I would never consider myself an expert, although I would love to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant(IBCLC), all I have to give is the knowledge that I have acquired over this past 15 months(and counting) of breastfeeding as well as the information that I have received from credited sources and mothers who have also breastfed. I hope you enjoy
Tip #1 Breastfeeding Classes. I would highly recommend taking a class on breastfeeding(even if its your second or third time) If some time has past you can always use a refresher course. When My husband and I decided to take the class I was a little nervous because this would be the most important class of my life, I mean I would learn how to feed my child. Yeah I hyped it up a lot lol you will never truly know what you need to know about breastfeeding until you are actually in the act of doing it However, the classes help you to learn a little about what to expect. By all means you should take your SO there with you, make sure they pay attention, I can’t tell you how many times in the early part of my breastfeeding journey that my husband would look at us and say babe his latch is a little lax and maybe this will help you both. It was nice to have a team effort when it came to feeding time.
Tip #2 Find Support. My husband was amazing but he has never breastfed and I was an emotional wreck for the first month. So SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT I can not stress that enough. if you have to pay for it, it’s so worth it. These ARE the experts and they can help you with whatever problem you may have. If you have one that just doesn’t click with you personality wise then see a different one. I waited until my son was 4 weeks old before I saw one. I was having MAJOR over productive issues on one side and my son would choke whenever he would eat. I learned about block feeding the first day met with her and that helped me tremendously and helped me enjoy my feedings with my son. If you aren’t having a problem with anything physically they can help you with mentally. It’s nice to know that what you are going through is normal and LC are able to help you because they have seen it all.
Tip #3 Feed baby often. One of the biggest things that mothers worry about it milk production. Although there are reasons why your milk production can slow down(pump not strong enough,hormone imbalance, not enough water intake etc) one of the sure ways of milk depletion is for baby not being put to the breast as often as possible. baby will go through growth spurts and you will feel like a milk machine, you may even just spend the day on the sofa because all you will be doing is feeding. Your well to do family members may say “here let me feed the baby a bottle so you can get some rest” that is so sweet BUT it’s important for you to hang in there and put baby to breast often because these growth spurts are the babies way of telling your body that it needs to make more milk. so when you let someone else feed baby from bottle then that is you telling your body I don’t need that milk. I understand that you need a rest. so if you need some time to sleep then I would suggest pumping before you get some rest. Just know that the pump is not as effective as baby is.
Tip #4 Get a good nursing pillow. Since you will be using that thing quite often it’s no important to find one that is great. this is where My breast friend(MBF) comes in. I know the name is horrible but seriously this is the BEST one out there. Imagine my surprise when I FINALY went to see the lactation consultant and she pulls out a MBF! she advised me that this is the best pillow out there. It has lumbar support and actually clips around you. you pretty much can use it as a table lol it has a nice pocket on the side. If this is not in your budget you can usually find them at second hand stores for great deals. The cover is machine washable so that is a plus too. Also they may one for moms of multiples
Tip #5 Water is your BEST friend. Water is the source of life and it’s also the source that helps keep you hydrated and your milk supply up. before having a baby I would drink about 50oz a day. After Xander came along I was up to drinking 70-80 oz a day. breastfeeding is work and you have to stay hydrated to maintain your milk supply. juices, teas and sport drinks don’t have the same effect as water. So drink up, your baby and your skin will thank you for it.
Tip #6 When the teeth come… I am the first to admit when I was pregnant I would say.I will breasted as long as baby doesn’t have teeth. well guess what, baby got TWO teeth at 5 months. AAP suggest that you breastfeed exclusively for 6 months before introducing food and my son just happens to love breastfeeding so he did not really start easting three meals a day until about 13 months. I was his food source and I didn’t want to give that up because I was scared of some teeth lol. Now i’m not going to lie sometimes when he bites down it HURTS(very rare occasion) but I just unlatch him and let him calm down and we try again. when he was younger I would just unlatch him and wait a few minutes. I will tell you this a baby ACTIVELY nursing CAN NOT bite! So be on the look out for comfort sucking, baby falling asleep, baby distracted etc these are times when bites occur.
Tip #7 Let the Neysayers Ney. There will inevitably be someone who is offended by your choice, or feel that because you choose to breastfeed that you look down on formula feeding(this is not the case, when we say breast is best it scientifically is. If you have to supplement or formula feed that is ok. whatever works for your family is fine). Don’t let that get to you. Feed your baby in public(covered or not) Federal law states that you can do it anywhere and it does not have to be in a bathroom. When a rude person ask “are you STILL nursing?” when obviously you are, just ignore them(or have a witty comeback) Society has a messed up mental state when it comes to breast. these were made to nurse and feed our young, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s a bonding experience that is like no other. It’s full of ups and downs. Wear breastfeeding like a badge of honor because it is. It does not matter if you did it for a day or for years, you offered the best thing that you could have for your child. so don’t let anyone take that away from you.