10 Secrets From a Lactation Consultant

newborn nursingThe success of breastfeeding is often a result of support -- from your partner, your family, other nursing moms, La Leche League meetings, and even the help of a lactation consultant. What we should remember, especially new moms, is that breastfeeding doesn't always come easy to everyone and there is help out there for you.

Freda Rosenfeld is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who has helped many, many moms in NYC have success at breastfeeding. Her knowledge is invaluable and her support has allowed moms to overcome issues they have with nursing. She didn't get the nickname "the breast whisperer" for nothing. Lucky for us, Rosenfeld shared her 10 secrets to help you with breastfeeding success.

  1. Start nursing right after the baby is born, right on the delivery bed, and get help from the nurses if need be.
  2. Get help before it's too painful.
  3. Nap one time a day when the baby naps.
  4. Support/hold your breasts in the first weeks to ensure a deep latch.
  5. Always rotate what breast you start nursing on first.
  6. Don't feed on one breast a feed until you know the baby is gaining weight and you have enough milk in each breast to feed that way -- not every mom can feed with one breast a feed and that's okay.
  7. Protect your nipples by hydrating them a few times a day. Olive oil is just fine for this.
  8. Be sure to eat and drink properly. This isn't about making enough milk; it's about feeling healthy and strong.
  9. Be sure that the baby's lips are wide and flanged out while she is nursing.
  10. Enjoy the baby!

Rosenfeld is right -- it's so easy to get caught up in breastfeeding challenges that you forget to enjoy your newborn. One thing the act of breastfeeding doesn't need is stress, enjoying your baby and being in the moment of motherhood can help eliminate any stress you have ... even if your stress is from baby not latching on well. Stress can hinder production, so to avoid, trust yourself, trust your body, trust that baby will get that latch right and reach out to an IBCLC for help.

Avoid watching the clock when nursing. Some babies will nurse for 15 minutes, others for 40. Each baby is different. You will know when baby is full, just like you will know when baby is hungry again. Wet and dirty diapers will tell you baby is eating enough, not the clock.

It's also important to bring baby to breast; don't bring breast to baby, meaning make sure you are comfortable so baby will be comfortable, too. You don't want to end up with bad posture or an achy back.

Drinking a full glass of water while nursing works very well for me. Just make a habit of pouring yourself a glass before you nurse. It helps me stay hydrated and I use the time that I nurse my twins to de-compress, be in the moment, and bond with my babies. The first thing I want to do when I get home from work is to nurse -- it seems to melt any tension away from the endorphins released. That's something great to think about with your long-term breastfeeding goals as well. Remember, the early days can be the toughest, but it will get easy as both you and your body get to know each other outside the womb. Soon you'll both be pros!

Check out our Breastfeeding 101 series for more help!


What breastfeeding challenges have you overcome with the help of others?

Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr

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