The 8 Biggest Mistakes New Breastfeeding Mothers Make
1. Inspecting and obsessing over every poop.
The poop obsession
Oh boy how we love to talk about our baby’s poop! While it’s of course very important that you take note of how often your baby poops (this lets you know if he is getting enough) it’s not a big deal if there are variations. Sometimes it may look a bit green, sometimes it will be a little bit more runny than usual, sometimes your baby may poop a lot one day and just a few times the next day. As your baby gets older you may find that he starts to skip days and that’s normal too! For more information on your baby’s nappy (diaper) output, head here!
2. Obsessing over how the latch looks.
The latch obsession
Oh how I did this as a new mother! We are continually told how our baby’s latch “looks great!” or “doesn’t look right”. Unfortunately most of the time these comments are thrown around without actually ever asking the mother what she thinks and whether or not breastfeeding is painful for her, how her baby’s weight gain has been or how long the breastfeeds last for. All of these questions must be asked to form a complete history of how breastfeeding is going. The bottom line, it doesn’t matter how the latch looks. It matters how the latch feels, if the baby is growing and what their nappy output looks like. That’s it! Don’t worry about the latch unless there is a REASON to worry about that latch. Head here for more information on this!
3. Trying to feed your baby on a schedule.
It’s incredibly frustrating for many women who are told their baby should be on a feed, play, sleep schedule. It actually makes NO sense for breastfed babies. Breastmilk supply works on supply and demand and the baby needs to be in charge of this to make sure you are going to be able to make enough. There are also many reasons babies breastfeed for and the only way we can know they are getting what they need is by putting them in charge and following their lead. Schedules are for doctor’s offices…not babies. Head here for find out more on why the “feed, play, sleep” schedules make no sense!
4. Worrying about, “But you can’t be hungry again, I just fed you!”
Just latch them on and smile!
I definitely said this when I had my first baby! “How can you be hungry again??!” And then we start to doubt what we are doing. Are we feeding too often? Surely he must need something else? But the reality is that breastfeeding is usually exactly what they need. When in doubt…whip it out! Babies breastfeed for hunger, pain relief, thirst, comfort, because they are bored, going through a growth spurt…the list goes on and on! Always offer the breast first. 9 times out of 10 that will be what they are looking for. Here are 15 reasons your child wants to breastfeed so frequently…
5. Worrying that your baby is waking too often at night.
Photo from my book, “Boobin’ All Day…Boobin’ All Night. A Gentle Approach To Sleep For Breastfeeding Families”
It is the biological norm for babies and toddlers to continue to wake frequently to breastfeed. Children who wake to breastfeed do not have “sleep problems”. They do not have a “sleep disorder”. They do not need to be trained to fall asleep on their own. Children need cuddles and breastfeeds to fall and stay asleep…not sleep training. For more on sleep check out my bookor my articles on sleep challenges.
6. Being convinced that your baby has a sleep/nap problem because they won’t nap for more than 40 minutes.
Boobin’ on the go! A great way for them to get a nap in.
Most babies will only nap for about 40 minutes. This is completely normal! To encourage your baby to take longer naps you can lay down with them (often times babies will sleep better when they are with someone). You can also be right there to breastfeed them quickly back to sleep if they wake after a short time. I call this the “nap boob” and it can help you get an extra hour of sleep!
7. Taking your health care providers advice to supplement with expressed milk or formula without having an understanding as to WHY or even IF your baby is not getting enough and not having a long term plan to reach your breastfeeding goals.
There are 8 crucial steps to take if you have been told to supplement. These include: asking your doctor for a detailed description as to WHY they are recommending supplementing and WHY your baby is not gaining enough weight, having a short term and long term plan on where to go from here, work with an IBCLC or other breastfeeding specialist. Head here for detailed information on supplementing and how to get back on track.
8. Obsessing about “wind”, “colic” or crankiness.
The gas obsession
Here is the deal with wind…all babies fart, poop and burp and most get cranky about it. For most babies there is a simple answer…keep offering the breast, carry them as much as possible, cuddle them and just generally be there with your baby hanging out skin to skin. This helps settle them. Sometimes we think it’s gas when it’s actually just your baby needing some quiet time with you.
There are of course times where this crankiness is not normal! Babies who are very unsettled, cry all the time and are not easily settled at the breast could have a variety of different things going on (food intolerance, breastmilk supply issues- too much/too little, tongue tie…amongst others). Please head HEREfor information on gassy babies and HERE for information on tongue and lip ties.
We all worry when we have a baby! Basically all we do is worry. 90% of the time most of us are convinced that our baby has something wrong with them. We are bombarded by information, advice and annoying comments from people 24/7! Remember to trust your instincts and follow the lead of your baby. You know more than you realize…and it’s exhausting being a mother. Take the time to just hang out with your baby skin to skin. This simple thing solves most challenges.