August is World Breastfeeding Month. El Dorado County public health nurses, who see the benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mother, are encouraging parents to learn more about breastfeeding.
“Breast milk is the best food you can give your baby and also helps the mother with a faster recovery after giving birth,” said Phyllis Goldie, Supervising Public Health Nurse for the El Dorado County Health Services Department. “Breastfeeding can also limit the severity of respiratory infections in infants and is particularly important for minimizing the risk and effects of infection during the upcoming flu season.”
To assist mothers in having a successful breastfeeding experience, the following top ten tips are offered:
1. Begin to breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth, and preferably within an hour.
2. Make sure the baby is latching on properly so that the baby is suckling on as much of the areola as possible.
3. Feed the baby whenever she seems hungry and nurse her until she is satisfied. This will help to increase your milk flow. Most newborns need to nurse every two to three hours.
4. Try different positions during breastfeeding so that you are as comfortable as possible. Use pillows to support your arms and bring the baby up closer to breastfeeding level, instead of leaning over the baby. Being able to relax is important for proper milk flow.
5. If you begin to experience pain during breastfeeding check to see that the baby is latching on properly, try switching positions and seek out advice from a nurse or lactation professional or another mother who has been successful with breastfeeding. A bit of expressed breastmilk can be rubbed on and around nipples to reduce temporary soreness. (Remember that many women have some soreness at the beginning, but this usually goes away within a few days.)
6. Burp your baby frequently during and after each feeding.
7. Do not give your baby a pacifier until your breastfeeding is well established.
8. Avoid supplementing the baby’s diet with water or formula unless there is a medical reason to do so. Your breastmilk is all your baby needs for at least the first six months of life.
9. Take care of yourself by drinking plenty of fluids, eating nourishing foods and getting as much rest as possible. Eat a well balanced diet, and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can cause dehydration and be passed on to the baby.
10. If you need to return to work, make a plan in advance with your employer to establish a private, clean location where you can express your breastmilk. California law says that employers must take steps to accommodate breastfeeding mothers who return to work. Be sure to purchase, rent or borrow a good breastpump.