Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom Guide

The beginning is always the hardest; that’s true of any skill when you’re learning the ropes. Breastfeeding is no different. New moms are often overwhelmed by how consuming breastfeeding becomes from the first feeding: latching techniques, constant feeding schedules, different hold positions—the list goes on! We have some breastfeeding tips that address the first three days of nursing and serve as a blueprint of what to expect. From hospital to home, let these breastfeeding tips (adapted from Pregnancy and Newborn online magazine) guide you through the first days of nursing and into a seamless routine.

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom GuideOnce you’ve delivered your baby, ask to hold your newborn so you can experience skin-to-skin contact. Establishing an external connection with your baby as quickly as possible will aid breastfeeding. If you can, you should try to nurse the first time you hold your baby as well. Be patient as your infant tries to latch for the first times and look for signs that she is properly sucking and consuming milk.

Watch to see if your baby’s mouth is open wide (most of your areola and nipple will be covered) and listen for firm, sucking sounds. If you think the latch is too light, gently break her suction with your fingertips and try the latch again. If you have concerns, ask for a visit with a lactation consultant and have her guide you through a successful latch. Once you know what to expect and roughly how nursing will feel, you will find that some of your initial breastfeeding anxiety is quieted.

If your baby is soiling diapers, you’re providing milk, even if it doesn’t seem like a large quantity.

Breastfeeding at home

Once you’ve begun to nurse, you have to establishing a breastfeeding schedule. Try to nurse every two hours in the beginning. While at home, continue this routine as best you can. If your baby exhibits signs of hunger, though, try to feed even if it throws you off your schedule. Keeping a basic log of your breastfeeding schedule will help you stay on track and informed of your nursing progress. Note things like diaper changes, length of breastfeeding sessions, frequency of sessions, and how successful your baby is at latching on. This information will be helpful in your first pediatrician visits.

Enlist your partner to help you keep your sleep schedule. For the first days, you may want to use a bassinet in your room to make nighttime feedings more convenient. Your partner will be able to help you get up or assist you with feeding if you, baby, and partner are in the same place. You’re all sharing the same goal of successful breastfeeding for your infant’s health, and creating a comfortable, nurturing space together will make round-the-clock feedings easier.

Around the end of your first week of breastfeeding, be conscious of your breasts becoming engorged. Engorgement varies is pain between women, but using ice packs or cabbage leaves are common ways you can ease some of the pain you might feel. If your breast pain becomes severe, call your doctor and see what he or she can prescribe that’s safe for you and baby.

Just remember—at the end of your first week, you’ll have learned so much first-hand information about breastfeeding! Stick with it, because nursing your baby is the healthiest, most natural way you can feed your baby. You’re giving her so much when you offer her a breast to latch onto.

Have any tips for moms-to-be you learned from your first few days breastfeeding? Share with us in the comments.