August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month–the perfect time to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. Many medical expert sources, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months. After the introduction of other foods, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding through the baby’s first year. Many expectant moms may be nervous about breastfeeding or may not be sure if it’s the right choice for their lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you prepare to breastfeed, and hopefully ease your mind when it comes to doing it.
- Find the right position for your baby. Help your baby find a comfortable position to breastfeed. They should not be turning their head too much. Their chin should be against the breast so that their head is tilted upwards to allow them to breathe comfortably through their nose.
- Look for cues from your baby. One of the most common concerns is knowing when your baby is hungry. Subtle signs that your baby is hungry include putting their hand in their mouth, fussiness, licking their lips, or sticking out their tongue. Additionally, a closed fist typically signals that they are hungry whereas an open hand signals that they are content.
- Maintain a good diet. Even when you’re no longer pregnant, you’re still eating for two. Make sure to stay hydrated, continue to take prenatal vitamins and eat a well-balanced diet.
- Take care of your skin. Maintain the skin around your nipples and breasts with a healing product. After a feeding dry your breasts with a soft cloth and avoid over-washing. That can actually cause your skin to dry out.
- Try to avoid breast engorgement. Engorgement is the painful swelling of breasts due to an excess buildup of milk. This usually occurs in the infant’s first week and is an effect of producing more milk than what your baby is consuming. You can pump breast milk to help alleviate the pain.
- Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t automatically latch onto you. Try your best to relax. The baby will respond to your emotions. If you continue to have trouble, don’t be afraid to ask other moms for advice, check out some helpful tips online or explore the option of Inpatient or Outpatient Lactation Services.
Breastfeeding also greatly benefits mom. It can help mom return to her pre-pregnancy weight quicker. According to research* women who breastfeed seem less likely to develop postpartum depression and feel a significant bond with their baby while breastfeeding.
If you decide to breastfeed, remember it’s a journey that you and your baby will learn together. To get in touch with one of our experts today, call 307-634-5216.