A Maternity Nurse’s Perspective on Breastfeeding Success

There is nothing more beautiful, exciting and exhausting as a newborn! But with this exceptional miracle of new life can sometimes come frustration – especially when it comes to breast feeding.

First, know that you are not alone! Many women need a little additional help to get this ball rolling. So we asked a Maternity Nurse to give us her best tips on being successful at breast feeding. If you are expecting, you should read these and keep the added links handy. There is much information out there to help you be successful!

There are many opinions and beliefs out there regarding what others believe is best for feeding your newborn. What you determine to be comfortable to you and the needs of your baby is what you should choose. Not everyone is comfortable with breastfeeding their baby.  A fed baby is a happy baby. As a longtime Maternity Nurse, here are some tips and ideas that help with success in breastfeeding.

It is a good idea to speak with your partner and your doctor about your desire to breastfeed your baby. You will want the doctor to exam your breasts for possible flat or inverted nipples. This is where the nipple may not stand out, or dimple.  In these cases, you will want to find breast shells that will train the nipples to be in proper position for nursing your baby.  For best results before baby arrives, these can be worn around 32 weeks of a normal pregnancy. You will start for an hour and work up gradually to eight hours with a bra. Once your baby is born, you may still use these shells in between feedings until your nipples stay in position. Usually, this occurs the first week of your baby’s life.

Most hospitals have what is call a Lactation Consultant and breastfeeding classes. This is designed to help you learn techniques on holding, comfort in nursing and general tips before baby is born. The nurses on the maternity floor are there for you after baby is born. Most nursing success is started within the first hour of life. Lactation Consultants and the nurses are there to support you and your baby. They are there to answer your questions and help you be successful. There will be either online resources, a breastfeeding support group or individual visits available for you should issues arise after you leave the hospital.

Today, obtaining a hospital grade electric breast pump is easier than in the past. Insurance now covers breast pumps.  As soon as your doctor gives you a due date, contact your insurance company for ordering one. You may not receive until closer to delivery, but this benefit is not well known. These pumps are both easier on both you and time-saving, and can be helpful while you may be at work or planning to be out and needing a supply on hand.  If for some reason you are not able to latch your baby on due to the breast structure, an electric pump will allow you to still provide breastmilk for your baby. For storage information of breastmilk, www.medela.us has helpful tips. Your hospital also should have this updated information.

The frequency for breastfeeding your baby is every 2-3 hours for the first couple of months. This averages out to 8-12 feedings a day. Your baby is getting enough if they have six wet diapers a day. It is not uncommon for infants to have a stool every other day as long as it is not hard.  Should your baby draw up their legs and have a piercing cry, then it is time to speak with their doctor. 

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful in becoming successful in feeding your baby. Try to take time to enjoy your newborn. Though the beginning is stressful, that will only last for a little while. Always remember: a happy baby is a fed baby.

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It’s most important to know that you are not alone in this. We have licensed, practicing nurses on our staff that can be available to meet with you, answer your questions and point you in the right direction, at your appointment.

There is no charge to come in to our office and speak with one of our nurses. We are here to help you – from the first notice of pregnancy all the way through birth (and beyond!).

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