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World Breastfeeding Week

IU Health Spotlight: Five Tips to Improve Your Breastfeeding Experience

World Breastfeeding Week

Five Tips to Improve Your Breastfeeding Experience

Writer / Jan Record, RN and Lactation Consultant at IU Health West Hospital
Photography Provided

World Breastfeeding Week takes place annually during the first week of August, and is an opportunity to bring discussions about breastfeeding to the forefront of people’s minds. We’ve all heard that breastfeeding is advantageous for both babies and moms. From helping to boost a baby’s immune system to creating a strong emotional bond, there are plenty of benefits to consider. However, breastfeeding, like learning any new skill, can take time and patience, especially in the beginning.

World Breastfeeding Week

Ask for help.

Your hospital’s lactation consultants and maternity nurses are there to support and help you through labor and your breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally, and seeking help right away from lactation experts is a good way to ensure both you and your baby get started on a good path. Following your stay in the hospital, look for local breastfeeding support groups with lactation specialists.

Postpone pacifiers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting three to four weeks after birth to introduce a pacifier. This will help you and your baby establish a good breastfeeding routine. After the first month, pacifiers are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding.

Get comfortable together.

Make sure your arms and your baby are supported during feedings. Use pillows to support your arms and make yourself comfortable. Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth, and as much as possible during the first few weeks, creates an emotional bond that helps with breastfeeding success. Remember, you and your baby are learning about this process together.

Take care of your breasts.

The skin of your breasts is very delicate and sensitive. Proper latch is important in preventing nipple trauma and soreness. Avoid using soap on your nipples, to prevent dryness and irritation. Putting a drop of your colostrum or milk onto your nipples after nursing will also help to prevent dryness. You can also use a medical-grade lanolin. If your baby has a little trouble mastering the skill of latching at first, hydrogel pads are also great for soothing sore nipples. Keep trying – it will get easier with practice.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

While taking care of your baby, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and resting as much as possible will help keep your energy up.

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