5 Tips for An Easier Breastfeeding Experience
Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful experiences a mother can share with her infant. It not only increases the bond between the two, but it also provides a number of advantages for both mother and child.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most healthy newborns and helps promote a stronger immune system, thereby reducing risks of illness. Breastfeeding moms also experience a health boost and a reduced risk of certain diseases, like ovarian cancer and hypertension. For these reasons and many more, the American Association of Pediatrics strongly recommends breast milk as an exclusive source of nutrition for the first six months of your child’s life.
That said, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. New and even experienced mothers may find themselves feeling overwhelmed or disappointed when faced with milk flow issues, a baby struggling to latch, or a baby who is generally struggling to breastfeeding on a regular basis.
Remember that breastfeeding may be natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy. If you or your baby seem to be having trouble, this is very common and completely normal.
Here are a few tips for breastfeeding if you and your baby are feeling frustrated or struggling to breastfeed.
1. Work with an experienced lactation consultant.
A lactation consultant can be an incredibly valuable tool for helping you and your baby get the hang of breastfeeding during the first few weeks. These professionals have education and certifications in helping both mothers and babies with common problems faced with breastfeeding, such as low milk supply, finding comfortable nursing positions, mastitis, and more.
While you can find plenty of great advice online, nothing beats having someone with you in person to help you and your child.
2. Have your baby evaluated for a tongue or lip tie.
If you’ve noticed your baby can’t seem to properly latch, they may not have enough tongue or lip mobility.
When the thin skin connecting the tongue to the mouth or the lip to the gums is too short or tight, it can make it difficult or impossible for your baby to feed easily. This issue is called a tongue tie or lip tie and affects roughly 5% of newborns.
Tongue and lip ties can be revised with a simple procedure called a frenectomy. Following up with a lactation consultant will further help your baby develop a strong latching and feeding response.
3. Experiment with different positions for you and baby.
The traditional nursing position is popular for a reason, but it certainly isn’t the only way to feed your baby. In fact, trying out different positions for yourself and your baby can be the trick to encouraging better milk flow and a better feeding response.
Here are a few effective positions to try with your baby. Experiment and see how your baby responds.
4. Hold your baby skin-to-skin when feeding.
When it comes to nursing newborns, providing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible is highly recommended for encouraging a deeper bond and more successful breastfeeding. Skin contact is extremely comforting to babies and the warmth also triggers a natural feeding response that helps encourage their appetite.
Skin-to-skin contact also triggers your body to produce milk, especially when cradling your baby close to your breast. Even when not feeding, simply cuddling with your baby with direct skin contact is an incredibly relaxing feeling for you both.
When skin contact isn’t possible, try to keep your baby close to your body by holding and carrying them as often as you can. “Wearing” your baby as you go about your daily routine is a great idea.
5. Consider exclusive expressing for a short time.
Exclusive expressing is a great way to keep your baby on breast milk when nursing isn’t the most effective feeding method. It can be the primary feeding option for your baby or be used as a method of renewing your baby’s interest in breastfeeding.
When breastfeeding is becoming stressful, don’t hesitate to take a break by expressing for a few days and focusing on the bond you share with your baby instead.
Tongue and Lip Tie Treatment at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry
The dentists at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry can quickly determine if your baby has a tongue or lip tie and perform the revision (frenectomy) right in the comfort of the office. We use special laser technology to perform the frenectomy procedure, which allows us to be ultra-precise and keep your baby feeling much more relaxed compared to traditional methods. An anesthetic is also administered to ensure a pain-free experience.
After the frenectomy is complete, we welcome parents to return with their infant by their first birthday for their first dental checkup. It’s recommended parents establish a long-term dental home and begin regular six-month visits with the baby within six months of the first tooth erupting.
You can schedule your baby’s tongue tie or lip tie evaluation and revisions appointment by calling our Salem, OR office or requesting a visit online.