"In the past 25 years, I have helped mothers that have just given birth latch their babies for the first time to mothers that are weaning their older children and every problem in between," Becky said. "The common theme is that they all love their babies and want what is best for them."
Becky and Julie Smith, perinatal educator at
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford, contributed to the list below of six helpful tips for breastfeeding mothers:
- One of the best ways to get breastfeeding off to a great start is to take a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. Most Texas Health hospitals offer breastfeeding classes and a free Breastfeeding ELearning course (enter the code THRBABY).
- Do a lot of skin to skin contact from the beginning. Skin to skin is defined as placing the naked baby on the mother’s bare chest and covering both with a warm blanket. Experts suggest that baby go skin to skin with mom as soon as possible after birth and stay there for minimum of one hour. This is true for all babies, by C-section and vaginal birth as well as formula fed and breastfed. Early contact has important effects on infant health, maternal behavior and bonding. Skin to skin time actually stabilizes an infant’s heart rate, breathing, temperature, and blood glucose level. And, being skin to skin significantly improves a baby’s ability and desire to breastfeed.
- Be sure the baby is latching on well. It's important to call an an IBCLC, known as a lactation consultant, for help if needed.
- Build yourself a nursing nest: a comfortable chair, footstool, and a lot of pillows to help you position yourself correctly. You'll want to have everything in reach when you sit down to breastfeed so have a toolkit near your nursing nest. This can be a basket that includes a water bottle, snacks, phone numbers of lactation consultants, a good breastfeeding reference book, burp cloths, breast pads, lanolin, and soothing gel pads. It may be helpful in the early days to include a feeding log so you can track the number of feeds in 24 hours as well as the wet and dirty diapers. Keep a pen and paper in there to jot down notes and reminders to yourself and to make a list for things you need completed so when your friends ask, “What can I do to help?” you will be ready.
- The best thing to do is the hardest thing to do, RELAX!
- Get support for breastfeeding. Be sure you ask all your questions to a lactation consultant. Join a support group. Stay determined. Breastfeeding is the most precious gift you can give to your baby!