New moms are inundated with information on breastfeeding from nurses, doctors, relatives, friends and other parents. There are so many things to keep in mind that it can get overwhelming. Your pediatric and lactation consultants at Pediatric Partners of Augusta want to help. Here are Five Things New Moms Should Know About Breastfeeding.
1. Breast milk comes in three stage
Many new mothers don’t know that breast milk comes in three stages, each of which meets your newborn’s exact needs.
- Colostrum is a yellowy substance that gives your newborn the nutrients and antibodies he needs to fight infections in the early days. Baby needs just a few teaspoons at a time, which might be all you are producing.
- Transitional milk comes in 3-5 days after birth and looks like a mixture of orange juice and milk. In transitional milk, the amount of protein and antibodies will decrease slightly while the amount of fat, sugar, and calories will increase. This helps your baby to gain back some of the weight they might have lost in the first few days following birth.
- Mature milk will come in about 10-14 days after birth. White and slightly thinner than transitional milk, it can appear bluish at first. Mature milk is divided into two types: foremilk, slightly thinner and lower in fat, and hindmilk, creamier and thicker.
2. Getting “the latch” takes practice
Getting baby to properly latch onto your breast can take some work, but luckily there is a lot of information on breastfeeding and proper latching. Here are a few tips:
- Get comfortable and use a seat with back, neck and shoulder support.
- Guide baby into place. Place your nipple around baby’s lips, running it back and forth and waiting for a wide yawn. Baby’s chin and the tip of her nose should be on the breast.
- You can tell that baby is latched on and getting milk when there’s a suck-swallow-breathe pattern.
- Break the seal. If you don’t get a good latch, try again. Put your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth and pull your breast out. Start the cycle until you get a seal with the nipple and the areola covered.
3. Finding the right position for you is important
The whole breastfeeding experience is better when you are comfortable, too. Experiment with a few positions until you find which one works best. Here are some to consider:
- Laid-back breastfeeding. Lie back with your head, shoulders and neck supported. Place baby’s whole front on your whole front.
- Cradle hold. Cradle her in your lap with baby’s head in your elbow bend.
- Crossover hold. Hold baby’s head with the opposite hand from the breast you are using. Your wrist should be behind baby’s shoulder blades, thumb behind one ear, fingers behind the other ear. Cup your breast with the other hand.
- Football hold. Use the hand on the side of the breast that’s nursing to lift baby’s head to nipple level, with her head facing toward you. Use pillows to help elevate baby.
- Side-lying position. Mom and baby face each other, both lying on their sides. Use pillows to make sure that baby is raised to nipple level.
4. You are what you eat
A healthy diet is key to breastfeeding success. Follow these tips from our lactation consultants:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and keep milk flowing.
- Eat a balanced diet. A good diet to follow – three servings of protein, five servings of calcium, three servings of whole grains and five to six servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Incorporate healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids from low-mercury fish such as salmon and sardines.
- Don’t skip your prenatal vitamin. Keep taking it until you’ve completed breastfeeding.
5. Breastfeeding should not be painful.
Your breasts are your main asset during this time. But when they’re working all the time, you can feel it. Here’s how to deal with them:
Mastitis. This breast inflammation is caused by an infection that gets into the breast. Avoid it by pumping or nursing to avoid engorgement.
Blocked milk ducts. A painful spot on your breast that’s red and irritated might be a blocked duct. Keep breastfeeding to break through the blockage.
Sore or cracked nipples. Lanolin cream applied after each nursing session will help with the soreness that comes in the early stages of breastfeeding. In addition to applying lanolin cream, adjust your breastfeeding position and make sure baby has a good latch.
Pediatric Partners of Augusta can provide you with expert information on breastfeeding through our online resources and by visiting our pediatric consultants. We now have three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is located at 411 Town Park Blvd., the downtown Augusta office is located at 1303 D’Antignac Street, Suite 2600, and the new Grovetown office is located at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, please feel free to call the office at 706-854-2500, visit pedpartners.com, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook page.