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4 Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Updated: Dec 16, 2023


4 Tips for Breastfeeding Success

By Stephanie Sublett, MD, IBCLC Ob/Gyn & Breastfeeding Medicine Specialist


Breastfeeding your newborn may seem like a natural process, but it can be overwhelming for many new mothers. The good news is that there is plenty of help available to you. As an OBGYN/IBCLC & breastfeeding medicine specialist, I have seen many women struggle with breastfeeding, especially during their first few days post-birth. That is why I am sharing my top 4 tips to help you prepare for breastfeeding success.


Tip #1: Optimize the Golden Hour


The Golden Hour is the period immediately after delivery, which is the best time for skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby. This is uninterrupted skin to skin contact for the first hour after birth. This contact offers numerous benefits to both you and your baby and increases lactation rates. Even if your baby doesn't latch in the first hour, protecting the Golden Hour after birth still optimizes breastfeeding success. It also helps regulate the baby's temperature, heart rate, and breathing while promoting bonding between you two. Many hospitals really encourage the Golden Hour after birth but make sure to let your healthcare team know about your desire for uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact so it is a priority in your birth plan.


Tip #2: Learn Hand Expression


Hand expression can help you express colostrum (first milk) immediately after delivery, which is useful if you are separated from your baby or are finding it difficult to latch. Hand expression is a simple and effective way to collect your first milk. Expressing colostrum in the first hour after birth, as opposed to hours 2-6 post-delivery, can increase milk production by 130% at 6 weeks¹. Many women find that they can remove milk more quickly using their hands compared to an electric breast pump. Techniques may vary across different cultures, but learning how to hand express colostrum is a skill that every expectant mother should acquire. Check out my FREE Hand Expression Workshop to learn everything you need to know about hand expression and antenatal colostrum collection.


Tip #3: Plan for Lactation Support Postpartum


Lactation support is crucial for breastfeeding success. There are several resources available to help you transition smoothly into breastfeeding after delivery. IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) or Breastfeeding Medicine Physicians, are specialists who can provide you with guidance and support tailored to your specific needs. Research shows that women who receive lactation support have longer breastfeeding duration rates than those who do not². Plan to set aside time for lactation support postpartum, and don't be afraid to ask for help.


Tip #4: Take a Breastfeeding Course


Taking a breastfeeding course can help prepare you for a successful breastfeeding journey. You don't want to wait until after birth to learn the ins and outs of breastfeeding. The process can be complex, and it's best to learn about how to set yourself up for success, positions, and proper latching techniques ahead of time. Taking a breastfeeding course can help lay the foundation for a successful breastfeeding journey. Check out my online breastfeeding course so you can SLAY your breastfeeding journey right out of the gates!


Conclusion:


Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the right support and information, it can be an enjoyable experience for you and your baby. These four tips from an OBGYN/IBCLC & breastfeeding medicine specialist can help you prepare for breastfeeding success. Optimize the Golden Hour by prioritizing breastfeeding, learn how to hand express colostrum, plan for lactation support postpartum, and take a breastfeeding course to lay the foundation for success. Remember, you are not meant to do this alone, and there are resources available to help you along the way. Good luck, and congratulations on your breastfeeding journey!


References:


  1. Parker LA, Sullivan S, Krueger C, Mueller M. Association of Timing of Initiation of Breast- milk Expression on Milk Volume and Timing of Lactogenesis Stage II Among Mothers of Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants Breastfeeding Medi- cine. 2015, 10(2): 84-91

  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama-health-forum/fullarticle/2802093


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