From sore breasts to exhaustion, breastfeeding presents its challenges, but there are ways to get on the right track.
Moms and health-care professionals say that good positioning and breast care can prevent many initial problems. Getting the rest, support, and encouragement you need helps too.
- See which nursing position works best: With The Cradle, the baby’s tummy rests against yours, his head in the crook of your arm. The Cross-Cradle rests the baby’s tummy against yours, his head in your hand and your forearm supporting his bottom. The Football Hold tucks the baby along your side, her head in your hand and your forearm supporting her back. The Side-Lying position works best with your head on a pillow and the baby’s tummy nestled against yours, her head in the crook of your arm.
- Avoid harsh soaps, which can dry breasts and nipples.
- Allow a small amount of milk to dry on the nipple to protect it. Apply purified lanolin to cracked nipples after nursing.
- To latch on properly, baby’s mouth should cover a large part of the nipple’s underside.
- Nurse frequently or pump to ease sore or swollen breasts. Visit your doctor if you have no relief after one day.
- Avoid tight-fitting bras and straps, which can interfere with milk flow.
- Don’t watch the clock. Newborns breastfeed every 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, but if baby goes a little longer or is hungry sooner, that’s OK.
- Nurse often during the first four to six weeks to produce adequate milk supply.
- At night, don’t sleep in the same bed with the baby for safety. Nurse in bed or wherever comfortable, but return the baby to a crib or bassinet afterward, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Stay calm and be patient. You and your baby will find your own rhythm.
St. Petersburg General Hospital offers a free Preparing for Breastfeeding class with a certified Lactation Consultant on Saturday, April 6, for moms and their support persons. Reservations are required, so register by calling (727) 341-4055.