According to experts, breastmilk is the best food for your baby. Breast milk has the necessary nutrients (proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, enzymes) your baby needs to grow for the first six months of his life. As your baby grows, the breastmilk composition also changes to meet his needs. Breastmilk has many benefits for your baby.

  • It provides antibodies to protect the baby against infections. When you have been exposed to bacteria, viruses, or you get vaccines; your body produces antibodies that passed through breast milk. These antibodies help boost the baby’s immunity against common infections such as ear infections, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea.
  • Breastmilk also has a significant impact on baby brain development and promotes healthy weight gain.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial for you, mama!

  • It reduces the risk of bleeding after delivery and helps your uterus to return to its normal size.
  • A mother who breastfeeds also loses weight faster after childbirth.
  • Research has shown that breastfeeding is linked to a significant decrease in the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer(1,2).

Breastfeeding also increases the bonding between the mother and the baby.

Despite all its benefits, breastfeeding has a lot of challenges. One reason why many moms give up on breastfeeding is that it can be demanding physically and emotionally. So it is essential to take care of yourself while you are breastfeeding. The following tips will help you to make your breastfeeding experience more enjoyable.

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1-Manage your expectations.

For a first-time mom, it can take some time for your milk supply to establish. Don’t worry much if you don’t have enough milk. You will also need some time to adjust to your new role. It doesn’t come naturally. It is a skill that you and your baby will master after 2- 3 weeks. But it requires patience and practice.

Related: 5 Essential Things You Need To Know About Postpartum

2- Seek help from a lactation consultant

The early weeks of breastfeeding can be challenging, especially if it is your first baby. A US study of 532 first-time mums found that 92% reported breastfeeding challenges by day three of postpartum. (3)
A lot of questioning often marks the early days of breastfeeding:
Is breastfeeding supposed to hurt?
Is my baby getting enough breastmilk?
What is the right position to breastfeed?
What should I eat to increase my milk supply?
All these worries can lead to a lot of anxiety, so it is essential to ask for help. A lactation consultant can guide you to achieve successful and stress-free breastfeeding. Don’t hesitate to see one.

3- Don’t ignore your sore nipples

In the early days of breastfeeding, your nipples can be very sensitive. Many women experience some nipple soreness. This is temporary and should resolve within a few days. In the meantime, you can use some organic nipple cream to ease the discomfort. If the soreness persists, you might look at your baby’s latch or position because it can be painful when your baby is not latched correctly to your breast. A lactation consultant can help you find the proper positioning for your baby.

4- Avoid breast engorgement

When you produce more milk than your baby use, it can lead to breast engorgement. Breast engorgement is when your breast is overfull of milk. Your breast may be heavy, swollen, and painful. If your breast is often engorged, it may lead to mastitis, which is a breast infection.
To avoid engorgement :

  • try not to skip feeding
  • if your breast is not emptied after feeding or your baby is sleeping when your breast is full, use a breast pump to empty your breast

You can manage the breast engorgement by:

  • using a warm compress or taking a warm bath to encourage the milk to come down
  • nursing as long as your baby wants
  • massaging your breast when you are feeding your baby

5- Stay hydrated

Breast milk is about 90% of water, and that water comes from you. So it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. An easy way to do this is having a glass of water before or after every feeding. When you are breastfeeding, you will be thirstier than usual. Drinking whenever you are thirsty will help you to stay hydrated. You can also eat water-rich fruits and veggies.

6- Eat well

You don’t need to have a special diet during breastfeeding, but you need to feed yourself consistently. You will need more calories to meet your nutritional needs. The quality of your breastmilk also depends on what you eat. It’s essential to have a balanced diet. Try to eat a variety of healthy and nutrient-rich foods. It is also recommended to limit alcohol and caffeine intake and wait at least 2 hours to breastfeed after alcohol or caffeine consumption.

7- Get some rest

It is essential to get some sleep and rest when you are breastfeeding. It will help you to keep up your energy and your milk production. But with a newborn, it is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you get more rest:

  • Try to nap when your baby is sleeping
  • Pump and store some breast milk so that your partner can feed the baby while you sleep
  • Ask for help from a friend or relative with the house chores so you can rest.

8- Choose the right nursing bra

Nursing bras make nursing easier. You won’t have to worry about a leaking breast, which tends to happen a lot in the early weeks of breastfeeding. Make sure the bra is well fitted and comfortable. If your bra is too tight, it will put pressure on your breast and may cause soreness.

If you usually don’t wear a bra, but you’re worried about your breasts leaking overnight, you can opt for a maternity tank that can hold nursing pads in place.

Related:5 Things To Know About Sex After Birth

9-Listen to music while breastfeeding.

There is scientific evidence to support that music has a positive effect on breastfeeding. Researchers have found that music can help to reduce stress and anxiety, thereby increasing breastmilk production (4)
While Listening to music during breastfeeding enables you to relax, it also soothes your baby, especially when he is trying to fall asleep. The kind of music to play is really up to you. As long as it has a relaxing melody and is not too loud, it will work perfectly.

References

1-https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2763398
2- https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2802%2909454-0/fulltext
3-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784292/
4- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437063/

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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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