Back to Living Better

5 tips to make breastfeeding more successful

Breastfeeding has life-long health benefits for babies. While many new moms are eager to step up to the challenge, some may discover that breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as it looks. Here are five tips to make breastfeeding more successful.

1. Start breastfeeding early and often.

It’s important to breastfeed within the first hour of giving birth because it makes a dramatic difference in getting your baby off to a good start. One way to do this is to keep your baby with you as much as possible after delivery to learn feeding cues.

When your milk supply gets established in those early days, it sets you up for success later on. Make sure you put the baby to the breast early and often to tell your body that it has a baby to feed.

2. Be patient with yourself and your baby.

Breastfeeding is a new skill and it takes a lot of practice.

Some people pick it up easier than others, but it is something that is unusual and something new that you are learning to do. So be patient with yourself and take the time to learn to do it.

3. Get your baby to latch on properly.

Getting the right latch takes practice, but it can help prevent issues like sore nipples and engorgement. 

In the early days, hormones can cause breast tenderness, so even a good latch can feel sore for a few seconds. But it shouldn't hurt throughout the feeding. 

Signs of a good latch are when the baby has a lot of the breast in their mouth and you feel strong tugs. It shouldn’t hurt at all.

If you do experience sore nipples, consider using your breast milk as a nipple cream.

If you hand-express and let the breast milk air-dry on your nipples, all of those great protective qualities in the breast milk will help you as well. 

4. Wait to use bottles and pacifiers.

It takes time for babies to learn how to breastfeed and receiving a bottle or pacifier can interfere with that process. Though it may be tempting to pump a bottle for dad, it’s best to keep feeding baby from the breast for a little while. You can let others help in a few weeks once you and baby know how to breastfeed well. 

There are a lot of benefits that happen at the breast that don’t happen when babies are getting breast milk from a bottle. When breastfeeding, babies are able to regulate their own milk intake. Studies have shown that this reduces the risk of obesity later in life.

Also, while breastfeeding, babies communicate all of the germs in the environment that they need protection from. So the mom’s body takes all of the pathogens and germs, creates the antibodies and the immune support that the baby needs and then gives it back to the baby via the breast milk. This mom and baby communication doesn’t happen with a bottle.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Breastfeeding is no easy task. So if you have any problems or questions, ask for help. Piedmont's board-certified lactation consultants are ready to help and answer any questions that you have.

Learn more about Piedmont's lactation support services.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.


Related Stories

Schedule your appointment online