Did you know that more than three out of four newborns are breastfed? While the numbers at birth start high, they drop significantly by the six-month mark when less than one out of five babies are exclusively breastfed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, if possible. Breastfeeding is a journey that is unique to every mom. Here are our top eight breastfeeding tips to help new moms meet their breastfeeding goals.
Use a breastfeeding app
Technology can provide wonderful tools to support your breastfeeding journey. Use a free app, like MyMedela, to monitor key stats and milestones and help keep you and baby on track. MyMedela also includes a clinically developed Breastfeeding Confidence Assessment, which evaluates goals and enables the app to provide customized advice based on your individual needs. There’s also a Problem Solver tool, with answers to common breastfeeding and breast pumping questions.
Let your newborn set the pace
Many moms worry about baby getting too little or too much milk. When you breastfeed, trust your baby to set the pace. Most newborns feed every two or three hours. More frequent “cluster” feeding is also common. Remember that most babies, whether bottle or breastfed, lose between 5 and 9 percent of their birth weight and regain it in the first two weeks. Rest assured – your pediatrician will be monitoring your baby’s growth over time. If you are still unsure, reach out to your health care provider or a lactation consultant.
Get your $0 copay pump
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows you to get a breast pump and coverage for a lactation consultant with $0 copay. If you already own a pump, consider a second one for ease and convenience when you’re on the go; it’ll save you from schlepping your pump! Avoid a second-hand pump – most personal-use pumps have a one-year warranty and if the motor isn’t working effectively, you may not get the milk output your baby needs. Find out what your insurance might cover by using our easy lookup tool.
Take advantage of tax benefits
Did you know you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) funds to cover the cost of an ACA breast pump upgrade, breastfeeding accessories and additional supplies? This tax benefit can help you cut costs, so keep this in mind during your open enrollment period at work – you may want to add to the year’s funds. Learn more about getting Medela breastfeeding essentials covered by your flexible spending account.
Check nipple shields and breast shields
One of the most common breastfeeding struggles for newborns is establishing the proper latch. Moms facing this challenge can use nipple shields to encourage babies to latch. Because one size does not fit all, we recommend starting with our breast shield sizing guide, designed to guide you with Medela breast shield sizing. If you need additional guidance, your healthcare provider or lactation consultant are available to help you to find the size that works best for you. Breast shields are most effective when the right size is being used.
Help with let-down
When you’re back at work or simply away from baby and have to pump, let-down can be difficult. To encourage let-down and assist in the pumping process, have a picture of your baby nearby or play a video of your baby crying – this can be surprisingly effective.
Pump for two more minutes
To encourage optimum milk production, don’t stop pumping right after your breast has been emptied. Pump for two minutes after your breast feels drained to facilitate increased milk production over time.
Plan ahead for a successful transition back to work
Just as you’ve planned carefully for your baby’s arrival, plan for the day you’ll head back to work to ensure that breastfeeding continues to go smoothly. Some things to consider include: finding which pump is best for your working conditions, establishing a pumping routine, learning more about your workplace rights and knowing what supplies you’ll need to pump, store and clean your breast milk accessories. You can find all sorts of tips for successful breastfeeding from other working moms at MedelaAtWork.com.