Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

Live Healthy

For new moms, the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be confusing and frustrating.

“I always reassure women that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s easy; learning how to breastfeed is like learning any other new skill­­­­ – it takes time, practice and patience,” says Aly Certo, a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

“The rewards of breastfeeding far outweigh the challenges of breastfeeding,” adds Kandi Bloss, a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant and certified lactation counselor at Wilcox Medical Center.

“Breastfeeding creates a super immune system for baby, helps bonding, and stabilizes baby and mom,” Bloss says.

Here, Certo and Bloss recommend some helpful tips so patients can feel confident with breastfeeding a newborn baby:

A newborn does not need a lot.

  • When a baby is born, the mother produces a nutrient-rich substance called colostrum, a thick, yellow substance that is produced in small quantities.
  • A newborn does not need a large volume of milk, as his or her stomach is only about the size of a shooter marble (5-7 ml).  The colostrum is ideal for a baby both in amount and in the nutrition it provides.
  • It is important to know that a newborn’s stomach changes in the first 10 days of life along, with the mother’s breast milk.

Pay attention to cues.

  • When a newborn is hungry, he may give signals like rooting (when a baby turns his head toward Mom and opens his mouth), sucking on hands, or making licking or smacking sounds.
  • It is important for a mother to keep her newborn close in order to recognize and become familiar with these cues.
  • It is normal for babies to show these cues directly after a feeding.
  • No matter how long it has been since the last feeding, a mother should always feed when a baby shows these cues.

Keep track of how many times a baby eats.

  • The best way to gauge if a baby is getting enough nutrition is by tracking how many times a baby feeds in a 24-hour time period.
  • A healthy number of feedings is between 8-12 times in 24 hours. Cluster feeding, or feedings that are closely spaced, are common in a baby’s second day of life and may continue for the next several weeks.
  • Paying attention to a baby’s urine and stool output is a way to track that baby is receiving enough nutrition.

Latching on correctly takes practice.

  • To prevent painful or sore nipples, position baby correctly for latching.
  • The best way to breastfeed is to place baby’s mouth deep on the breast, with the mouth on the areola and not on the nipple.

Breastfeeding moms should always feel comfortable asking for help and asking questions of their health care provider.

“Breastfeeding is not always easy at first; some women really struggle,” says Bloss, noting that new moms should always feel comfortable asking for help and asking questions of their health care provider should they have difficulties breastfeeding or are unable to breastfeed. 

“It is best to seek support and help from other peers or a lactation consultant,” Bloss says. “Motherhood is rewarding, hard work, and stressful at times. Each woman has to do what works for them to enjoy their baby.”

Both Kapiolani and Wilcox offer breastfeeding support services and consultations in order to promote successful breastfeeding.

Published on: May 14, 2015