The Best Breastfeeding Advice: Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms From an Obstetrician & Maternal Health Expert by Dr. Alan Lindemann
Mom, it's important to recognize that if you are worried or distressed – if you think you won't be able to nurse your baby – you are more likely to struggle. If you have confidence that you can nurse your baby, the better your chances of success.
Here are my top, key tips for new moms on breastfeeding:
- Tips for Latching: Today, with shorter hospital stays, families are often sent home before latching is established. For breastfeeding to work, about 2.5 centimeters of the nipple and areola must be in the baby's mouth in order to reach the baby's soft palate, which is where normal suction occurs. This way, the ducts in the areolas also get drained, making mastitis and plugged ducts less likely. To make latching easier, put the baby's bottom lip at the bottom of your areola and then put your nipple to the baby's lips.
- When to Nurse: Feed your baby often enough that it gains 5 to 7 ounces a week. Younger babies will eat more often and take less milk at each feeding. Whenever your baby cries it is a good time to offer the breast. In my experience, 95 percent of crying babies are hungry. I would recommend against waking your baby for feeding. However, there is one very important exception: if your baby is small and nurses every two to three hours throughout the day and night. In that case, your baby is unlikely to go four or five hours without waking up to nurse. Wake your baby after four or five hours to be sure they are OK.
- Taking Medications While Breastfeeding: Whether or not it’s safe to take medication while breastfeeding depends upon the medication you’re talking about. You may safely take: prenatal iron and vitamins, most over-the-counter medications, Tylenol, antibiotics such as erythromycin or gentamicin, and thyroid replacement medications. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any other medications while breastfeeding.
- How to Store Your Milk: Using a breast pump? Fresh breast milk can be kept up to four hours at room temperature (77 degrees F), up to four days in the refrigerator (40 degrees F) and as long as six to 12 months in the freezer (0 degrees F). Any leftover milk from feeding should be used to feed the baby within two hours. Frozen breast milk thawed should be used within one to two hours and stored in the refrigerator for up to one day. Never refreeze it.
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