A Quick Guide on Breastfeeding for New Moms and Moms-to-be

Do you feel you are not ready to breastfeed your baby or have too many questions and no answers? Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not something you instinctively know how to do. Therefore, a basic understanding of breastfeeding is the first step to providing your bundle of joy with the best care.

New moms or moms-to-be, have you ever wondered what breastfeeding dos and don’ts are? Well, look no further, because here are some tips to empower and help you navigate this new journey.

When can I start breastfeeding my baby?

You should start feeding the baby as soon as possible. Women who have normal vaginal delivery should initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of delivery, while those who have a cesarean delivery can start breastfeeding within the first 4 hours.

The first thick yellow breast milk, also called the colostrum is highly essential and nutritious for the baby. It should never be discarded. Moreover, you should not feed your baby anything besides breast milk, especially honey, as it may cause infections.

How frequently and how long should I feed my baby?

As soon as your baby shows signs of hunger, you should breastfeed. Look out for the following hunger signals:

  • Waking up after a nap
  • Crying
  • Shifting their head as though searching for the breast
  • Sucking on their hands, lips, or tongue

If you are unable to recognize the signs, you can breast feed every 3-4 hours in the day and every 4-6 hours at night

Though some babies complete feeding in 5 minutes, others may need 20 minutes or more.

How can I check whether my baby is receiving enough breast milk?

You can know your baby is receiving enough breast milk by:

  • Checking their diapers: newborns should have four or more bowel movements in a day and at least four or five wet diapers in a day.
  • Ask your doctor to weigh your baby to see if they are gaining weight.

Will I face any problems while breastfeeding?

Many mothers face no problems during breastfeeding. Although challenges can arise occasionally. Here, we can discuss common breastfeeding problems.


This means you are not emptying your breastmilk completely and so your breast is still left with milk even after feeding which can lead to swollen breasts, making it difficult for the newborn to feed and cause pain while feeding.

Painful or sore nipples

It’s normal to experience nipple soreness, but it is uncommon to experience it for the entire duration of a breastfeeding session. At times, nipple cracks, blisters, or bruising may cause soreness. Besides, tongue ties in babies also make it hard for them to move their tongues as smoothly as they should and cause nipple pain.

Blocked milk ducts

A blocked milk duct can bring about a red and painful breast lump. Additionally, it may give rise to a white plug at the tip of the nipple.

Nipple color changes

The nipples might become sore and turn white, blue, or red. If you are sensitive to cold, this is more likely to occur. It may also occur if your nipple is injured, which would be the case if your baby has trouble latching on.

Breast infections

“Mastitis” refers to an infection of the breast which may occur if the breast milk is not completely emptied after feeding. The common symptoms are fever and swollen breasts.

Call your doctor for assistance if you have any of these symptoms.

What should I do if I face difficulty while breastfeeding?

Rest assured, you can resolve most of the difficulties and continue breastfeeding. While a few remedies and practices can be a part of daily routine, some conditions call for medical attention.

  • Make sure the baby is latching on to the whole areola (brown area) and not just the nipple. This makes sure baby is taking in the milk properly
  • If your baby doesn’t empty your breast, you can pump more milk out of your breast using a breast pump or your hand after the feeding.
  • Alternate between the two breast for feeding.
  • In between feeding sessions, you may place a cool towel or ice pack on your breasts.
  • You can apply breast milk or lanolin ointment to your nipples if they are cracked or raw.
  • If you have pain or swelling (mastitis) in the breast, the most crucial thing is to not stop feeding and make sure you completely empty out the breast by using a breast pump or massage your breasts while you breastfeed, and stick to antibiotic medications prescribed by your doctor. Do not worry! This milk is not dangerous for the baby.
  • Do your best to breastfeed as often as possible if you have a clogged milk duct. You can and try various nursing positions to try to make the breasts as empty as possible,
  • When your kid is older and begins to eat solid foods, they may occasionally bite your nipple while you are nursing. If this occurs, you should reposition the child so that their mouth is open widely while being breastfed. By doing so, your child won’t easily bite.
  • You can also take a warm shower or gently massage your breasts to improve your milk flow.
  • If you observe any colour changes in your nipples, you can cover your breasts with a warm towel before and after breastfeeding.

When should I visit my doctor?

Consult your doctor right away if you have:

  • A clogged milk duct is persistent after three days.
  • Fever and notice a firm, red, and swollen breast lump.
  • The nipples are dripping with blood.
  • You experience pain throughout the breastfeeding session.

All in all, a woman’s greatest gift to her baby is breastfeeding. As with anything, breastfeeding has highs and lows, and there are times when you will enjoy it very much, and other times when you will feel challenged-but in the end, you will appreciate that you stuck with it.

If you experience any difficulty during breastfeeding, don’t delay consulting your doctor. Receiving the proper medical counselling and care is the only way to steer clear of any related medical complications.

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