One of the biggest challenges that a new mom faces is being able to successfully breastfeed her newborn baby. The first few days after delivery can be quite overwhelming. Running on very little sleep, being unsure of what you are doing and being bombarded with so much information coming from health care staff, well-meaning friends, and relatives can surely be the perfect recipe for disaster. You can, however, turn this around by following a few tips that can help any first-time mom have a successful breastfeeding journey.
- Be prepared. Attend a pre-natal breastfeeding class on your third trimester that teaches basics such as correct position and latch, baby’s breastfeeding cues and how to know that your baby is getting enough breastmilk. If you have conditions that might make breastfeeding a little more difficult (e.g. previous breast surgery, flat/inverted nipples) or you just want a more individualized approach, you can see a lactation consultant for a pre-natal breastfeeding consultation.
- Follow Unang Yakap or Essential Intrapartum Newborn Care (EINC). These are a set of practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), and Department of Health (DOH) that not only reduces maternal and newborn mortality rate but increases breastfeeding rates as well. EINC delivers time-bound interventions after birth that includes immediate drying, properly- timed umbilical cord0cutting, early skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding initiation. Find out if the institution where you will deliver implements these practices to ensure you get the best start to breastfeeding.
- Get support. Involve your husband. Urge him to attend a breastfeeding class with you. Burping your baby after a feed, changing the diaper, encouraging you to persevere may seem trivial, but it can make a world of difference to any new breastfeeding mom. Supportive husbands have happier and more motivated wives.
- Take it one day at a time. Breastfeeding may seem very natural to some but it actually takes some skill and technique to get it right. You may not get it down pat the first few times but don’t allow this to discourage you from trying again. Recognize when you need help with your latch and ask for it early on so you and your baby can adjust right away. If you take it one day at a time, you’ll be surprised that you’ve already been breastfeeding for a year and you wouldn’t want to stop!
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy and filling meals. Be well hydrated (always have a bottle of water nearby). Sleep when your baby is sleeping. Make yourself beautiful. Go to the parlor. Get a massage. Enjoy every single day with your most precious bundle of blessing.
Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas is a pediatrician, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and a happy, fulfilled mother of 3. Pediatrician, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant of Parkview Children’s Clinic in Salcedo Village, Makati. When Doc Jamie isn’t teacheing breastfeeding classes and holding clinic at The Medical City Satellite Clinic in Robinson’s Magnolia, Quezon City, she loves to travel with her family and play badminton.