Secrets of Success
The first six weeks are crucial to long-term breastfeeding. Here are the skills you need to stick with it.
3. Eat and Drink. You’ll need even more calories when breastfeeding than while pregnant—about 300 more per day than in the last trimester, even more if you’re exercising. But don’t go overboard; three well-balanced meals a day plus healthful snacks should cover it. Make sure you’re prepared: Fill up your pantry ahead of time, and ask family members and friends to stock your freezer with meals before you have the baby.
At your baby shower, ask a friend or family member to organize a “food train,” where friends and relatives take turns bringing you home-cooked meals for the first few weeks. After the baby arrives, prepare plates of finger foods (sandwich bites, hunks of low-fat cheese, trail mix, vegetables and fruit) to nibble on while you nurse.
Finally, keep in mind that breast milk is 87.5 percent water, so drink up—at least eight to 10 8-ounce glasses a day. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating.
4. Get Help. “New mothers need to be mothered to mother their babies,” Lebbing says. Accept help when it’s offered: Let friends and family members do a load of laundry, clean your bathroom or look after the baby while you shower. Ask a neighbor to watch an older child for a few hours. Also be sure to enlist your partner’s assistance. He can do all of these tasks, for example, or simply help you by holding the baby while you get comfortable and settled to nurse.
5. Don't Give in to Fear. Most women who stop breastfeeding do so for fear that they are not producing enough milk, Harvey says, but inadequate production is rare. If your baby nurses eight to 12 times every 24 hours, has six or more wet diapers and three or more bowel movements daily by day six, she’s getting plenty to eat. Nursing frequently (every one to three hours) should help you establish an ample supply.
6. Learn the Proper Latch. The majority of breastfeeding problems can be prevented with a proper latch. This is how you do it:
- Before putting the baby on your breast, position her on her side so she is facing you, with her belly touching yours.
- Prop up the baby with a pillow, if necessary, and hold her up to your breast; don’t lean over toward her.
- Tickle your baby’s lips with your nipple until her mouth opens wide, like a yawn.
- When your baby opens her mouth wide, quickly draw her to your breast. Place her lower jaw on the breast first, then the upper jaw.
- Make sure she takes the entire nipple and at least 11/2 inches of the areola in her mouth.
- See a pictorial step-by-step here