Every mother has different shaped nipples, every child has a different size mouth, and every mother and child duo will have a different style of breastfeeding that works for them. However, the dos and don’ts accompanied with breastfeeding apply to all. Before that, though, let’s take a quick look at the basic benefits associated with breastfeeding.
The benefits of breastfeeding for your baby include…
- Protection against infection
- Protection against illnesses
- Protection from allergies
- Enhances development and I.Q.
The benefits of breastfeeding for you include…
- Promoting weight loss
- Helping emotional health
Now it’s time for the dos and the don’ts of breastfeeding.
DO invest in a couple quality nursing bras… you won’t regret it.
DON’T forget to wear breast pads. You’ll be wishing you had some when you’re out and about when your milk comes in.
DO teach your baby to “breastfeed” rather than “nipple feed”. This means that you need to start by holding your breast steady and compressing it into a pointy shape with your hand.
DON’T use soap on your breasts. There are small bumps on your areola the produce a natural lubricating oil that aids breastfeeding. Using soap will strip your breast of this oil.
DO use rapid arm movement (or RAM). Bring your baby onto the breast in a quick, swift motion – this will allow the baby to take the breast as deeply into their throat as they can.
DON’T stuff your breast into your baby’s mouth. It is important to bring your baby to you, not the other way around.
DO feed frequently. This means feeding your baby at least 8-10 times in a 24-hour period… so about every two hours. The more you breastfeed your little one, the more milk you will produce.
DON’T allow your baby to sleep through regular feedings. This will make you very sore and can decrease your milk supply, so be sure to provide enough gentle stimulation that will rouse them to eat whenever it’s time to nurse.
DO buy a Boppy pillow. A Boppy pillow is exactly what you need to help support your baby and your arm – you’ll be glad to have it.
DON’T let breastfeeding hurt. If you allow your baby to nurse in a way that hurts you, they will not get the message that they need to nurse deeper. With practice, a mother should be able to nurse pain free.
DO have someone else introduce the bottle to your baby. It is better to have someone other than the mother do this.
DON’T introduce a bottle before six weeks. In fact, it is preferable to wait until eight to ten weeks – the goal is to allow your baby to become a professional on the breast before they make the switch.
DO allow your baby to finish the breast before switching to the other. This assures that your little one will get plenty of calorie-rich milk that will help them feel fuller for longer.
DON’T give up! I know it can get incredibly frustrating, but the last thing you should do is throw in the towel and grab a bottle. Not getting it on the first try is incredible normal, so stay calm and give it time.
Breastfeeding isn’t a race, it’s a journey… and no matter how cheesy that may be, it’s the truth. The most important thing to remember is that nursing is a time to connect with your child in a beautiful and natural way. Stay calm and nurse on.