By Dr. Julie Capiola, Premier Pediatrics NYC and Brooklyn
The first month, particularly the first week, is crucial for the establishment of breastfeeding. As my colleague Dr. Deena Blanchard shared with Huffington post, the struggle is real! Even for us docs!
If I had to share my top 5 best tips for surviving the first month of breastfeeding, I would say:
1) After the first few days in the hospital, it is important to breastfeed on cue. This means if the baby starts rooting or if Mom’s breasts feel full or engorged, put the baby to breast. Don’t wait for the baby to cry as it may be more of a struggle to latch a crying baby!
2) Discomfort is normal with the initial latch, but it should ease after a few moments. If there is severe pain or pain that does not subside quickly, there is may be a problem with the latch, and I recommend seeing the pediatrician or contacting an experienced lactation consultant for advice and guidance. The sooner a latch problem is addressed, the easier it is to avoid nipple damage and further pain.
3) The use of a very supportive breastfeeding pillow such as My Brest friend is invaluable. Utilizing the pillow to fully support the weight of the baby allows Mom to focus on proper positioning and therefore a better latch. It also helps prevent neck and back pain for a recovering Mom!
4) After breastfeeding, allow breasts to air dry, manually express a little milk and allow it to sit on the nipples. Breastmilk has amazing antimicrobial properties that are better than any artificial ointment at preventing infection and providing relief. Also breast shells for sore nipples can allow for air flow around the nipple when Mom is not nursing if air drying is not an option!
5) When a baby is sleepy at the breast, hold the whole breast and actively massage toward the nipple since this will stimulate the baby to nurse more and help with milk supply and drainage.
Dr. Julie Capiola, Premier Pediatrics NYC and Brooklyn is an expert at The First Month Program.
The First Month Program provides practical solutions to common early parenting challenges that focuses on three areas and assembled an exceptional team of obstetricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, midwives, doulas, and lactation consultations to provide the most comprehensive care possible. To find out more go here: http://thefirstmonth.org