Irit Librot, RN, Lactation Consultant at the Birthing Center at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, has been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for over 24 years. She has the following tips for new mothers who are breastfeeding to help make their experience successful:
Put your baby skin-to-skin on your bare chest immediately after birth and anytime you wish. Your baby will naturally seek you breast.
Assure that your baby is properly positioned and latched at the breast to avoid nipple soreness and ensure that baby gets the milk available. Ask for assistance from your nurse anytime you need it.
Watch the baby, not the clock. Feed the baby at early signs of hunger cues, and feed as often and as long as your baby desires. Most babies don't settle into a definite feeding or sleep schedule until at least two months of age. While some babies might feed every 1 1/2 to 2 hours at first, others feed “banquet style,” clustering several feedings fairly close together before falling into a deep sleep.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Fatigue is the #1 stress for new parents. The short naps while baby is sleeping can be very rejuvenating. Take time to settle into your new family routines and limit visitors. Too many visitors may add to your fatigue.
When in doubt, hold your baby. Babies are made to be held. They are comforted and feel safe by close human contact. Their systems regulate better and oxygenate more efficiently when held.
If you have any pain while breastfeeding seek help immediately. Although some discomfort can be associated with early breastfeeding, sharp pain, pinching, blisters or cracks are not considered normal. Contact a Lactation Consultant for assessment and/or advice.
If in the first week engorgement starts to develop, do something to relieve it right away. Use cold packs between feedings (a disposable diaper filled with water and frozen works well, or a bag of frozen peas), nurse baby frequently, and express some milk to soften areola if it is too firm for baby to latch onto. Do not let over 3-4 hours go between feeds until initial engorgement goes away.
Delay the use of pacifiers and bottles until breastfeeding is firmly established, or at least until 3-4 weeks. Avoid supplementing with formula unless medically indicated. Supplementing with formula may decrease your milk supply and may increase your baby’s risks to allergy and illness.
Don't hesitate to ask for help: You can contact the Breastfeeding Warm-line at the Birthing Center 24 hours a day at 603-448-7411 for breastfeeding support, or to set up an appointment with our Lactation Consultant. Another resource includes your local La Leche League Leaders, who provide support and local group meetings. To find one, call 1-800-525-3243.
The Birthing Center at APD is a Baby-Friendly Hospital with one of the top rates of patient satisfaction in the nation.