- Put baby on the breast often. Isaac's birth was textbook. Everything went very smoothly. So I was able to do skin to skin with him and put him on the breast immediately. I kept him on the breast for about an hour. After that I put him on the breast every 2-3 hours until my milk came in. Keeping baby on the breast often will help your milk come in quicker and help give with a good supply. The more you nurse the more milk your body will make. At least in most cases.
- Colostrum is all baby needs. Those first few days you're not going to have milk but colostrum. You may feel like your baby isn't getting enough but the colostrum is really all your baby needs until your milk comes in. My milk didn't come in until 2.5 days after Noah was born and that first night home (2 days after he was born) he was a hungry little guy. But instead of just keeping him on the breast, I got worried and we ended up giving him formula. My milk came in the very next morning.
- Nipple Butter and Air are your best friends. You will hear a lot that if there is pain something is not right. They are wrong. Your nipples go from hardly every being touched to being sucked on nearly every hour by a hungry little newborn. It's going to hurt until your nipples toughen up. Now don't get me wrong, if there is pain the entire time you are nursing then it could be a bad latch or some other problem. But it's pretty normal to feel pain the first 30 seconds to a minute after baby latches. That is where nipple butter and air come in. Nipple butter is awesome because it soothes and protects sore nipples and it's safe for baby to ingest so you can wear it on your nipples pretty much 24/7. Also, air is a huge help when it comes to letting your nipples heal. I remember take a shower and walking around topless the entire time I was putting on my makeup and drying my hair so that my nipples could get some fresh air. They would feel a million times better afterward and healed quickly after I started doing that!
- Have support if possible. Those first few weeks are so important in establishing a good supply and learning to breastfeed both for you and the baby so it's good to have a supportive partner, family member, or friend who can help out with other things. The housework can be let go. I mean you just had a baby! If you have other kids, let that supporting person help take care of them and do things with them. Let that support bring you food or cook dinner or whatever! I know it feels like forever when it's happening but you'll be missing those days when you just got to sit and cuddle and nurse your baby.
- Drink and eat a lot!! When I started nursing I was always SO hungry and thirsty! But that's normal and it's good to eat and drink a lot! It will help you feel more energized and it is also really good for your milk supply. Make sure you drink as much water as you possibly can and eat when you are hungry! While you are nursing have some light snacks within arms reach. And always have a water bottle nearby!
These are my big tips for nursing a newborn! Those first few weeks are the hardest and if you can get through that you can do it! A lot of women start but don't continue because I don't think they realize what it takes to keep it up! It's a lot of work but it's so very worth it!
What tips do YOU have for new moms who are or will be nursing a newborn?