It’s the moment you dreamed of: your newborn is laid in your arms and you prepare to give them their first meal from your breast — and there’s an issue. Either the milk doesn’t flow, or the baby can’t latch, or one of you is experiencing pain. What can be done to help you and your child?
At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, The Madison Midwives and our board-certified obstetricians are committed to making your childbearing process the wonderful experience it’s meant to be. We provide lactation support for new moms and wanted to share these breastfeeding tips with you.
While the most important thing is making sure your baby receives the nutrition and hydration they need, getting these things from breastmilk can be highly beneficial. The earliest form of lactation produces colostrum, which is full of antibodies that can help protect your baby against infection and disease.
Breastfeeding can be important for your own mental and emotional health, too. Being able to hold and nourish your baby can help you bond with them, and the act of nursing causes your uterus to contract, slowing bleeding and helping you recover from birth.
Breastfeeding can also help you lose any lingering baby weight after you deliver, and in some cases, it may prevent you from being fertile for some months. If you prefer natural forms of pregnancy planning, this may be a good side benefit.
Here are four ways you can help improve your breastfeeding technique and overcome obstacles many women face.
If you’re stressed and uncomfortable, your baby can pick up on the mood and become stressed as well. Being in a calming environment with nothing else to focus on can help you feed successfully.
All babies are different, and not all appreciate the common cradle hold. If your baby is fussy or having problems latching, try feeding using a football hold (tucking the baby around your side and feeding him or her while holding their body between your elbow and your side).
If you’re cold or nervous and your milk doesn’t flow, try using gentle warmth like a hot water bottle to encourage your milk to let down. You can also massage your breasts to stimulate letdown.
Whether it’s pumping milk and having a partner take over feeding to give cracked nipples a break, or seeking help from a lactation professional, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. Raising children is hard work, and we can use all the help we can get.
Need more help with breastfeeding? Physicians for Women is here for you and your newborn. Call us at 608-218-4825, or book an appointment online.