Today’s very timely (at least for me) guest post is from Jen, who blogs at Life With Levi. According to Jen, she is a “boring business analyst by day, part-time college student by night, and a rockstar mommy ‘round the clock.”
Breastfeeding can be tough, but it’s also an extremely rewarding relationship you can build with your child. Often, it’s the first few days or weeks that are the hardest. Once you get the hang of things, it gets much easier.
Here are my 5 Tips for New Breastfeeding Moms:
Plan For Breastfeeding
If you know you want to breastfeed, put some plans in place before baby arrives to make things easier. Many hospitals now offer breastfeeding classes. If you can’t attend one in-person, use online sources like KellyMom.com or books from your local library to see what a good latch looks like and examples of different holds to use to position your child while nursing.
Don’t be afraid to include requests about breastfeeding in your birth plan. Whether you deliver vaginally or via c-section, you can still request assistance and support for nursing your child. Your doctor, midwife, or doula are also great resources.
Get Your Partner Involved
At the very least, your partner should know what’s going on and be able to offer emotional support. I remember crying when Levi wouldn’t latch properly. My husband leaned over, gave my shoulder a squeeze and told me I was doing a good job. He asked if there was anything he could do to help. There wasn’t, but just knowing that he was there and willing to support me made things easier.
Reach Out For Support
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to reach out for support – it would just magically appear when we need it. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, sometimes we need to ask for help. There are TONS of great breastfeeding resources to help you out.
- Hospital lactation consultants – many hospitals have an on-site lactation program and have certified lactation consultants available to help you establish a strong breastfeeding relationship after your birth. Most are also available to answer follow up questions once you’re back home, and some will even schedule follow up appointments to assist with proper technique.
- Local breastfeeding support groups – La Leche League is probably the most common, but many doctor’s clinics and even maternity stores are starting to offer lactation support resources
- Your friends and family – If you know someone that’s breastfed their child, ask them for advice if you need help. Odds are they’ve been through a similar situation and can offer insight or a sympathetic ear.
- Online support – Twitter, Facebook, online message boards – any time of day, there’s a good chance there’s another breastfeeding mom online who’s willing to help out. There are also lots of bloggers that write about breastfeeding, including myself.
Do What Works For You
If you run into obstacles breastfeeding in the beginning, please try not to stress too much. (I know, easier said than done, right?) Breastfeeding does not have to be all-or-nothing. Figure out what works for you. It could mean supplementing with formula, using donor milk, or exclusively pumping instead of nursing.
We all have different circumstances. For me, it was two breast surgeries shortly after my son was born that prevented me from nursing in the traditional sense. Instead, I’ve been exclusively pumping for nearly a year.
Find A Cheerleader
Find someone that will cheer you on and help you focus on all the things you are doing well.
You say: Baby has a shallow latch.
Your cheerleader says: That can be fixed. Plus, you already have the cradle hold down pat.
You say: I’ve been nursing for two weeks and I still feel like I don’t have the hang of it.
Your cheerleader says: Two weeks?! That’s awesome!!! Even though it’s tough, I bet it’s easier than those first few days. I’m sure the next few weeks will get even better.
If you would like to try breastfeeding, plan for it, use your support system, and do what works for you.
It’s SOOOO worth it!