Breastfeeding tips


Tips for Successful Breastfeeding: Preparation, Communication are Key

Baptist Health Homestead Hospital

With proven health benefits for mother and baby, there’s no question that breastfeeding is ideal. Yet for many women, the breastfeeding journey can be challenging. Before you throw in the towel, you should know that there is help available.

World Breast Feeding Week, Aug. 1-7, highlights the importance of breastfeeding in maternal and global health. Celebrated in more than 120 countries, the awareness week focuses on encouraging breastfeeding and advocating for family-friendly policies across the globe.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), breast milk is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of a growing baby and provides significant health benefits for both mother and baby. Infants who are breastfed have a reduced risk of conditions such as asthma and ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer.

One of the most common questions breastfeeding mothers have is if their milk supply is adequate for their baby. “Oftentimes, moms think they don’t have enough milk, but they do,” said lactation consultant Carey Acosta, R.N., from Baptist Health Homestead Hospital. “They are uneasy, especially at first, because they can’t see how much they are feeding their baby. The baby and body know what to do and trusting the process will settle the nerves. Moms who are concerned about not producing enough milk should speak with their lactation consultant or doctor.

According to Ms. Acosta, preparation and communication are key to successful breast feeding. “It is so important for moms to discuss their feeding plan with their doctor, hospital and family,” she explained. “At Baptist Health, moms can take a breastfeeding class before delivery, which will make them more comfortable as they navigate the first days, and arrange in advance to obtain an electronic breast pump. Most insurance companies will cover this cost.”

Here are some other tips for successful breast feeding:

  • Ask for uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact as soon as the baby is born. 
  • If you experience pain, ask for a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding should not hurt; sometimes, something as simple as changing a position can make all the difference. 
  • Drink water. Every time you breastfeed, have a glass of water.
  • Don't stress over milk production. You should only have colostrum the first few days. A mother's second milk comes in about day three.
  • Find a comfortable position for you and your baby, and then try and relax.
  • When shopping for nursing bras, buy one size up. Also, make sure your bra is underwire-free.
  • Feed on demand. A baby should feed about 10-12 times in 24 hours, but the schedule is not exact. It does not mean they will feed every 3 hours.
  • Look for your baby's hunger cues, such as rooting, putting their hands in their mouth or sticking out their tongue. This is when you should latch your baby onto the breast. Crying is a late hunger cue, making it more challenging to get the baby to latch.

“Moms need to remember it is okay to have questions or worries,” said Ms. Acosta.

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