Nurturing New Beginnings: A New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding
In celebration of National Breastfeeding Month in August, we’re spotlighting the health and emotional benefits that breastfeeding offers to both mothers and babies. Navigating new motherhood is complex, and adjusting to breastfeeding can take significant time, so we’ve pulled together information and resources to support the early weeks and beyond.
Everyone’s feeding journey looks different with an infant. There are many routes to ensure your little one gets the right nutrients – latching, pumping, using donor breastmilk through a milk bank, or formula supplementation are some of the options new parents have. Your lactation consultant or healthcare professional can help you uncover what works best for you and your newest addition. No matter your choice, you are an incredible parent just by supporting your child’s developmental growth. The goal is to have a healthy, thriving baby!
The benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has health benefits for both babies and mothers. Packed with antibodies that fend off viruses and bacteria, breast milk offers nutrition and support for babies’ growth and development.
Is my baby getting enough milk?
Human breastmilk functions on a supply and demand basis. The more you remove breastmilk, the more your body produces. To keep a good supply amount, aim to breastfeed or pump at least 8 times in a 24-hour period, or every two to three hours in your baby’s early days.
In the early weeks, avoid extra pumping sessions unless you are uncomfortable, or your baby is not nursing efficiently. Overdoing it can create an oversupply which can be difficult to navigate down the road.
For low milk supply concerns, keep removing milk every two to three hours and snuggle up for skin-to-skin time with your little one. Rest and relaxation are key in helping your body recover and support milk production. If you continue to have concerns about a low supply, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant.
Navigating the early days
It’s common for moms to experience discomfort when milk comes in after giving birth. Initial pain during the first 30 seconds of baby’s latch is also normal. If the pain lingers, check that your baby has a deep latch and is in a good position. You can apply breastfeeding creams between feedings to keep the skin moisturized and help heal cracks or wounds. But if breastfeeding pain persists or you are experiencing bleeding or wounds, it is important that you contact your lactation consultant or your healthcare provider.
Embracing the journey
Ask for help! If concerns arise during your feeding journey, you don’t have to do it alone! Every pregnancy and baby are unique, so it’s important to meet yourself – and your baby – where you are at.
Within our community, there are valuable lactation resources you can lean on. Our Family Connects nurses are certified lactation specialists who can offer support over the phone or at home visits. Breastfeeding and pumping are hard work, so knowing your resources can make an enormous difference, especially in the beginning. Remember that whatever feeding journey works best for your family is the right one!
Free local resources for lactation support
OSF Breastfeeding Resource Center; 309-683-6673
Carle Health Lactation; 309-672-4242
Peoria County WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor; 309-679-6187
Tazewell County WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor; 309-267-7713
Illinois Family Connects-Peoria County; 309-687-7433
Kelly Mom; evidence-based breastfeeding information
Breastfeeding Support Hotline; 1-888-588-3423 or text BFHOTLINE to 839863 to speak with a lactation professional 24 hours/day