If you are having any trouble nursing please contact a lactation specialist. You can find one here. Starting a good and strong nursing relationship with your newborn will be vital to their development, any questions or concerns you have would be gladly answered by a specialist. I by no means am a lactation specialist, I have no training; however, I did face challenges when trying to nurse my newborn and I learned some tips and tricks.
When August was born he wasn’t interested in eating, all he wanted after the hard work of being born was a nap. This was just the start of my troubles- he was not interested in eating, his mouth was so small he could not latch properly, and he wanted instant gratification and would not stay latched if the milk flow was not instant. Thankfully I had ladies who worked with me until we got him on track. Here are some of the tips and tricks they had me use:
Pumping and Feeding
Their top priorities were ensuring little man got the nutrition he needed without giving up on nursing. My pediatrician at the time was punching me to just bottle feed formula, but my midwives and lactation consultants- Melissa, Whitney, and Stephanie- knew how important breastfeeding was to me so they worked to help August and me sort it out. The first step was to make sure his tummy was full- in all my efforts to get him to latch he was crying so much that he was burning more calories than he was consuming so we had to fix this first. Melissa and Whitney had me pump my milk and then feed it to him via a spoon at first. When they later suggested the use of a tear-dropper, which is ultimately the route we chose.
We would fill the tear-dropper with the milk and place it near my breast so that he would latch, but be reviving the milk from the tear-dropper as well- this ensured he was getting enough to stop his weightless and keep his belly full and happy.
Some lactation consultants recommend nipple shields, some do not- be sure to ask before you start using them. These are made of a thin plastic, much like a contact, and can help the baby learn to latch better since they are shaped to go further into their mouths. Babies do have to be weaned off of the shields though so I only used them for a few days to help him transition.
These helped me so much! They are a hard plastic shell that has a soft, almost silicone like, plastic that goes against your breast and helps to shape the nipple so that the baby can feed more easily. I wore these for about 20 minuets before each feeding. I truly believed that this was one of the main things that helped him latch properly.
Pumping for Latch and Supply
Another little trick is to pump for several minutes before feeding to single a letdown so that your baby gets a good flow of milk as soon as they latch. This helped August latch better because he knew he was getting milk and didn’t pull off to fuss. I also pumped frequently to make sure my supply stayed up and didn’t dwindle to to his lack of nursing. Lots of skin to skin with baby will also help your supply.
Hydrate and feed yourself! I didn’t to well at either of these and saw the effects in my supply. I remember one night where I was worried silk that I wasn’t going to be able to pump enough to make it through the night time feedings. Breast milk is 80% water to drink up! This will help make the flow of milk easier for baby to stimulate.
Breastfeeding is hard and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, that does not mean that you are doing anything wrong! Don’t be afraid to admit you need help and look for answers. I was so embarrassed at first because I felt like a failure as a mother, but as soon as I opened up I began to see progress and am now successfully feeding my 5 month old and working full time!