While the first few days after giving birth are no doubt special, the physical pain you endure during labor can take quite the toll on a new mom…and that is just the physical pain. Your hormones are also going crazy, which can put you on an emotional rollercoaster like you’ve never been on before. Being able to bond with this little person who has been inside you for almost a year and stare at their itty bitty toes and fingers can certainly help ease the struggle, but you will be easily reminded that the work is not over! Check out some useful tips below to help get you and your mini-me in a breastfeeding groove.
Try to get as much skin-to-skin contact as possible with your newborn and as quickly as possible after birth. Most believe skin-to-skin contact with baby has many great benefits, one of which being that it helps promote breastfeeding. You’ll want to try to get baby on the nipple within 30 minutes of birth to help jump-start a successful breastfeeding journey. Wondering what that thick, yellow, creamy stuff is coming out of your nipples? That’s the good stuff, known as colostrum. Some women will notice colostrum leaking out of their breasts in their last trimester, while others won’t have it come in until after the baby comes. Colostrum is full of protein and it's the ideal meal for your little angel.
It’s go time! Your baby will probably want to be on the breast at least eight times in a 24-hour period. It may be more likely that you’re feeding every hour to two hours. Feeling tired may be an understatement. Exhausted is a much better word to describe your mindset after hours of no sleep, constant visits from nurses and doctors, and trying to figure out how to get your new baby to latch on to your breast correctly. However, this too shall pass. Keep it up and you and your baby will start to harmonize when it comes to breastfeeding.
Your milk has arrived! If you haven’t already, see if your insurance will cover a free breast pump through insurance. If you’re engorged, pumping can help relieve the pain, along with some gel pads and handy dandy lanolin. Also, invest in a good nursing bra and a lot of nursing pads. Leaking is inevitable. The biggest tip a new mom can take when trying to make it through the first couple of days of breastfeeding is to be easy on yourself. Breastfeeding is one of the hardest jobs a woman does in her life but the nutritional benefits are well worth it for many. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your hospital’s lactation department and if you need a break from it, be sure to let your partner or a family member hold the baby while you take a few minutes to yourself. Remember — you can do it, mama!