Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a new mom could have.
You’re finally holding your bundle of joy in your arms. You have the opportunity to nourish your child with love and good nutrition.
Your breasts start producing liquid gold – the only source of food for your newborn.
Feeding a newborn baby can be an incredible adventure.
When done well, breastfeeding is extremely healthy and satisfying for both mom and child.
While breastfeeding may seem like a walk in the park, it’s one of the biggest challenges new mothers face.
In a bid to be perfect for your baby, many nursing mothers tend to make breastfeeding mistakes.
These mistakes can quickly make breastfeeding uncomfortable and a less pleasurable feeling for you and your baby.
The good news: As an experienced mother with her fair share of trials and tribulations, I know how challenging your breastfeeding years can be.
As you tag along, you’ll discover 15 breastfeeding mistakes to avoid to keep your baby and
your breasts healthy.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are the common problems of breastfeeding?
- 1.1 Mistake 1: Feeding on a Strict Timetable
- 1.2 Mistake 2: Ignoring your baby’s feeding cues
- 1.3 Mistake 3: Introducing your baby to a bottle too early
- 1.4 Mistake 4: You believe breastmilk and formula milk are the same
- 1.5 Mistake 5: You think pain is normal
- 1.6 Mistake 7: Feeding your baby anytime it cries
- 1.7 Mistake 8: Reducing the number of breastfeedings because the baby is too fat
- 1.8 Mistake 9: Avoiding feeding your baby at night
- 1.9 Mistake 10: Avoiding breastfeeding when you’re sick
- 1.10 Mistake 11: Extracting too much milk with a pump
- 1.11 Mistake 12: Uncomfortable position during breastfeeding and incorrect latching on
- 1.12 Mistake 13: Ignoring your hunger and thirst
- 1.13 Mistake 14: Believing a baby doesn’t want to breastfeed because he cries or falls asleep after one or two sucks.
- 1.14 Mistake 15: Making unnecessary changes to your diet
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common problems of breastfeeding?
Let’s dig right in!
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Mistake 1: Feeding on a Strict Timetable
It’s completely normal for new mothers to try and over-prepare for their babies. Most times, overpreparing can include putting your baby on a strict feeding timetable.
Although following a program to feed your baby is a good idea, it can be counterproductive.
The reason is – Your baby may not want to fit into that schedule. Breastfeeding entails way more than just suckling milk – Some babies are little snackers, so rather than sucking, they just hang around the breast.
Some babies want to feel a connection, the safety, and the closeness of their mother.
Rather than feeding on a strict timetable, you should learn your baby’s specific hunger cues and feed on demand. Always watch the baby, not the clock!
In fact, following a schedule can actually decrease your overall milk supply.
Since your body responds to the demand for milk, the more you feed, the more your body produces.
Mistake 2: Ignoring your baby’s feeding cues
If you want to avoid breastfeeding mistakes, it’s essential you learn to recognize your baby’s hunger cues.
More so, your new baby has a small stomach that digests natural milk surprisingly fast. Your baby may need to feed more frequently than every 3 hours.
By implementing responsive feeding, you’ll ensure your baby gets an adequate amount of milk while keeping your breasts healthy.
Mistake 3: Introducing your baby to a bottle too early
One questionable mistake many new mothers make is introducing their babies to the milk bottle too early.
Whether you are in a hurry to rush back to work or you don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding, introducing your baby to a bottle too early is a bad call.
Although feeding by bottle may be convenient for you, it is crucial you avoid feeding your baby with a bottle too early.
Without establishing breastfeeding, your baby may refuse to be breastfed later on.
Top tip: If you cannot but introduce bottle feeding, make sure you start only after 6-8 weeks.
Mistake 4: You believe breastmilk and formula milk are the same
One common myth many new mothers believe is breastmilk and formula milk is the same. On the contrary, there is a substantial difference between the two.
In every scenario, human milk comes out superior.
There’s no replica for nature’s perfect food – Human milk from the breast.
Breastmilk contains a load of nutrients that satisfies every of your baby’s nutritional needs.
What’s more? Human milk is living food – the contents evolve with your baby’s needs.
On the other hand, formula milk also has high nutritional value but does not contain certain immunity-boosting elements found only in breastmilk.
If you’re new to motherhood, don’t make a mistake and underrate the power of your breastmilk. You should opt for formula milk only during an emergency or on the advice of a physician.
Mistake 5: You think pain is normal
Pain is never normal. If you’re feeling pain during breastfeeding, there’s something wrong.
Although many mothers may feel discomfort during the early stages of breastfeeding, persistent pain is a sign you need to visit your doctor or a Lactation consultant.
The cause of breastfeeding pain varies from mother to mother. You can feel pain if you breastfeed in the wrong position, your baby’s latch is uncomfortable, or even breast engorgement.
So, if you’re feeling pain during your breastfeeding journey, make sure you visit your doctor or Lactation specialist.
Chances are, the cause of the pain can be discovered and treated.
Your doctor may suggest simple tricks to help relieve the pain and keep your baby and your breasts healthier.
Mistake 6: You hesitate to ask for help
Although breastfeeding is an intuitive process, it often comes with its challenges.
As a new mother, it’s not uncommon to make certain breastfeeding mistakes.
Another big mistake you can make as a mother is refusing to ask for help.
New mothers might inevitably make mistakes. Heck! Even seasoned mothers make mistakes too.
The most efficient way to avoid breastfeeding mistakes is to ask for help.
Hesitating to ask for help can only complicate your challenges.
You can consult your friends, experienced mothers, your spouse, and your doctor or Lactation consultant when you are struggling with a challenge.
By communicating your problem, you will learn beneficial tips and have better discernment when it comes to breastfeeding.
Top tip: Asking for help also keeps your loved ones in the loop.
Mistake 7: Feeding your baby anytime it cries
Most mothers make the mistake of sticking their breasts into their baby’s mouth whenever they hear it cry.
However, a baby crying doesn’t always signal hunger.
As a mother, you should consider other numerous possibilities.
Your baby can cry because of a bellyache, colic, tiredness, discomfort, and illness.
In some cases, your baby may just want attention and love.
Mistake 8: Reducing the number of breastfeedings because the baby is too fat
Contrary to popular belief, a breastfed baby cannot be overfed.
In fact, baby fat is normal and healthy for your baby.
When you feed your baby with demand, it will grow correctly into a healthy baby.
Even if your baby seems plump, don’t put it on a diet – your baby will naturally stop eating when it’s full.
Most babies are not fat. It is essential you observe your baby’s weight with a percentile chart.
However, an overweight baby can have problems crawling or walking later.
If you notice a rapid weight gain or weight loss, you should consult your pediatrician, who will search for the underlying cause.
Mistake 9: Avoiding feeding your baby at night
Nighttime breastfeeding is daytime feeding with extra benefits.
Your breastmilk changes in response to your baby’s needs.
At night, your breastmilk contains more calories and unsaturated fatty acids that are crucial for your baby’s development.
If you’ve ruled out feeding at night, it’s time to reconsider.
If your baby is a sleepyhead and spends all night sleeping, you don’t have to wake him up to feed.
But when your baby wakes up, rather than satisfying him with a pacifier, breastfeed him with night milk.
More so, your body’s prolactin level is higher at night, and feeding at night will help you boost your milk production tremendously.
Mistake 10: Avoiding breastfeeding when you’re sick
Sadly, there are no off days when you’re a mother, even when you’re sick.
Many mums make the mistake of denying their babies breastmilk when they are ill because they are scared of transferring their sickness to their babies.
The good news is – feeding your baby when you have the flu won’t make your baby ill.
In fact, when you breastfeed during an illness, you transfer antibodies that will help your baby fight against the infection in the future.
Mistake 11: Extracting too much milk with a pump
Pumping milk is an excellent way to save milk for your baby when you’re not available.
However, in a bid to always have a good milk supply for their baby, some mothers extract too much milk.
Extracting too much milk signals to the body to increase breast milk production. This may cause breast fullness and painful engorgement.
What’s more? Extracting too much milk can cause nipple and breast tissue damage.
If you’re on the hunt for an effective breast pump, the double Electric Breast Feeding Pump is for you.
Mistake 12: Uncomfortable position during breastfeeding and incorrect latching on
Many mums believe enduring uncomfortable positions during breastfeeding means they are doing it right.
This cannot be farther from the truth.
According to a recent study, breasting in awkward positions can affect milk production.
Don’t be afraid to experiment till you find a position that you’re comfortable in. I recommend trying the underarm breast position.
Top tip: You can also try nursing pillows that can help ease your breastfeeding journey.
I found Boppy Nursing Pillow on Amazon and it worked perfectly for me.
The Boppy nursing Pillow provides relief to your arms and back by lifting your baby to a more ergonomic position when breastfeeding or bottle feeding
Mistake 13: Ignoring your hunger and thirst
Breastfeeding can be draining — literally.
To make breastmilk, your body uses the rich nutrients in muscles, blood, bone, and even your diet.
Naturally, your body will even demand more nutrients to meet the demands of your baby.
If you make the mistake of ignoring your hunger and focusing entirely on your baby, you might end up depleting your nutritional reserves.
But I’ve been there – taking care of newborn leaves less time for yourself.
Attending to your diet is one of the best ways you can keep your baby healthy while breastfeeding.
I recommend you try prenatal vitamins to boost your nutrition levels up.
One prenatal vitamin I’d recommend is Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamin
The comprehensive prenatal to postnatal women’s multivitamin is specifically formulated to meet the unique needs of women during pre-conception, pregnancy and lactation.
Mistake 14: Believing a baby doesn’t want to breastfeed because he cries or falls asleep after one or two sucks.
It’s not uncommon for babies to give up when they are not latched on to your breast correctly.
Most times, it needs hands-on help to start the milk flow. If he is easily slipping off the breast, his latch isn’t good enough.
Before you opt for a pacifier or a bottle, try and position the nipple far back in his mouth.
Mistake 15: Making unnecessary changes to your diet
Your diet is fine. You can still eat your favorite cake when you are breastfeeding.
Asides from changing the taste of your breastmilk slightly, your diet won’t have any effect on your baby.
In fact, the change in breastmilk taste will prep your baby for a regular diet.
During your nursing, your appetites will probably shoot through the roof, and there’s no need to hold back.
In some cases, few babies can have allergic reactions to certain foods. With time, you’ll learn what works for your baby and what does not.
Top tip: I recommend you eat a balanced diet. Ensure you avoid taking excess alcohol and caffeine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 15 minutes of Nursing Enough?
15 minutes of nursing is perfectly fine. Short breastfeeding sessions should not be a cause for alarm, except if your baby is having trouble putting on weight.
What is the shortest amount of time you should breastfeed?
Every baby is different.
For newborns, 20-45 minutes for each session may suffice for them.
Since babies are always sleepy, they may spend 15 minutes breastfeeding before they fall
Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics