Moms armed with current breastfeeding information and support from their team have an easier time overcoming breastfeeding difficulties.
New mothers “will need to rely on that support during the challenging days,” said Nicole Hackman, M.D., a pediatrician and medical director for lactation services at Penn State Children’s Hospital, in Hershey, in a hospital news release.
Pregnant women should talk to their partners and family about their breastfeeding goals and why they’re important.
Dr. Hackman also offered these tips:
- It’s important for the mother and baby to have skin-to-skin contact for the first hour after birth. “Not only does that regulate the baby’s heart rate, temperature and glucose level, but it can help the baby latch on and have the first breastfeeding session,” she said.
- It’s also a good idea to limit visitors during a baby’s first week of life. This gives mom and baby private time to bond and learn to breastfeed. It also gives mom a chance to rest when her baby sleeps.
- Try to breastfeed whenever the baby is awake during the first week. “Because breast milk volume is all about supply and demand, the more demand a baby puts on mom, the more her supply will increase,” Dr. Hackman said.
- Pumping breast milk is fine if that’s what the mother prefers, Dr. Hackman said. “Their babies can still reap the benefits of mother’s milk. It contains antibodies that help babies fight off germs.” Just keep in mind that babies that have been given a bottle or pacifier sometimes need to be retaught to latch comfortably at the breast.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Lactation consultants can help mothers achieve pain-free breastfeeding. “There may be initial discomfort, but something isn’t right if there is pain throughout the feeding session,” Dr. Hackman said. “Nipple pain is not normal.”