1 . Breastfeeding
It s been six weeks since our daughter, Clementine, was born. She s finally sleeping better and going longer between feedings. She s also becoming more alert when she s awake. My husband and I, on the other hand, feel like we ve been hit by a truck. I m amazed that we ve muddled through. Here are tips from seasoned parents and baby experts to make your first month easier.
2 . Hints for Nursing
Babies eat and eat and eat. Although nature has done a pretty good job of providing you and your baby with the right equipment, in the beginning it s almost guaranteed to be harder than you expected. From sore nipples to tough latch ons, nursing can seem overwhelming.
3 . Women who seek help have a higher success rate
Think of ways to ensure success before you even give birth, suggests Stacey Brosnan, a lactation consultant in New York City. Talk with friends who had a good nursing experience, ask baby s pediatrician for a lactation consultant s number, or attend a La Leche League (nursing support group) meeting (see laleche.org to find one).
4 . Use hospital resources
Kira Sexton, a Brooklyn, New York, mom, says, I learned everything I could aboutbreastfeedingbefore I left the hospital. Ask if there s a nursing class or a lactation consultant on staff. Push the nurse call button each time you re ready to feed the baby, and ask a nurse to spot you and offer advice.
5 . Prepare
At home, you ll want to drop everything to feed the baby the moment she cries for you. But Heather O Donnell, a mom in New York City, suggests taking care of yourself first. Get a glass of water and a book or magazine to read. And, because breastfeeding can take a while, she says, pee first!
6 . Try a warm compress
if your breasts are engorged or you have blocked ducts. A heating pad or a warm, wet washcloth works, but a flax pillow (often sold with natural beauty products) is even better. Heat it in the microwave, and conform it to your breast, says Laura Kriska, a mom in Brooklyn, New York.
7 . Heat helps the milk flow
if your breasts are sore after nursing, try a cold pack. Amy Hooker, a San Diego mom, says, A bag of frozen peas worked really well for me.
8 . If you want baby to eventually take a bottle
introduce it after breastfeeding is established but before the 3 month mark. Many experts say 6 to 8 weeks is good, but we started each of our kids on one bottle a day at 3 weeks, says Jill Sizemore, a mom in Pendleton, Indiana.
9 . Sleeping
If yourinfantisn t eating, he s probably sleeping. Newborns log as many as 16 hours of sleep a day but only in short bursts. The result: You ll feel on constant alert and more exhausted than you ever thought possible. Even the best of us can come to resent the severesleep deprivation.
10 . Stop obsessing about being tired
There s only one goal right now: Care for your baby. You re not going to get a full night s sleep, so you can either be tired and angry or just tired, says Vicki Lansky, author ofGetting Your Child to Sleep…and Back to Sleep(Book Peddlers). Just tired is easier.