Survival Guide for the Newly Nursing Mom
As a doula, part of my role is to help my clients foster a breastfeeding relationship immediately after birth. But, since I am here to support all mamas - I am going to let you in on 5 key tips that will help you navigate your breastfeeding journey with your new baby.
KEEP BABY ON THE BOOB - According to an IBCLC (International board certified lactation consultant) I work with, the best thing you can do for the first month (at least) is keep baby on the boob by nursing on demand. Your supply regulates in 4-6 weeks. Sometimes pumping too early can cause you to over-produce. This can lead to clogged ducts and mastitis. Monitor the amount of wet and poopy diapers baby has to determine if they are getting enough intake. I will attach a link below for the norms for wet and poopy diapers for reference 👉 https://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/
STIMULATION - Nursing is so comforting to our little ones and it is also naturally sleep inducing. It is important to stimulate baby to keep them from falling asleep early in a feeding so that they are able to take in full breastfeeds. To keep your baby awake you can get them down to a diaper before nursing, stroke their cheek/face, tickle their little toes and feet, use a cool washcloth on their face/neck, or talk or sing to baby.
CLUSTER FEEDS - When baby is born their stomach is the size of a cherry. Babies are often very sleepy their first few days of life, but at times can want to nurse a ton - Like every 20-30 mins! This is called cluster feeding. Keep in mind that cluster feeding doesn't mean baby isn't getting enough. Think of it like this - breast feeding is all supply and demand. All baby is doing is putting in their order to your body to bring the milk supply in.
MAMA NEEDS TO EAT TOO - I always tell my clients to keep a little basket in their bedroom or wherever they will be nursing frequently with bottles of water and snacks that are easy for you to eat one handed. You will be really hungry and thirsty while you are nursing - nursing burns ~500 cals/day! Oat bars are good to help bring in your milk supply. I love the Blueberry Almond Coconut bars from Milkful 😍👉 www.milkful.com
ALL HAIL THE HAAKAA - The Haakaa is a silicone breast pump. It is so nice to have to put on the opposite side of where you are nursing, even if baby will be eating on that side. It will collect all of the milk that will come when you have a let down when baby drinks. The Haakaa will save all of that liquid gold so you can use it to build up your stash. You can get them on Amazon for less than $20 👉 https://www.amazon.com/Haakaa-Silicone-Breastfeeding-Manual-Phthalate/dp/B01F8W7CF0
Sadly, our national breastfeeding rates are pretty low. According to the CDC, there are high rates of breastfeeding initiation (> 80%), but very low rates of exclusive breastfeeding at six months (< 25%). What this says to me is that most of our mothers want to breastfeed, however, they may not be getting the support that they need from healthcare providers, family members, or employers.
Breastfeeding can be the most rewarding and frustrating thing all at the same time. Many new moms feel lost, scared, and confused and like they are failing right out of the gates. There is a lot of pressure to breastfeed, little guidance on how to actually do it, and then loads of guilt when it doesn't come naturally. I will always be a believer of "loved and fed" is best. So, no matter how you feed your baby, you are doing a great job! To all of the mamas out there struggling with nursing don't hesitate to reach out to your local IBCLC. I can refer you to one or help you find one in your area. Remember, it takes a village and you got this ❤
With love & light,
Healing Hands Doula Services