Breastfeeding may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but it can take some getting used to — for both you and baby. Sleepless nights, lack of energy and sore nipples are par for the course for many new mothers. Arm yourself with information and get help when you need it, and your new baby will soon be eating like a champ.
Your baby’s mouth should be fully covering the nipple with her lower lip spread out underneath. You could hold your baby in the traditional cradle hold, but there are other ways to hold her, like the football hold — under your arm — or the side-lying position. If you’re not sure whether your baby is doing it right or if you are feeling a lot of pain, talk to a lactation consultant, no matter which stage of breastfeeding you’re at. Attending a La Leche League meeting can also offer you some tips.
A newborn, breastfed baby is likely to wake up within two or three hours for a feeding. If his bed is down the hall, this can seriously disturb your sleep. Though the medical community is divided on whether or not it’s OK to have your baby sleep in the same bed with you, you can get closeness and safety by using a co-sleeper crib, which attaches to your bed. When he wakes up, you simply roll over, nurse him, place him back in his bed and go to sleep yourself.
Feeding babies is the main reason that breasts exist, but the way that breasts are sexualized makes many women feel uncomfortable just “flopping it out,” particularly in public. Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding at the mall or a restaurant, there will come a time when you have to breastfeed in front of family and friends. Nursing clothes have designs that allow you to easily expose your nipple without exposing your whole breast or stomach. If you don’t have these types of clothes, you can get the same effect by wearing a tight-fitting tank top underneath a looser top — lift the top shirt up and bring your breast out of the top of the tank top.
Soothing Sore Nipples
Pain is one of the reasons that women give up on breastfeeding. It’s common to experience some nipple pain when you first start breastfeeding, especially if your baby isn’t latching on properly. A lanolin cream made for breastfeeding is a safe bet, but avoid other creams because they may not be safe for your baby. You can also apply breast milk to the area or try placing cold cabbage leaves in your bra. When your breasts hurt because they are engorged with milk, try nursing your baby to get the size down or pumping the milk into containers for later use.
You need about 200 to 500 extra calories to produce the milk that your baby needs. Do this by eating healthy snacks throughout the day along with your regular meals.