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Congratulations on the birth of your baby! The first days and weeks of your little one’s life are a special time.Not only are you getting to know your new arrival, but he or she is already busy growing and developing at a fast pace. As a result, feeding your baby the right things is incredibly important during this stage of infancy and beyond.
When it comes to feeding newborns and infants, experts agree that the breast is best. Breast milk is the perfect food for a baby and is designed to provide all of the nutrition that he or she needs for the first few months of life and to supplement solid foods until your baby is ready for an all-solid diet.I wrote this guide to tell you all of the information that you need to know to learn how to breastfeed and to do so successfully at home and on the go, and I hope it will be of help to you and your baby.
Before I get into the specifics of how to breastfeed, I wanted to review some basic tips, guidelines and information:
Use pillows. Pillows and bolsters can support your back and your baby to keep both of you comfy during breastfeeding. A good choice is any breastfeeding boppy pillow, a circular doughnut-shaped pillow with an opening on one side. It’s meant to go around your waist to support your back and your baby at once. There are many other styles of nursing pillows out there, though. You may want to buy a couple and see what works best for you. I will link the top rated amazon pillows. I recommend selecting a pillow with high ratings and reviews.Believe it or not, how comfortable you are can really affect letdown and milk flow. The more relaxed you are, the better your nursing experience will be for you and your baby. Comfort is a personal thing, so what works for one woman may not work for another. The following are some general pieces of advice to help you get comfortable.
Try a nursing cover or blanket. It’s hard to feel comfortable when you’re shivering. nursing blankets can help to keep you warm while your baby nurses. Covers and blankets also help to protect your privacy when you’re nursing in public or using a breast pump.
Wear nursing clothes. I mention this a little later on, too, but nursing clothing can make the whole experience more comfortable. Nursing bras with cups that open and tops and dresses that allow you to easily expose your breast can keep you from having to get fully undressed and make breastfeeding more comfortable overall.
Breastfeeding bra cardigan
Try different positions. In the section entitled “how to breastfeed,” I share three of the most popular nursing positions. Try these for yourself and see what other ways work for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There is no wrong nursing position, provided your baby is properly latched on and able to nurse.
To maintain your milk supply, you’ll likely need to eat 500 extra calories every day. That doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to eat all the fast food and desserts that you want to–you should still be focused on eating a healthy diet. Here are some general guidelines to help you.
– Protein. Aim for 3 servings of lean protein like chicken, turkey, pork, tofu and lean cuts of beef. Low mercury fish like salmon, shrimp, tilapia, catfish and cod are good to eat two to three times per week as well.
– Calcium. Try to get at least five servings of calcium-rich foods every day. Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium. Collard greens, broccoli, kale, edamame, bok choy, figs, oranges, canned salmon, okra, tofu, almonds and white beans are all good sources of calcium as well.
– Iron. Make sure to eat at least one or more servings of iron-rich foods every day. These include lean red meat, pork, poultry, low-mercury seafood, beans, spinach and other green leafy vegetables and iron-fortified bread and cereal.
– Vitamin C. Get at least two servings of vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, berries, papaya and peas.
– Green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruits. Eat 3 to 4 servings of these foods every day for a healthy mix of vitamins.
– Whole grains. Make sure to eat 3 or more servings of whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, air-popped popcorn and bulgur on a daily basis.
– Omega 3. Important for your baby’s brain and your body, omega 3 fatty acids are found in large amounts in seafood. Be sure to eat 2 to 3 servings of fish per week to get enough omega 3. If you don’t like fish or are allergic, talk to your doctor about a supplement.
– Prenatal vitamin. Speaking of supplements, most doctors recommend continuing on a prenatal vitamin while you’re breastfeeding.
– Water. Make sure you’re drinking eight glasses of water every day to stay properly hydrated.
When you’re learning how to breastfeed, it’s important to discuss nutrition with your doctor. These guidelines are just general advice. You may need more or less of a specific nutrient based upon your weight, age and overall health history. If you’re struggling to figure out what to eat, consider seeing a registered dietitian to have a custom eating plan drawn up for you.
Just as there are some healthy foods that you should try to eat when you’re breastfeeding, there are some things that you should avoid as much as possible, including:
– Caffeine. Small amounts of caffeine like one cup of coffee are unlikely to affect your baby, but in large amounts, caffeine can leave your infant wired just like it can do to you. Experts typically recommend no more than one to two cups of coffee or tea or more than one serving of soda per day while breastfeeding. If your infant has colic or acid reflux, you may have to cut out caffeine entirely.
– High Mercury Fish. Shark, tilefish, mackerel and swordfish are all prone to containing large amounts of mercury and should be avoided while you’re breastfeeding. Tuna is generally considered safe when you eat the canned albacore variety and do not consume more than 6 ounces of it every week.
– Fatty Foods. Full fat dairy products, fatty cuts of red meat and fast food are not good for you whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Full-fat dairy and fatty meats are also more likely to contain hormones and traces of chemicals like pesticides from the feeds given to animals, so experts recommend consuming as little of these foods as possible.
– Processed Foods. Try to avoid processed foods, which are often packed with chemicals that may or may not be safe for babies.
– Alcohol. Doctors typically caution against drinking more than a few glasses of wine or other alcoholic drinks. If you do intend to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, nurse your baby first and then try to wait 2 to 3 hours before breastfeeding.
– Saccharine. Studies have found that saccharine can pose risks for babies, so stick to other sugar substitutes. Typically, doctors recommend natural options like agave nectar or stevia.
You and your baby are going to come up with your own specific routine and techniques over time, but here is a basic step-by-step guide on how to breastfeed:
You can choose one of these three holding positions:
It’s perfectly alright to switch back and forth between these positions or use just one.
At home, you can breastfeed anywhere that feels comfortable. Many mothers like to do so in a rocking chair in the nursery or the living room, but you can also nurse in an armchair, on the sofa or in bed. Any place that feels right to you is the right place to nurse at home.
Laws about where you can breastfeed in public vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to find out what your rights are. In most places, it is legal to breastfeed anywhere, but you’ll want to find a place where you’re able to feel comfortable.
Public bathrooms in nice places like hotels and department stores often have small lounges with chairs that can be private and quiet. If you feel comfortable, you can breastfeed in a booth or at a table in a restaurant or in an armchair at a coffee shop or cafe. A public park bench can be a relaxing place to nurse, and you can always sit in your car in the passenger’s seat or backseat for privacy.
Carrying a nursing cover and a bolster and wearing nursing clothing like a nursing bra and top or a button-down shirt can make nursing in public easier.
At work, try to find a comfortable spot that is private like in an office with the door closed or in a break room or lounge with a sofa. Be sure to talk to human resources or your boss about where you should pump.
Pediatricians recommend that babies receive breast milk for as long as possible and encourage mothers to continue feeding their little ones breast milk throughout the first year of life if possible. If you plan to go back to work after the birth of your baby or will have to travel without him or her, it’s still possible to continue breastfeeding with the help of a breast pump.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump
– Natural Pumping Action. The Closer to Nature is named for the fact that it’s able to suction similarly to how a baby’s mouth actually moves, promoting let-down and milk flow.
– Zero Back Flow Guarantee. Tomee Tippee guarantees that expressed breast milk won’t flow back into the motor area of this pump, ensuring that milk stays sanitary and the pump is protected from damage.
– 4 Suction Levels. You can customize the performance of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump to meet your needs and ensure a comfortable experience.
The downside to the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump can be a positive for some moms–it only can pump one breast at a time. Some women prefer this style of pump, and this model makes it possible for those moms to buy a well-made, effective pump at a reasonable price.
I highly recommend the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump for women who prefer a single pump and want something that’s moderately priced. Read my full review for a complete look at this model.
Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump
The Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump is an electric breast pump that I examined closely and did a complete review of. Here’s a quick summary of its three top benefits:
– Rhythmic Suction. By rhythmically suctioning the breast, this pump is able to mimic the way your baby actually feeds to support milk flow.
– Wide Mouth Bottle Adapter. Spectra makes easy-to-clean wide mouth bottles that work with this pump, while most other brands only offer one bottle option.
– Quiet Motor. For a breast pump of its price, the Spectra 3 is very quiet and can be used discreetly in public and without disturbing your family at home.
The drawback to the Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump is that mostly everything besides the pump motor and one breast shield set is sold separately. While this means you have to purchase more items individually to get started, the standalone nature of the pump means you get to pick and choose exactly what you purchase and won’t have to pay for anything that you won’t use.
I would recommend this breast pump for women looking for an economical option that is still ideal for daily use due to its flexible features and rhythmic suction. You can check out my full review of the Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump to learn more about it.
Spectra S1 Hospital Grade Double Electric Breast Pump with Rechargeable Battery
The Spectra S1 is a hospital-grade pump that is of high enough quality to be used every day by multiple users but is simple enough to use at home. Some of its features include:
– Completely Closed System. All of the parts for the Spectra S1 are airtight, keeping impurities out of breast milk. This is an update over previous models that lacked a back flow valve.
– Timer. You can set a timer to stop the pumping at a time that you specify, so you can close your eyes and relax, watch TV or read without having to track how long you’ve been sitting there.
– Night Light. The built-in night light allows you to set the breast pump in the dark without turning on the light and waking up your baby or the rest of the family.
One quirk that some women find inconvenient about the Spectra S1 is that it remembers your last settings and automatically starts working when you turn it on. If you’re not expecting it, that can be a little startling; however, it’s actually a handy feature because if you pump the same way every time, you can just turn it on, relax and let it do the rest.
Women who require a heavy-duty pump for daily use can benefit greatly from the Spectra S1 Hospital Grade Double Electric Breast Pump with Rechargeable Battery. I would recommend it for women who are having difficulty maintaining their milk supply and need a hospital grade option as a result.
Ameda Purely Yours Lactaline Double Electric Breast Pump
The Adro Calypso is an award-winning electric breast pump that rivals hospital grade performance but is made exclusively for single users in home environments. Among its many great features are the following key selling points:
– Whisper Quiet. In a clinical test, the Ardo Calypso was found to be the quietest double breast pump available on the market.
– Vacuum Seal Technology. The vacuum seal keeps breast milk pure and free of contaminants and eliminates the risk of back flow.
– Optiflow Inserts. These massaging pads fit inside the breast shields and encourage letdown and flow throughout use for faster, more comfortable pumping.
It’s hard to find a flaw with the Ardo Calypso Double Plus Swiss Made Electric Breast Pump. The only real complaint I have is that the electric cord is short. You can fix this with an extension cord very easily at home, though, and when you’re out of the house, the battery allows you to operate the pump without the cord at all.
For women who want the best of the best when it comes to a home breast pump, I would strongly recommend the Ardo Calypso Double Plus Swiss Made Electric Breast Pump. You can read my full review to learn more about it, as this brief overview has just scratched the surface of its features.