Time for a reality check first - Motherhood is no joke! It is a struggling, tough phase for almost every other new mom. Because of the lack of experience, many mothers consider that they are just not giving their best and despite giving all their efforts, they are greatly lacking on their part.
Where any of this isn’t true, the only thing that matters for a new mom is - no matter how many kids she has, her experience with each kid is going to be an entirely different one.
Just because other moms have so much to tell you about how perfectly experienced and ‘used to’ they have become with their kids and their tantrums does not imply that you are a failure. You should always remember that every child and every Mom is different and therefore, different strategies and tricks work for every person in this world.
Breastfeeding is one of such looming ‘issues’ that can often frustrate new mothers beyond their capacity.
The frequency of feeds, the time between feeds, the correct position to facilitate not just the baby but your aching back as well - there seem to be way too many issues to take care of!
Therefore, compiled here are 10 awesome and life-saving tips that are definitely going to help the struggling moms with their respective breastfeeding blues:
Tip 1: Consider It A Bonding Time and Not a Duty
There are several new moms, who, in their attempt to stay focused on their baby’s well-being and timely diet routines, often tend to forget that this intimate time with their baby could be a very bright opportunity for bonding with them.
Therefore, new moms should do nothing but relax and try to make the most of this time because breastfeeding, in general, has been seen to release happy hormones in the mothers which relaxes them and makes them feel less stressed.
Tip 2: Prioritize Comfort Over Anything
New moms get confused regarding which position to opt for. If they go for a lying down position, then the baby somehow gets in a compromised position, or if they go for a normal sitting (and that too, without any back support!), then the poor moms are bound to experience pain in their back, shoulders, or arms.
Therefore, a very good way to avoid all of this is to opt either for a lying position or a supported, sitting one. In both cases, the baby should be at a level with the breast to avoid any disturbance in their posture. This way not only would you find it easier to feed your little one but your little one too would no longer have to squirm and move around to find the perfect spot.
Tip 3: Do Not Forget Skin Care
We are not talking about skincare in general, but skin care concerning your breast. When a mom is actively breastfeeding her child, the breasts tend to get affected externally due to several reasons. They might become dry, cracked, chapped, or itchy. This is uncomfortable for both the baby and the mom.
So, it is recommended that moms moisturize and cleanse their breasts properly. Appropriate nursing bras of good quality should be used to avoid triggering allergies and other issues.
Tip 4: Don’t Overfeed
Just because some Aunt of yours told you that she fed her baby for 20 minutes straight does not mean that you MUST also do the same with your baby. In this case, babies are the maestros. Listen and observe their actions for when they ‘call for feeding’. This could be any action, like sucking on their thumb continuously, getting agitated for no reason, and not sleeping even when they appear to be sleepy. For every baby, there is a different ‘call’. Once you learn to predict it, you will eventually know when the feeding time is.
Tip 5: Steer Clear from Engorgement
For new, struggling moms, who forget how often they are supposed to feed their infants, engorgement could be an uncomfortable reminder. It occurs when the breasts are ‘packed’ with more milk than the baby’s consumption. This accumulation leads to a painful situation for the new moms.
To avoid this, new moms are encouraged to let down now and then until their baby picks and sets up a pace for themselves. In case of engorgement due to any other reason, warm compresses and gentle massage helps resolve the issue.
Step 6: Feed Yourself First
Because you are the source of nourishment for your child, you must be well-fed too. Many new moms, during their struggle with motherhood, ignore their diet or stick to a very haphazard eating routine. This is wrong and can affect the baby’s health too.
For this reason, it is recommended that a new nursing mother should take her well-balanced and proper meals on time.
Step 7: Milk Supply Is Nothing to Worry About
Many people tend to confuse new moms by telling them that their milk supply should be a constant and continuous one. This is no hard and fast rule. Every new mother’s supply varies due to several different reasons.
Therefore, worrying over the fact that you aren’t producing enough milk or that you are depriving your child are mere misconceptions and nothing else. If the baby is happy and not throwing tantrums, then why should you?
Tip 8: Leaks are Normal
It is okay to experience leaks now and then. In contrast to the former point, this does not imply that you are over-producing milk. In fact, this just shows that your body is adjusting to the new change and is taking its time in understanding your baby’s demands and your body’s chemistry in accordance with that.
While this may take its time to go, you can always opt to keep nursing pads in your bra to avoid embarrassment in the public.
Tip 9: Unequal Breast Sizes are Normal
Some women notice that their breasts, which were otherwise normal in size have become unequal after they started breastfeeding their babies. This is normal and occurs when a new mom finds it convenient to feed her baby from one breast and so, does not change the latching position of the baby as frequently as she should. This results in an equal appearance of either breast and is easily avoided by frequently changing the baby’s position from one breast to the other while feeding.
Tip 10: Take One Day at a Time
And at the end of it all, do not fret yourself. There is no harm in making mistakes or failing to do things perfectly. You should feel honored to become a mother and so, should enjoy your time bonding with your baby and making the most of these early motherhood days.
Just remember that no mother was born perfect, it was only practice and experience that made mothers become our saviors ultimately! So there is absolutely no need for weighing yourself down.
These aching, dry breasts and awkward postures that you have to lie or sit in will all pass one day and you would then finally realize how worthy it was when you will see your little one all grown up one day.
- Tedder J. (2015). The Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success: Teaching Child Development to Extend Breastfeeding Duration. The Journal of perinatal education, 24(4), 239–248. https://doi.org/10.1891/1058-1243.24.4.239