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Published on July 22, 2019

7 Tips to Support Healthy Breastfeeding From the Beginning

7 Tips to Support Healthy Breast-Feeding

The first 2 years of a newborn baby’s life are full of exciting growth. Their minds, bodies, brains and nervous systems are developing very rapidly. It’s especially important for babies to have the best nutrition possible during this period of growth, and when breastfeeding is an option, the best source of nutrition for your baby is your breast milk.

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby. For babies:

  • Breast milk has the right ratio of proteins, fats and vitamins needed as they grow.
  • Breast milk is easiest for them to digest.
  • Breastfeeding passes along illness-fighting antibodies to help protect them from getting sick.

For mothers:

  • Breastfeeding triggers the release of hormones that help your body heal after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding may lower your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding creates many special opportunities to bond with your baby.

There are many ways that new mothers can establish healthy habits to support breastfeeding. These 7 breastfeeding tips can help you get started on the right path with your new baby:

7 Tips to Support Healthy Breastfeeding From the Beginning

  1. Snuggle often with your baby for skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby is extremely important for building the bond needed for successful breastfeeding. Starting skin-to-skin snuggling between mother and baby immediately after delivery is our goal at Cone Health.
  2. Feed your baby when they give you hunger cues. When babies are ready to be fed, they may wake up, act restless, move their lips, make sucking motions and will eventually cry. Feeding your baby when they’re giving those first hunger cues can help make latching easier.  
  3. Keep your baby’s crib in your room. Having your baby nearby through the night can help you watch for their feeding cues. Having your baby sleep alone in their crib near you can also help protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  4. Avoid using bottles to supplement breastfeeding and avoid using pacifiers. Sucking on a bottle or a pacifier can confuse your baby and cause problems with latching. Pacifiers will also mask feeding cues, making it difficult to know when your baby needs to be fed.
  5. Support your own health. Give your body time to rest between feedings and nurture your strength with a nutritious diet, gentle exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.
  6. Ask for help. It’s important to ask for help the first time you breastfeed at the hospital. Additionally, if you have questions about breastfeeding after you get home, be sure to reach out for help from a lactation consultant. You can schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant at the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Women’s Hospital by calling 336-832-4777.
  7. Be patient with yourself. Just like any new experience, it takes time to learn how to breastfeed. Practice patience as you learn your baby’s feeding cues and build your special bond with them.

As you start your breastfeeding journey with your little one, be sure to reach out to your health care provider with your questions. They can provide advice with both your and your baby’s specific health needs in mind.

About the Author

Carrie HillmanCarrie Hillman, RN, BSN, IBCLC, is a lactation consultant and clinical team lead at the Center for Women's Healthcare at Women's Hospital.