If you’re a new mother learning the ins and outs of breastfeeding, you don’t have to go it alone. Remember, breastfeeding is a learned skill, and no one expects you to get the hang of it immediately. Here are five helpful breastfeeding tips from the lactation specialists at Woodburn Pediatrics.

Remember the Benefits

At times, breastfeeding can feel overwhelming, but by reminding yourself of the benefits, you can help create more positivity around nursing. In addition to lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, breastfeeding can burn up to 600 extra calories a day. In fact, many women lose their baby weight faster when they’re breastfeeding. It’s also more affordable than formula, and it can even help prevent postpartum depression.

Pay Attention to Positioning

Finding the right breastfeeding positions can make all the difference. You’ll want to make sure your stomachs touch, as this prevents the baby from having to turn their head to latch. Point your nipple toward their nose, not the mouth, as this encourages the baby to lift their head, open their mouth wide, and successfully latch. You might also consider making sure your baby’s feet are touching something, whether it be your own leg or a pillow, which can make them feel more secure for their feeding.

Prevent Blocked Ducts

If you’re experiencing pain during breastfeeding, it can be hard to keep going. Plugged ducts (mastitis) are the main cause of breast pain for nursing mothers, and by working to prevent mastitis, you can enhance your nursing experience. Some common causes of plugged ducts are poorly fitting bras, stomach sleeping, and too much milk. If you can, try wearing well-fitted bras or only wearing one when needed, sleeping on your back or side, and pumping to keep milk flowing when there’s a longer than usual break between nursing.

Take Care of Yourself

To properly take care of your baby, you’ll need to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re well hydrated. You may need more water than usual while you’re breastfeeding, and many mothers find sipping on water during nursing to be helpful. You also need to make sure you’re eating nutrient-rich meals and that you’re getting enough calories to support you and the baby.

Ask for Help

You don’t have to go through this experience alone. Especially if you’re a first-time mother, we recommend consulting a lactation specialist before birth so you can get personalized advice before moving forward. At Woodburn Pediatrics, our lactation specialists can help with everything from breastfeeding techniques to treating breast infections and developing breastfeeding plans for babies with heart conditions, cleft palates, or other conditions that might influence nursing. Give us a call at 503.981.5348 to make an appointment today.