Planning on breastfeeding for the first time and don’t know how even to begin? Here are 14 super helpful breastfeeding tips to help you succeed as a new mom.
Breastfeeding is a great bonding experience for you and your baby. There are many pros to breastfeeding vs. pumping. Even though we know the benefits, we could all use some extra tips on breastfeeding for the first time.
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is hard. It takes some time to get used to for the first time and can get a little overwhelming at times. These breastfeeding tips helped me as a first-time mom, and they can help you too.
1. Take a breastfeeding class.
Learn all you can about breastfeeding during your pregnancy. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology is amazing. It is an online class, so you can take it whenever you want. And then you have access to it whenever you need to reference it.
This class tells you everything you need to know about breastfeeding. Be sure to check it out; it is well worth it! The class also has a lot of tips to get a good breastfeeding latch.
2. Nurse during the golden hour.
It would be best if you did the first breastfeeding after birth during the golden hour. The golden hour is the first hour after delivery, and it is the most important. Your baby is awake and alert following delivery. This is when skin-to-skin contact is very important.
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby during the first hour will help their body with thermoregulation, and it also helps reduce stress for you. This is also the best time to initiate breastfeeding for the first time.
Your baby’s instinct is to try to nurse. They will try to root around until they come into contact with your nipple. This first hour of bonding time also helps to signal your milk to come in.
3. Make sure the latch is right.
The latch is the most important technique to get right. The latch is how your baby fastens onto your breast during feeding. A good latch ensures you minimize any nipple pain, and also it promotes good milk flow, so your baby gets enough milk.
In the beginning, you will experience some nipple discomfort until you get used to nursing, but you should not be feeling intense pain.
Breastfeeding Tips for a Good Latch
- Your baby’s mouth should be opened wide over your breast, not just the nipple.
- Your baby’s lips should be turned out when latched.
- Compress your breast slightly as you bring the baby to your breast.
- You shouldn’t feel pain when your baby is latched correctly.
- Use a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you. (see below)
4. Try different positions until you find one you are comfortable with.
Five different positions are great for breastfeeding. Try them all out until you find one that is comfortable for you.
Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
Your baby’s head lays in the bend of your elbow on the side you are nursing from. Baby’s body should be facing you.
Crossover Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
The Baby’s head is held in the hand opposite of the breast you are nursing from instead of the elbow. Your arm and wrist are under, baby.
Football Hold Breastfeeding Position
Baby is at your side with their body facing you. Baby’s legs are under your arm on the side you are nursing from.
Side-lying Breastfeeding Position
Usually used for ‘Dream feeding’. Both of you are laying on your sides, tummy to tummy.
Laid-back Breastfeeding Position
Lean back in a semi-reclined position, making sure you are well supported. Put baby on you so you are tummy to tummy and their head is near your breast.
When I first started nursing I liked the football hold. But, once I got more comfortable with nursing and as my babies grew the cradle hold was what I liked best.
5. Nurse on-demand.
Breastfeeding on demand is when you respond to your baby’s hunger cues. You nurse when your baby is hungry or showing hunger cues and continue nursing until your baby is satisfied.
This allows you to keep up your milk supply with the demands of your baby’s needs. Nursing on-demand may mean that it may be in public sometimes. If you are looking for the perfect nursing cover on the go, check out the ultimate buying guide for nursing covers.
6. Don’t let more than 3 hours go between feedings.
In the beginning, make sure you are feeding your baby at least every 3 hours. Your milk supply is still coming in, and you want to make sure you continue making enough.
This means you may need to wake your baby in the beginning so that they nurse every 3 hours. Please continue to do this at least until they are showing good weight gain.
7. Make sure you eat.
While you are breastfeeding, you need on average 500 more calories than normal. Make sure you are getting the right nutrients for you and your baby.
Your body needs calories and nutrients to make the milk your baby requires.
8. Stay hydrated.
Breastfeeding can make you very thirsty. After all, you are not only hydrating yourself but your baby too. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking the recommended 12 glasses of water.
A good water bottle is a first-time mom breastfeeding essential. I had a few different water cups because I wanted to make sure I had one everywhere I went.
At the very least, make sure you never feel thirsty. Breastfeeding and staying hydrated are also great tips to help get rid of the postpartum pooch.
9. Learn baby’s hunger cues.
The first sign your baby gives when hungry is licking their lips or making smacking/sucking noises. They will then start to suck or try to suck on anything nearby.
A baby’s second hunger cue is to begin their rooting reflex, and you will see them turning their head and opening their mouth, ready to accept a breast. They then will start to bring their hands to their mouths.
If they are still not fed by now, they tend to get squirmy and fidgety.
If they start fussing and crying, this is a hunger that indicates they are starving. You will need to calm them first before attempting to nurse them.
10. Get a breastfeeding tracker.
A breastfeeding tracker allows you to see how much your baby eats each day and whether there are any issues you need to talk to the doctor about.
It also lets you know which side you nursed with last so you can start with the other breast for the next feeding. There are a lot of great apps available, or a simple breastfeeding chart works too. Check out this App; it has everything you need.
11. Have a nursing station or nursing supplies handy.
Having a dedicated nursing station makes it more relaxing for both you and your baby. It would be best if you had all your essentials nearby and available. That is why it is important to Pack the Perfect Hospital Bag so you can start off breastfeeding while still in the hospital like a pro.
Once you start to nurse, you don’t want to have to get up for anything. So, next to your comfy nursing chair, make sure you have a basket of the following items.
First Time Mom Breastfeeding Essentials
1. Nursing Pillow
- FEEL THE SUPPORT: Encourages better posture during breastfeeding,...
- FIRM AND FLAT: Prevents baby from rolling out of position during...
- CONVENIENT POCKET: Handy pouch keeps your maternity supplies within...
2. Nipple Cream or Coconut Oil
- ORGANIC: Made from seven simple, natural, organic ingredients....
- NO NEED TO WASH OFF BEFORE BREASTFEEDING: Lanolin-free, cruelty-free,...
- FAST RELIEF: Loved & recommended by lactation consultants, Nipple...
- Naturally Nourishing Coconut Oil for Hair - With its unique...
- Hydrate Naturally With Coconut Oil for Skin - Coconut oil organic is a...
- Perfect Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking - An unrefined coconut oil...
- The award-winning and best-selling Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump,...
- The Haakaa Silicone Breastpump lets you express milk using the power...
- Our Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is lightweight, portable and the perfect...
- MILK-BOOSTING LACTATION BARS – Our Milk to the Max Bars are expertly...
- 6 POWERFUL SUPERFOODS – made with Moringa, Turmeric, Cinnamon,...
- BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS – Our lactation bars for breastfeeding...
- Vacuum Insulated: Simple Modern Cruisers and Slim Cruisers are...
- Flip Lid and 2 Straws - Your purchase comes with two BPA-free,...
- 18/8 Stainless Steel: Tumbler is made from premium gauge 18/8...
6. Nipple Shield
- DESIGNED FOR SPECIAL BREASTFEEDING: The Medela Contact Nipple Shields...
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN FOR MORE CONTACT: Made of 100% ultra-thin and soft...
- USE UNDER DIRECTION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL: Medela’s Contact Nipple...
7. Burp Cloths
- PURE COTTON MUSLIN BURP CLOTHS – no parent can ever have too many...
- MULTI-PURPOSE ESSENTIAL FOR BABIES – our muslin cloths are so...
- EXCELLENT QUALITY PURE COTTON – made from 100% breathable cotton,...
8. Book or Magazine
9. Breastfeeding Log
[Touch Activated] A simple short touch on the top of this LED...
[Brightness Memory Setting] You can adjust the brightness to suit...
[Must-Have Versatile Night Light Lamp] A night lamp suits all. For...
12. Relax and don’t stress.
Stress can affect your milk supply. It could cause the flow to slow down. Make sure you enjoy the bonding time with your baby and relax as much as you can. A great way to encourage the let-down reflex is to take a warm bath or shower with your baby.
By having a dedicated nursing station, you are already allowing yourself to be more relaxed. Stressed from a fussy baby? Your baby could have uncomfortable gas; get your baby relief from gas with these easy tips.
13. Get plenty of rest.
Your body is hard at work producing milk constantly. It can take a toll on you. This can lead to more stress if you aren’t careful. Keep stress away by making sure you are getting the rest your body needs.
14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you are having trouble with anything, don’t be afraid to ask for help. At the same time, you are still in the hospital after birth; set up a time to talk to the lactation consultant if you have any concerns at all.
If you are feeling intense pain at any time during breastfeeding, make sure you talk to your doctor or lactation consultant immediately.
FAQ’s When Breastfeeding for the First Time
1. What should you not do while breastfeeding?
Things from your body get passed to your baby through your breast milk. Therefore, you should not be doing drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol when you are breastfeeding.
Don’t forget to eat enough. Make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet to produce enough breastmilk for your baby. Hydration is also important. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
2. How long should a breastfeeding session last?
A typical breastfeeding session lasts anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes for a newborn. Watch for your baby’s cues to make sure they are getting enough milk. A hungry newborn tends to have a closed fist; once they are full, their hand relaxes and opens. A newborn will usually nurse around 10-15 minutes on each breast.
Don’t forget to burp your baby when you pause to switch breasts. As your baby gets older, they will become more efficient, and the time per breast will decrease. In addition, you will get to know their cues and understand when they are satisfied.
3. What foods help produce breast milk?
Eating a balanced meal is key in producing breast milk. Some foods can increase your production of breast milk. Oats are perfect for helping produce more breast milk.
Other foods you should include in your diet while breastfeeding is Barley, Whole Grains, Fennel, Fenugreek, Brewer’s Yeast, and Apricots.
Breastfeeding can be difficult. Some of the most important breastfeeding tips to remember are to make sure you are getting a good latch and have a good position for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding tips for first-time moms include getting enough rest, watch your baby’s hunger cue, and stay hydrated. Don’t forget to set yourself up for successful breastfeeding by having all of your breastfeeding essentials in a convenient place, ideally next to a comfortable nursing chair.
Most importantly, Don’t Stress. You and your baby are learning together, and you will figure out the ways that best work for both of you. If something doesn’t work or doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to try something new or ask for help.