Tips for successful breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is such an amazing experience. Being able to give your baby the best nutrition straight from the source, not to mention the wonderful bonding experience, is incredible.
I had trouble nursing my first baby and gave up when he was around 3 months old. When I found out I was pregnant again I made it a number one priority to make breastfeeding successful. My daughter has been breastfed from birth and she is now almost 10 months old. Below are some of the tips I used to successfully breastfeed my baby.
Do your research.
Create a Pinterest board strictly for breastfeeding. Add blogs and stories from other moms. Educate yourself on the positives and the problems that can come up so you are well prepared. You can also get books, or go to classes! Kellymom.com is a great site! Plus, here in Florida WIC gives a free breastfeeding course. Shoot, there are even YouTube channels that can help you!
Have a support group.
I communicated to my mom, husband, and close friends about my plan to successfully and exclusively breastfeed. I remember even telling my husband to, not under any circumstance, let me give up. I knew there would be times when I was going to be so exhausted and I would do anything for a break. I knew if I had anyone else feed her with a bottle it would make it easier for me to give up. My lactation consultant was amazing and wouldn’t let me give up, either! I had my support system and I don’t know where I would be without them.
It’s okay to be stubborn sometimes.
When I was pregnant with my son, I had the attitude of, “If it works out, then I’ll continue to nurse.” He didn’t latch very well in the beginning and just when he started getting the hang of it, I let the nurse give him a bottle. I tried to nurse him a few times after, but he had already developed nipple confusion. I understand that not all babies have this issue and can go from breast to bottle with no problem, but for my son, it wasn’t that easy. No matter what I tried for those three months, he refused the breast unless I used a breast shield and even that didn’t work sometimes.
When my daughter was born, I think I told every nurse and doctor in that building that I was planning on breastfeeding and instructed them to keep bottles and pacifiers far away from her. I had to have a cesarean, so as soon as I was rolled into the recovery room, I was asking for my baby and the lactation consultant right away. I know I had to have been annoying to the poor hospital staff, but it was worth it when she latched on perfectly the first try. I even cried.
Don’t give up!
Please, if this is your goal, do not give up! I promise that problems will arise. You will have days when you just want to give up. But don’t do it. My daughter started having issues latching at around 4 weeks. She had a shallow latch and couldn’t stay on right. I had to pump for a couple weeks and bottle feed her. Before each feed and in-between feedings, I would put her to the breast. I didn’t give up and she eventually became a pro. My best friend’s son wouldn’t latch for his first 3 months, so she pumped until he started latching. She nursed him successfully for over a year.
It will get easier.
Trust me, it will get easier. In their first few months it can get very difficult with all the night feedings and lack of sleep. But you can do it! Take care of yourself as much as you can and even do a little online shopping while you are nursing. Retail therapy works wonders! Know that your baby will get on a schedule and you will be glad you stuck it out!
Trust your body.
If you feel like you’re not producing enough milk, you’re probably wrong unless your baby is not having enough wet diapers. Just because your breasts may not feel “full” doesn’t mean that they aren’t. Think of them as little milk factories instead of milk storehouses. Your breasts will constantly make milk on a supply-demand schedule. That’s right! The more you put baby to the breast, the more milk you will produce. Since my body has adapted to breastfeeding, I generally don’t become engorged at all. You have to trust your body. If you suspect your baby is not getting enough, then talk to your pediatrician.
These are just a few steps I took to ensure that I would successfully nurse my daughter and I am glad I did because it is so rewarding. My hope is that you can use this post in reaching your goal to breastfeed.
I also want to throw in that I understand not everyone can breastfeed. If you nursed your baby for 3 years, good for you. If you nursed for one day, that’s fabulous. If you didn’t nurse at all and you are giving your baby formula, you are a great mom! No matter what, if you are doing all you can for your child, you are an excellent parent!
-From love, Christa