Breastfeeding for Beginners
If you are considering breastfeeding your baby or are just getting started, let me first say, good for you! Breastfeeding helps get your baby off to a great, healthy start. Breast milk is a complete source of nutrition and helps to protect children from certain illnesses and allergies for years to come. For information on how to pump, store, and prepare expressed breast milk, click here.
For many new moms, however, breastfeeding can be an overwhelming process. With my first child, it was a good three weeks before I could actually relax when I nursed her. I know some babies latch right on, but for many mothers like myself, it requires patience and persistence.
Here are a few things that I recommend in my practice to all new breastfeeding moms:
Eat healthy. Since your baby’s nutrition is coming from your breast milk, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids so you stay hydrated and maximize your milk supply.
Get support. Some people experience challenges when they start breastfeeding. Whether you are feeling pain, can’t seem to find the right position, or have other questions, seek out help. There are lactation consultants that can assist you in getting on the right track. To find one in your area, click here.
Share tricks of the trade. Look for support groups in your area, a lot can be gained by meeting women who are also nursing. There are also so many great items available that help make breastfeeding easier. One of my favorites was the hands-free pumping bra. This allowed me to multi-task and get things done while expressing milk at the same time.
Get comfortable. Find the most comfortable nursing position for you. Some moms prefer to sit while others prefer to lay down. Nursing pillows can also help keep your baby in the right position.
Work it in. Millions of moms have to head back to work shortly after the baby is born. Don’t think you have to give up breastfeeding because it’s time to go back to the office. Many employers today work with moms to give them the time they need to pump. See what you can work out with your employer so that you can continue breastfeeding as long as you desire.
Remember, breastfeeding is a wonderful way to both nourish and bond with your baby. Be sure to surround yourself with medical, family, and community support to make it a successful and enjoyable experience.