Your breastfeeding journey
8/22/2022 by Megan Dubbels, R.N., and Kara Fine, M.D.
Whether you're pregnant, planning for pregnancy or you've welcomed your new family addition — congratulations. Parenthood is an incredible journey.
Breastfeeding is an excellent source of nutrition for your baby. It also creates a powerful bond between baby and caregiver.
Here are tips for success on your breastfeeding journey:
- Ask for help from your care team.
If breastfeeding isn't going the way you imagined, Mayo's experts can help. Remember, you are not alone.
- Breastfeeding shouldn't be painful.
Pain can indicate an issue with your baby's latch or another problem. Certified lactation counselors or consultants in primary care can work with you and your baby to optimize feedings.
- Follow your baby's lead.
Your primary care team will closely monitor your baby's weight. Ensuring your baby is making the appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers is something that will be discussed. Watch for cues that will let you know when your baby is hungry. Some early signs include lip smacking and sucking on hands or fingers. Crying is typically considered a late sign of hunger. This means it can be harder to get your baby to feed. In early life, babies need to eat every two to three hours. Once hunger has been quenched, your baby should be more relaxed and satisfied.
- Use your support system.
It's especially important to take care of yourself. Have your partner burp the baby and spend time with them after you have finished feeding. This gives you the time to rest, take a shower or do something for yourself that you enjoy. Accept help from friends and family. Raising an infant takes a village.
Megan Dubbels, R.N., is a registered nurse and certified lactation counselor in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson's Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
Kara Fine, M.D., is a physician in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson's Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.