6 Tips for Breastfeeding Comfort
We are happy to share Laura Keegan’s sage advice for breastfeeding. A Family Nurse Practitioner, health educator and speaker, mother of four and author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy, she has a unique perspective on successful breastfeeding. We love her book’s straightforward, easy to follow advice and beautiful photos. We asked Laura Keegan, to share her 6 Tips for Breastfeeding Comfort:
6 Tips for Breastfeeding Comfort:
1) Allow for frequent opportunities to feed comfortably the first couple days of your baby’s life. Even if the feeds are brief, it will take time, at first, to figure out how to get comfortable each time you feed. Since the early milk is calorie rich colostrum, the baby does not need a lot of volume, giving you time to learn and practice.
2) Spend time skin-to-skin with your baby during and between feeds. Skin-to-skin contact can helpful to calm baby and find a comfy position for breastfeeding. Whether you baby is born vaginally or by Cesarean, skin-to-skin contact can begin at birth unless there is a medical reason that prevents it.
3) Calm your baby when ready to feed with your voice and your touch.
4) Accept help on the home front - a mom breastfeeding her newborn is usually caring for, touching and holding, or close to her baby 24/7. Let family and friends help with household duties and childcare for 6 weeks or at least until you feel breastfeeding is well established. If problems arise with breastfeeding, seek help from a lactation consultant.
5) Minimize friction Keep in mind that unlike bottle-feeding, it is MOST comfortable for you and your baby if the baby does NOT center his mouth over the nipple when he breastfeeds. Nipple pain and damage are best prevented if your baby’s nose or upper lip is in line with the nipple so that when he opens his mouth to feed, his chin touches the breast first, and the nipple points to and ends up deep in the roof of the baby’s mouth. The nipple will slip just under his upper lip as he draws the breast in to the space in the roof of his mouth where potentially painful friction on the nipple is minimized. (If you experience any nipple soreness or damage, applying a cream with calendula in it can be helpful in addition to getting as comfortable a feed as possible.)
6) Babies search by touch. Learn what to expect as a baby searches for and takes the breast. Babies search for the breast by touch not by sight and often bob their heads. They may cry when their face momentarily loses contact with mom. Moms often misinterpret the head movement and crying as rejection of the breast when these behaviors actually are from a searching for the breast. Also, keep in mind that the goal is for the baby to get as deep a mouthful of breast as possible. This is achieved when both you and baby are comfortable and fully supported; and your baby is given room to root and tilt his head back to get a mouthful of breast. Tilting his head back when he opens his mouth creates more open space for the breast deep in his mouth.