Many times new mothers fail at breastfeeding because everyone around them makes it seem so complicated. They have little experience with babies and nobody instills confidence in them. Some will tell them it’s a big sacrifice, painful and difficult. Others will hint that everyone should do it, putting more pressure on the new mother.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice, not a “must” do. The following tips pertain to healthy, full-term babies. They will help new mothers be successful. Topics include: How to prevent nipple soreness, Worries about milk supply, Latching on, Nutrition, and Night Feedings.

New mothers often think that nipple pain comes from the baby sucking. This is not the cause. Instead it is caused by the milk bursting through the nipple. Keep in mind that milk has never come through it before. The nipple isn’t used to expanding. The problem can be solved by using a nipple cream called Lanolin. Start putting it on two weeks before the baby is due at least twice a day. This will keep the nipple moist and more able to expand when the milk comes through. Once you start nursing you can continue to apply the Lanolin after each feeding. When you no longer have any discomfort, you can stop the Lanolin. It is possible to still have some discomfort. Don’t let this stop you from nursing. Nursing will help the nipple get used to it.

Often time mothers fear they don’t have enough milk or they are impatient for milk to come in. They start giving the baby a bottle of formula. There are a couple things you have to trust in. 1. The baby only needs colostrum the first couple days. 2. There really is colostrum (early breast milk) in your breast. 3. Your milk will be there when the baby needs it. If you give your baby a bottle, the baby gets the satisfaction of instant milk. Breasts work slower than bottles. Your baby could end up opting for the easier alternative and refuse to latch on. It may only take one or two bottles for you baby to decide they like the bottle. It’s also advice to not give them any pacifiers. The safe age for trying a bottle or pacifier is six weeks.

When new mothers see the tiny mouth of their baby, they wonder “How will that little mouth ever cover the entire areola around the nipple.” Some people tend to be intense about making sure baby opens his mouth wide enough to cover it. How easy is it to get a tired newborn to open their mouth wide? The newborn mouth doesn’t have to cover the entire areola, but it should surround about one inch of it. Nurses help new mothers with latching on techniques and different positions. It does seem awkward at first, but with practice it will become smoother. Keep in mind that if your nipple hurts, this doesn’t necessarily mean the baby isn’t latched on correctly. Some pain is normal in the beginning. A lot of times newborns fall asleep at the breast. To release the baby’s mouth put your finger in the corner of their mouth to break the seal. Doing this any other way is painful.

Sometimes if a baby sleeps over three hours, people become concerned and want you to wake them up to feed. They believe that if you don’t nurse every three hours your milk won’t come in sufficiently. This is another myth. A tired baby won’t eat much until they are hungry enough. Milk will come in even if you don’t nurse at all. Any nursing at all will stimulate even more. The most important factor to sustaining a good milk supply is to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. Women need six to ten glasses of water a day. Fatigue can cause a reduction in breast milk. Family members can help around the house in the early weeks.

Some believe that breastfeeding is more exhausting because you have to get up and nurse the baby several times a night. The theory being that breast milk doesn’t satisfy the baby as long as formula. This is false. A benefit of nursing is that you can feed the baby lying down, making it easier to get more rest. You don’t have to go into the kitchen and warm up bottles. There are other factors that will determine how often you get up. Maintaining a regular bedtime helps the baby get into a routine. It’s also important that the baby (unless they are a newborn) be awake at least a couple hours before bedtime. If you have trouble keeping them awake, try giving your baby a bath. They always wake up and usually enjoy baths.