National Breastfeeding Month: 3 Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Baby hand gripping mother's finger

August is National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding Week is celebrated across the world from August 1 – August 7. These celebrations are essential in recognizing, supporting and educating mothers and breastfeeding.

Fewer things are more beneficial for mothers and babies than the act of breastfeeding. Not only is breastfeeding considered the ideal way to feed infants, according to the World Health Organization, but it can improve the health of the mother as well. As natural an act as breastfeeding is, however, it can present some significant challenges. Here are three ways that new moms can help ensure breastfeeding success:

Breastfeed Your Infant Early and Often

After you give birth, whether you have your baby in a birth center or a hospital, you should do your best to initiate breastfeeding early on. Many doctors recommend that you try latching your baby immediately after birth, with at least one hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time. It’s important to remember that breastfeeding is a supply and demand process, and that your body determines how much milk to make based on how often milk is removed.

According to Kelly Mom, most breastfeeding mothers should aim for nursing at least 10-12 times per day. If your baby starts to show signs of hunger, such as clenched fists or rooting, you should try to nurse. 

Eat Nutritionally-Dense Meals

The postpartum period is a time of healing for any new mom. Breastfeeding mothers burn an excess of 300-500 extra calories per day, which can leave many nursing moms feeling intensely hungry all the time. However, instead of reaching for snack cakes and cold cereal, try to eat a nutrient-rich diet full of foods such as Greek yogurt, nuts and seeds, peanut butter and wheat toast, and fruit. These healthy foods will not only help keep you energized, but they will translate to high-quality milk for your baby as well.

Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out for Help

Breastfeeding can present a lot of challenges, even for veteran moms. Every breastfeeding relationship is different, just as every baby is different. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A lactation consultant can be a great source of knowledge and support and can help you resolve various breastfeeding issues.

Additionally, if you are struggling with the mental weight of motherhood, your doctor and other support professionals can provide you with information and resources on how to combat the stress. In short, breastfeeding can be hard – but if you go into it armed with knowledge and support, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Center for Family Medicine is here for mothers, before, during and after pregnancy.

If you have any questions regarding breastfeeding, or maternity care overall, contact Center for Family Medicine today.