5 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Research and numerous studies have time and time again proven that breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for a newborn.
“It promotes bonding, it stabilizes the baby’s blood sugar, it colonizes the baby’s gut with bacteria for proper digestion and it helps the mother’s uterus contract, which controls bleeding,” said Laura Caso, a board-certified lactation consultant and registered nurse with Abington – Jefferson Health.
Breastmilk provides infants with the ideal mix of protein, vitamins and fat they need to grow. The antibodies in breastmilk help develop babies’ immune system, helping them fight off bacteria and viruses.
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding as well – it burns extra calories, which can help you lose pregnancy weight. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding lowers women’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Although breastfeeding is a natural process for which the female body was built, it may not happen perfectly in the beginning. Here are five tips for successful breastfeeding from Laura Caso.
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- Be persistent
Keep at it. Be persistent in trying to get the baby latched and call for assistance as needed. Pay attention to the baby’s feeding cues – that’s important.
If things don’t seem to be going perfectly when you first try to breastfeed, mothers shouldn’t give up.
Just like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get. You can’t learn to drive a car by watching videos and reading books. Actually doing it is how you get comfortable. It’s no different with breastfeeding.
- Try different positions
There are several different positions you can try for breastfeeding. There’s one called the cradle hold, which is the traditional position. Then there’s the cross-cradle position, which is similar to the cradle hold. There’s the clutched or football position, and you can also lie down.
Some people are more comfortable with certain positions. Nurses get patients to try different things because babies prefer different positions.
- Have patience
New moms don’t know what to expect. They’re anxious. They want to make sure their baby is getting enough to eat, but sometimes babies need some time to get it right.
If you deliver premature or preterm, Caso recommends getting assistance with breastfeeding right away. Breastfeed or pump early and often, especially if the baby is in a NICU. If you’re separated from the baby, you need to start pumping right away to develop and maintain your milk supply.
- Seek help and support
You can attend breastfeeding classes before having your baby and seek out assistance after delivery from nurses, lactation consultants and loved ones. Surround yourself with positive role models, friends and family members who have been successful, who can assist and support you.