Nursing Tips for First-Time Parents

Nursing Tips

New moms can easily spend 4-6 hours nursing every day! Make your new “job” more comfortable and enjoyable with tried and true breastfeeding tips.

Stash “Nursing Kits” Around the House

A nursing session can be a lengthy process. The last thing you need is to get the baby latched on and realize you need something across the room. Put a basket of nursing supplies in the nursery, by your bed, and by the couch. Good items to stock in a nursing kit include:

  • Snacks you can eat with one hand (granola bars, apples, nuts)
  • Bottled water
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads
  • A newborn blanket to keep baby warm during skin-to-skin
  • A magazine or music player

Don’t skimp on tubes of nipple cream. A good latch should be painless, but both moms and babies need to learn how to nurse together effectively. Some discomfort is common, especially in the early weeks. Protecting delicate skin with a moisturizing barrier can help you avoid cracking skin.

Drink Tons of Water

Once your milk comes in, babies drink a lot! A typical, exclusively breastfed baby may need 750 ml of breastmilk daily. That’s enough liquid to fill a wine bottle! Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy and maintaining sufficient milk supply.

Water is best to stay hydrated. Adding a splash of juice or brewing a pot of green tea can pump up flavor without adding tons of sugar. If you’ve got visitors helping out, tell them their job is to make sure your glass is never empty.

Enjoy Skin-to-Skin Time

You probably don’t need extra encouragement to snuggle. It’s still nice to know that skin-to-skin time (also called kangaroo care) is amazing for your baby. Your newborn doesn’t see very well yet, but your touch and scent is familiar from the womb. Your body heat may help Baby regulate her own temperature more easily. Lots of cuddling at the breast, where she can smell skin and milk, helps her learn to nurse better. Wrap a soft blanket around Baby’s back to ward off any drafty air.

Prop Yourself Up With Pillows

Newborns are small, but they can get surprisingly heavy when you’re holding them for half an hour. Poor posture can lead to backaches. Settle in comfortably before you latch on the baby. Using a nursing pillow, or even wedging a pillow in under the baby, can keep your arms from getting tired.

Know How to Find Help

Nursing may be a “natural” process, but that doesn’t mean it comes easily to every mom. It is okay if you have trouble figuring out what to do. In many cases, problems may be solved with a few technique adjustments.

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) goes through more rigorous training than a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC). A consultant can teach different nursing positions, answer your questions, and offer remedies for common problems. Your health insurance may reimburse you for a certain number of sessions with a lactation consultant. Call your provider to learn what coverage options you have.

Jessica Sillers
Jessica Sillers is a parenting and finance writer whose work has been featured in Pregnancy & Newborn, Headspace, and more. As a new mom herself, she’s passionate about helping other parents find the community and support they need. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, and hiking.

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