Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Heath Organization recommend infants be exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life, with the WHO recommending continued breastfeeding combined with the appropriate foods through “2 years of age or longer,” according to the CDC website. It’s no secret that breastfeeding is highly encouraged to all new moms thanks to the benefits it provides to both mom and baby, but the “natural” experience can be incredibly challenging and frustrating, making it feel anything but natural. Luckily, we have expert tips to help you navigate this trying time.
Molly Petersen, a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) at Lansinoh, tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY: “Nipple soreness is probably the most common issue that moms have with breastfeeding. Although it is somewhat common, it is also fairly easy to address. Generally nipple soreness is caused by an improper latch, and addressing latching issues early can quickly remedy the soreness. To get a good latch, make sure that baby opens their mouth wide and takes as much nipple tissue into their mouth as possible. Bring baby to the breast chin first. Once they latch one, their nose should be snuggled up close to your breast. Make sure their lips are flanges out. Basically, it should look like they are making fish lips. Their cheeks should be rounded and not sunken in. Look for wiggling ears or movement up around the ears. This indicates that they have a good latch and are feeding properly.” Pumping and breastfeeding can be incredibly demanding and time consuming, so having all of the right “equipment” will help you immensely.
Breastfeeding can also cause more intense pain, but it shouldn’t. Molly says, “A plugged or blocked duct is another issue that many moms will face. Plugged ducts are commonly caused by wearing bras or clothing that is too restrictive or tight. When you start breastfeeding, make sure you invest in a good nursing bra that fits properly and doesn’t have underwire. Also, be aware that you might change sizes a couple of times over the course of your breastfeeding duration. The second cause is when moms become engorged or don’t empty their breasts frequently enough. Make sure that you are offering baby the breast on a frequent basis and if you’re going to miss a feeding session, use a pump.”
Celebrity trainer and new mom Amanda Kloots says that you can help your supply while still eating healthy. “I start every morning with a big bowl of oatmeal and add a scoop of almond butter and banana. Oats really help with milk supply! Drinking water is really important while you are breastfeeding. I try to drink a few big glasses of water every day!”
Get the most of your time at home with your baby by combining a workout with a cuddle session — Amanda sometimes even holds her baby during her workouts! “I like to work my legs while I’m at home with my baby! A great way to tone up your tummy is through your legs. Squats: The series is always 16 squats then hold at the bottom and do 32 counts of small pulses:
- In parallel position
- In an open wide leg plow position
- Curtsy position right leg back
- Curtsy position left leg back.”
Molly adds that you may be stressing over your supply, but you shouldn’t be. “Breastmilk supply is another issue that many women worry about, but it is actually much less common than women think. The overwhelming majority of women are able to produce enough milk to feed their babies. The best way to establish a good supply is to feed your baby at the breast based on their hunger cues. Over the course of the first few weeks of their life, this will really help establish a good milk supply and help set you up for success down the road even if you going to switch to pumping at some point.” She continues, “Breastmilk production is all about supply and demand. The more you remove milk from your breasts the more milk they will make. If you feel like your supply is starting to dip, you can try adding in an extra pumping session or two to give your supply a boost.”