As a first-time mom, there are always so many more you can learn about, particularly when it comes to feeding your newborn. Before your baby will start eating solids at six months, they’ll only need milk from formula or breastfeeding. If you’re keen on going for the latter, you have to be ready for a lot of hard work and effort, as there’s no denying that breastfeeding can be quite a challenge. However, it’s also rewarding.
There are so many things you have to slowly master when it comes to breastfeeding. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, then, perhaps, direct latching is the way to go. If you’re a working mom, you’ll also need to know the ins and outs of pumping, including milk handling and how to properly store your milk in your milk bags and breast milk mini fridge.
To give you a good start, here are some of the best breastfeeding hacks for first-time moms:
1. Anticipate Your Baby’s Cues To Feed
Feeding on demand is one of the best ways to get the hang of breastfeeding. If you want to be successful with breastfeeding, you’ll want it to become second-nature both for you and your baby. Rather than sticking to a schedule, start by feeding on demand first. This can help you anticipate your baby’s hunger cues, right before they even go cranky.
When your baby is hungry, they may show signs like:
- Sucking on whatever they can
- Raising and turning their head repeatedly
- Opening and closing their mouth while sticking out their tongue.
When you’re able to master those hunger cues of your baby, you’re increasing their chances of getting satisfied immediately when you nurse, before they turn into a cranky and inconsolable baby. Your baby will be happier when they feel they don’t have to struggle with having to get your attention just to get fed.
2. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is one of the best tips to keep your milk supply up. When you’re nursing, it’s normal to feel a lot thirstier than you may have previously been, before you started nursing. This is nothing to worry about as you now have a little baby depending on for their hydration.
When it comes to staying hydrated, water will do. But, if you have other preferred beverages, opt for healthy fruit juices. Just make sure that whatever you drink is safe for your nursing baby. Whenever you’re unsure, make it a point to first ask your pediatrician about whether or not you can drink a certain beverage.
So, how do you really stay hydrated while breastfeeding? It’s really simple—all you need to have is a non-toxic water bottle, which you’ll bring with you everywhere you feed. So, whenever you feel thirsty, you can always replenish.
3. Make Use Of Baby Tracking Apps
In the past, parents would usually write down their babies’ feeding schedules on a notebook. Today, however, times are more modern, and there are many apps for this purpose. Make use of baby tracking apps to take note of your baby’s feeding activities just so you have a record. This would make it easier for you to remember when their last feeding was. And, during those pediatrician visits, you’ll have factual data to discuss if your baby is feeding well enough, which is crucial, particularly during the first few weeks of life.
Because you’re going through sleepless nights, it’s expected that you’ll also be in a fog. You can make life so much easier for you when you use technology to aid you.
4. Stay Comfortable With Pillows
Breastfeeding your baby can sometimes mean long hours of sitting and holding them. Soon enough, you may start to feel uncomfortable, and the last thing you’ll want to do when your baby has already settled and stayed comfortable is to keep twisting and turning to find a comfortable spot. Babies can easily be startled, even by the slightest change in movement. And, thus, you don’t want to go back to square one and be up and awake again after putting your baby to sleep and nursing for so long.
One of the best ways to secure your comfort when nursing is to have a comfortable breastfeeding pillow, or any other pillow you can use for your arms and for your baby.
As you can see, breastfeeding isn’t always an easy endeavor. If you aren’t successful the first few weeks or if you feel like your milk supply isn’t sufficient, don’t give up. Think of it as you and your baby on the getting-to-know-you phase, wherein you’re still discovering more about each other. Once you get there, you’ll be able to walk through breastfeeding a lot more seamlessly. If all else fails, don’t be too hard on yourself. This isn’t meant to downgrade formula feeding as well, as when it comes to your baby, feed is always best.