First Time Breastfeeding

Most first time breastfeeding moms give up in the first few weeks of breast feeding, that’s why it’s so important to find all the breastfeeding information you can, and to talk to other mothers who have had a successful breastfeeding experience so that you can learn what to expect.

Many of the nurses at the hospitals or clinics give advice, but have never successfully breastfed…they end up giving the wrong breastfeeding advice.

Read more here on some of the usual breastfeeding myths.

When moms know what to expect during breastfeeding they will have more confidence which will lead them to a great breastfeeding experience.

When will my milk come in?

When beginning breastfeeding your breasts will contain colostrum until the fourth day when your mature milk starts coming in.

Most recent breastfeeding statistics

- 35% of women choose not to breastfeed at all

- 5% start breastfeeding, but stop within the first week

- 18% stop breastfeeding within the first month

- 42% continue to breastfeed for longer than a month

What are the biggest reasons that new mothers give up on breastfeeding?

- Most new moms suffer from breast engorgement during the first few days

- The perception that your baby is not getting enough milk

- Infant problems, Sucking problems, illness

- Problems arising with growth spurts

- Low milk supply

- Sore nipples

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Here are some good tips and advice for first time breastfeeding mothers

- Many moms think that they are the only ones struggling with breastfeeding, which is not the case. Most moms have some difficulty breastfeeding. Breastfeeding baby can be a very stressful and difficult time. This is not to discourage you, but to make you aware that you are not the only one struggling.

- Take a breastfeeding class if you can. They should show you how to breastfeed and this will also allow you to ask all the breastfeeding questions that you have on your mind.

- Get an early start: Try to breastfeed baby as soon as you can, the best would be to start an hour after he is born.

- Find the best breastfeeding position for you

- For the first few weeks your nipples are definitely going to be sore. Your breasts need to get accustomed to baby pulling and tugging on them. After about three weeks, your nipples should become a bit tougher relieving you of the nipple pain.

- If after a month you still have sore nipples, you should start look at how your baby is latching on. A bad latch is the biggest culprit of sore painful nipples.

- Do you feel like your baby is not getting in enough milk? In the first few days of baby’s life he doesn’t need much milk. His tummy is very small, about the size of a whole, unshelled walnut! The small amount of colostrum is all your baby needs.

- NB! Do not supplement your baby with formula for the first few weeks! If you do your breast milk supply will decrease. Your baby needs to empty your breasts so that you can produce enough milk for him. Breastfeed even though you think nothing is coming out – the reality is the more you breastfeed the more milk you will produce.

- You can pump, but only after every time your baby has finished breastfeeding. If you pump after every breastfeeding session it will ensure that your breasts are empty and will also increase breast milk supply some what.

- Do not measure the amount of milk you are producing by what comes out when you pump. Man-made pumps do not draw out breast milk like a baby. A breast pump can be helpful to relieve engorgement when necessary, but should never replace skin to skin breastfeeding.

- An overactive letdown. This is when your milk squirts out and it’s too much for baby to handle. If your breasts have an overactive letdown all you have to do is either let the milk run out a bit when your let down occurs, or you can pump your breasts for a few seconds, or you can hand express them.

- Don’t stress too much about achieving the perfect latch or breastfeeding position. If it works for you and baby then it’s perfect for you guys! It will take time for you and baby to figure out a way that is comfortable for you both, it’s a learned skill.

- Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a low milk supply. Family members might suggest that you have a low breast milk supply. The only way you will know for sure is by checking your baby’s nappies. Is he having at least 3 to 4 wet diapers per day? Is baby gaining weight? Please read more here on urine and stool output requirements in the first few weeks.

- Breastfeeding on demand. Don’t make a fixed breastfeeding schedule… this might lower your milk supply. Feeding on demand will also help if you have engorged breasts.

- Air dry your breasts after every feeding, this will prevent them from becoming dry and cracked.Your own breast milk rubbed into your nipples can also keep them soft and supple.

- Get enough rest. The lying down position while breastfeeding can help you get in extra hours of sleep while your baby is breastfeeding. Other that this, try to get as much help as you can around the house.

- In the beginning when you are trying to increase milk supply, make sure that baby has emptied the one breast before giving him the other one…in this way your body will know that it needs to produce more milk. If your baby becomes full on the one breast then you can always pump the other breast to prevent engorgement. Read more on how breastmilk production works

- Don’t use a pacifier. A pacifier can disrupt your baby's need for milk.

Want to learn more about creating a safe and nurturing environment for your new baby? Baby Safety Resources is a free guide for new moms. You'll find all you need to know about caring for your newborn and answers to many of the common challenges parents experience when raising infants.

Things that you need to succeed

- A supportive husband, friend or family member.

- Good, accurate information on breastfeeding.

- Having a positive outlook and attitude. You can do this!

- Decide to stay away from formula.

- Invest in a hospital grade double action electric breast pump. Or hire one.

Preparing for breastfeeding

- Mentally prepare yourself. Your baby might need to feed every two hours and each feeding can last up to 40 minutes.

- Preparing your breasts. If you develop sensitive nipples, you can start to use pure lanolin moisturizers. This will also keep your breasts supple and keep them from drying out. If you have flat or inverted nipples… read more on preparing yourself here.

- Back care preparation.

- Breastfeeding diet preparation.

  • You will need to eat at least 250 extra calories.
  • Eat at least 5 fruits or vegetables daily.
  • Don’t stress about losing weight while breastfeeding. An average baby will consume about 500 calories per day through breastfeeding…so don’t deprive yourself.
  • More detail on breastfeeding diet guidelines

- Stock up on nursing pads for breast milk leakage.

Many moms feel that they want to give up on breastfeeding after a while, due to the many different difficulties they might be experiencing during breastfeeding, but can I please encourage you to read our page on the benefits of breastfeeding, not just for your baby, but for your sake too.

Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with first time breastfeeding moms

- Oversupply

- Adoptive breastfeeding

- Safe breast milk storage guidelines

- Breastfeeding and working

- Breastfeeding in public

- Breastfeeding after a c-section delivery

- Inspirational breastfeeding stories

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