Nursing your baby not only provides your little bundle with nature’s most perfect food; it also allows you and her to form that most perfect bond. However, just because nursing is a natural, age-old process, that doesn’t mean it comes natural or feels natural for every mother. Nursing a newborn can be one of the more frustrating processes that new mothers and babies have to figure out. Hopefully these five simple tips can help make the nursing process flow more smoothly.
Lactation is a demanding process! Remember how you had to up your drinking game during pregnancy? Don’t plan on decreasing that water consumption anytime soon; in fact you may have to increase it even still. Most doctors recommend nursing moms to drink around 12 cups of water per day, compared to the eight cups a non-lactating person should drink. It’s most important to listen to your body though. Some moms might need more and some less. Just make sure you are drinking enough to keep yourself hydrated. Know the signs of dehydration and increase your water and electrolyte intake as needed.
Nurse on Demand
Your body can do amazing things, but you probably already knew that from going through pregnancy and childbirth. Another amazing feat your body can do is produce the exact amount of milk that your baby needs. How does it know? Nursing on demand or baby-led nursing is letting your baby decide when and how much he wants to nurse based on his hunger. The more he nurses, the more milk you produce. Nursing on demand is usually recommended over scheduled nursing for your baby’s early days to make sure he is getting the nutrition that he needs and that your milk supply is adequate.
An easy way to increase your milk supply is to offer your baby to nurse more frequently. Usually a couple of days of this and your body responds so as not to keep the little one wanting.
The sandwich hold for nursing can be a life saver in the early days when you and your baby are learning the ropes of nursing. Not only does it help baby learn a proper latch, it also works well when your breasts are so engorged they feel about to burst. Another tip that may help with the sandwich hold is to use a nursing pillow to support baby’s body to free up your hands.
Pump Extra On Maternity Leave To Stockpile For Going Back To Work
Having a stockpile of breast milk in the freezer can put any new mom at ease, especially as the time to return to work approaches. It helps you feel secure that your baby will be well provided for even when you can’t be with her. The best time to start that stockpile is during your maternity leave.
Once you and your baby have reached the nursing groove, it’s time to start pumping and storing any extra milk. Always pump after your baby is finished nursing or pump one side while she nurses the other. Breast milk stores well in the freezer for up to six months so just be sure to properly store and label.
While we’re on the subject, pumping can seem like a boring and inefficient use of time. After all, you can’t bond with your baby, pay bills, or anything else while doing it, or can you? Investing in a hands-free pumping bra could be a game changer. These bras allow the multi-tasker mom in you to shine. It holds the flange of the pump so you don’t have to leaving your hands free for other necessary tasks. Most of them also double as a nursing bra so there’s no need to switch up during the day.
Take A Galactagogue
Not only is galactagogue a funny word, it’s also a powerful booster of milk supply. Galactactagogues are herbal supplements, most commonly fenugreek or a combination with fenugreek. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any lactation supplement.
Nursing your baby should be second-nature. However, for most new mothers it oftentimes doesn’t come naturally at all. Just remember that it takes time and persistence from both you and your baby and that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel you are struggling with nursing. Most hospitals or clinics offer lactation consultants that will come to your home. Other good online resources include La Leche League and WIC. Nursing your baby is an important process and there is always someone there to help.