Taking a new baby home is extremely exciting but can also cause some stress and worry. One of the major issues that women face with their newborns is trouble with nursing. While it might seem straightforward, nursing can actually be a difficult skill to learn and master. To help, we’ve gathered some of the top tips to help you nurse your baby successfully from home.
- Let Baby Set the Pace
Most newborns will feed every two to three hours for about 15-20 minutes at a time. However, this is just an average and you might find that your baby takes on a slightly different schedule. Look for clues of hunger, such as stirring and restlessness or sucking lip movements.
- Pump When Needed
Some babies are full after feeding from just one breast. This can lead to pain or swelling in the breast that hasn’t been emptied. If your baby tends to feed from just one breast at a time, pump the other breast to relieve fullness and protect your milk supply.
- Save the Pacifier for Later
Baby love to suck, but this can interfere or make breast feeding confusing. Wait until you’ve established a healthy and regular breast feeding routine before introducing a pacifier.
- Eat Healthy
Both you and your baby need healthy foods to maintain your energy and wellness. Nursing takes a great amount of energy, so be sure to fuel your body with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins. Avoid processed foods, sugars, artificially colored foods, smoking, and certain medications, as these can transfer to the breast milk.
- Protect Your Nipples
It’s natural for nipples to become dry or sore during nursing, but there are many things you can do to keep them protected. It’s okay to let some milk dry on your nipples after feeding as it can nourish the skin. Use breast pads and change them often if you experience leaking. For dry or cracked nipples, moisturize with purified lanolin to help them heal and retain the moisture in the skin.
Nursing can be a challenge, but once you find your routine it can become a lovely bonding moment between you and your newborn. Track your success by making sure baby has about six wet diapers per day and is steadily gaining weight. Reach out to your doctor or other health care professional if you have any questions or concerns about nursing.