For expectant parents, preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby can be both exciting and intimidating. One of the most important things moms may attempt after their child is born is breastfeeding, which can present some challenges whether they are a new or experienced parent.
At Capital Area Pediatrics, we understand how difficult it can be to get the hang of breastfeeding. That's why we do everything we can to help new parents navigate the challenges that come with growing their family. On April 12th, Capital Area Pediatrics will be hosting a virtual Breastfeeding 101 workshop for new and experienced parents to learn the ropes and avoid making common mistakes when breastfeeding. In light of our upcoming workshop, we've decided to outline 10 common mistakes that parents make when breastfeeding.
1. Not Using A Good Latch
A key component to successful breastfeeding is ensuring that your baby has a secure latch on your breast. If your baby's mouth is not properly attached, they won't be able to get the milk they need and could become frustrated. To avoid an unsuccessful latch, try to get your baby's chin to touch your breast and make sure they have their mouth wide open before attaching.
2. Not Having The Right Equipment
A breast pump, nursing pillow, and other breastfeeding accessories can make all the difference when it comes to successful breastfeeding. Make sure you have the right tools on hand before you start. If you don't have any of these, speak with your pediatrician and/ or lactation consultant about what the best options are for you and your baby.
3. Allowing Your Baby To Fall Asleep At The Breast
To ensure they are receiving enough nutrition, make certain that your infant is actively sucking and swallowing at each breastfeeding session. For instance, an awake and alert baby will get more out of a 15 minute feeding than one who dozes off after 5 minutes. If a child dozes off mid-session, it will not be considered a successful breastfeeding session. Therefore, it's important to keep them stimulated during the experience for optimal nourishment.
4. Not Drinking Or Eating Enough
Staying hydrated is essential for successful breastfeeding, as it helps you produce more milk for your baby's needs. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day, especially when you’ve just given birth and your milk supply is being established. It’s also important that you are eating regular meals throughout the day. A healthy, regular diet and proper water intake are imperative for healthy breastfeeding habits.
5. Not Taking Care Of Yourself, Too
You need to take some time for yourself while breastfeeding, or else you'll become too tired and frustrated with the process. New parents need down time to care for themselves. Make sure you give yourself enough time to sleep, eat, shower, etc., so you can better care for your baby. When you take the necessary self-care time in between feeds to rest and recharge, you can give your baby the best care possible.
6. Ignoring Signs Of Hunger
Early signs of hunger include movements such as lip smacking and rooting (when babies turn their heads from side to side looking for the breast). If these signs are ignored, it could lead to crankiness or frustration which will make it harder for your baby to latch. Try your best to pay attention to your baby's hunger cues and feed them when they indicate that they are ready.
7. Over-Supplementing Without Building Up Your Milk Supply
If you find that your baby is not getting enough milk from breastfeeding, you can supplement their diet with formula to make sure they are getting enough nutrition. However, this should be done in moderation, as it can decrease your milk production over time. In other words, supplement with formula if needed or as instructed by your provider, but you should still continue to try and increase your milk supply with frequent breastfeeding sessions and/ or pumping.
8. Not Listening To Your Body
Pay attention to how your body feels during and after a feeding session. Some women report feeling a sharp pain in the breast or an increased sensitivity, which can indicate that the baby isn’t latching on correctly. If this happens, make sure to adjust the baby's position and try again. If something doesn't feel right while breastfeeding, take note and make an appointment with one of our lactation consultants.
9. Not Breastfeeding On Demand
Breastfeeding on demand, or when your baby cues that they are hungry, will help them get all the nutrition they need without over- or under-feeding. Try to watch for your baby’s feeding cues and feed them as soon as they indicate their hunger.
10. Not Seeking Help
Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are many resources available to help you through this process, including our Breastfeeding 101 workshop on April 12th, which can provide valuable insight on the process and answer any questions you may have. If you have any questions about breastfeeding, don't hesitate to make an appointment with one of our lactation consultants.
Find Help At The Breastfeeding 101 Workshop
Whether you are feeling intimidated by breastfeeding your first child, or you just want to brush up on your knowledge for your second child, our Breastfeeding 101 Workshop is just right for new and expecting parents. You will learn valuable skills like:
- How to prepare for breastfeeding before your baby's birth.
- What you can do in those early days that help set you up for long-term success.
- How support from your care team can make a positive impact on your journey.
- Knowledge of bottles, pumps, and other tools to help support breastfeeding.
The Breastfeeding 101 Workshop is for anyone interested in learning more about breastfeeding, no matter what stage of building your family you are in. If you are interested in attending, please register online today.
If you can't make it to the workshop, don't worry; your CAP pediatrician is always here for whatever you need. We have certified lactation consultants who can help you at any time, as well as primary care providers and newborn care specialists for all of your family’s needs. Schedule an appointment online today to get the guidance you need to keep your baby happy and healthy.
If your child needs pediatric care, Capital Area Pediatrics offers top-tier pediatric care to families at five surrounding locations throughout Northern Virginia. Our dedicated team is committed to providing everything from newborn care and lactation services to mental health services for your child. All of our providers are accepting new patients and would be happy to reconnect with our existing families. Request an appointment online, or find a location near you today.