Breastfeeding is hard work. Both the mother and baby can benefit from breastfeeding, but it does not come easy. There is a load of information one needs to pay attention too. Which includes latching, mastitis, pacifiers and bottles. But once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding is a smooth sailing process. 

TC46 got in touch with Certified Lactation Consultant Arushi Agrawal. Here, she shares 9 tips and tricks on how to improve breastfeeding for new mothers.

1.The correct latch will provide a painless breastfeeding experience

Breastfeeding is never painful. It is your body’s way to tell you that something is not right. Correcting your latch is the most effective way to ease the pain, as a shallow latch is the most common reason for painful breastfeeding in the beginning.

2. Holding the baby right is the first step to getting a deeper latch 

Holding the baby correctly is the first step to get a deep latch. If the baby has the right access to the breast, then the latch is deep on its own. Aim to get your baby’s lower lip away from the base of your nipple and turn lips outward like a fish. Your baby should lead into the breast with chin first and then latch onto your breast. The baby’s tongue should be extended, and the breast should fill his mouth.

3. Co-sleeping can help the mommy and baby sleep better

Once you are confident with breastfeeding, then lying down makes breastfeeding at night very easy. When you are sleeping with your baby, both the mother and the baby sleep better. There is longevity in your breastfeeding journey. Also, a baby who is close to the mother is proven to be more emotionally stable as a human being.

4. Eating the right food can help increase the milk supply

The most common food with boosts milk supply is cumin (jeera), fennel seeds (saunf), fenugreek (methi) and oats. But remember, eating right will not help in boosting supply alone. Make sure your position and latch are good, and you’re feeding the baby on demand and not looking at the clock. Frequent milk removal is the key to a good milk supply.

5. Try the block-feeding method to reduce milk supply

It takes 40 days for the body to calibrate the milk supply as per the baby’s demand, so please hang in there and trust your body. To deal with excessive milk supply mothers are advised to express some milk till they start to feel comfortable. This step is important to avoid pain in the breast.

Block feeding is a method that can help reduce milk supply in just a few days:

  • Choose a time frame, usually from 3 to 4 hours, and feed your baby from only one breast during that time
  • Then change to the other breast for the same time period
  • Continue this pattern for a few days

6. Avoid these foods during breastfeeding

The following food should be avoided when breastfeeding:

1.Caffeine intake should be limited. To 300 mg per day or less to prevent irritability and disrupted sleep patterns in your infant.

2. Certain fishes like shark fish are high in mercury should be avoided as it can affect the baby’s growth and development.

3.Alcohol consumption too had to be limited to a glass or 2 for women who are breastfeeding. For mothers with babies, less than a month, or sick infants, alcohol should be completely avoided. Alcohol can have some long term effects on the baby and also affect the mothers’ milk supply.

4.Some of the most common allergens are dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. These foods can cause discomfort to the baby, so the mother should limit its intake. Also, its effects vary from one mom-baby dyad to another hence mothers’ should be careful when eating these foods.

7. It’s advisable to continue breastfeeding even if you have mastitis 

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can be caused by obstruction, infection or allergy. Mastitis is most common in the first 2-3 weeks but can occur at any stage of lactation. Mastitis may come on abruptly and usually affects only one breast. Do not decrease or stop nursing when you have a plugged duct or mastitis, as this increases the risk of complications. Nurse the child frequently and make sure the breasts are emptied thoroughly. If the baby is not feeding, the mother should pump the milk.

8. Avoid introducing pacifiers and feeding bottles for the first 40 days

Any artificial nipple should be avoided till breastfeeding is not established as it can cause nipple confusion. Nipple confusion is when a breastfeeding baby is having trouble latching and breastfeeding effectively after being fed with a bottle. For the first 40 days, at least the baby should not be offered a pacifier or feeding bottle until medically advised.

9. 3 vital tools for breastfeeding every new mom should know

3 important factors that take you a long way in your breastfeeding journey are: 

1. Write information: In this era of information overload, mothers tend to get confused with what to follow and what to believe. Hence, trusting your instincts, taking professional advice and reading books than googling can take mothers a long way. Not just in breastfeeding but in motherhood too.

2. Consistency in your effort: Breastfeeding is all about being consistent with your efforts, and if your start has not been very good, then the mothers tend to give up soon. But if you consistently keep making efforts every day in the right direction, you will be surprised by the results.

3. Strong peer group to support you:  The new research states that a positive peer group and a supportive family has resulted in longer breastfeeding duration. A strong peer group can make your journey enjoyable as you feel that they are not alone in this and they get answers to all their questions.

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