Breastfeeding: Tips for Success
Whether it’s from your partner, other moms, books or your healthcare providers, very few topics spark the flurry of advice from others that breastfeeding does. Just remember how you feed your baby is ultimately your decision.
The research is in and there’s no question that breastfeeding carries a host of benefits for both mom and baby. Breast milk is packed with all the nutrition your little one needs, plus disease-fighting antibodies that help protect your baby from illness.
But breastfeeding isn’t always easy; many new moms struggle with nursing, especially as their milk is coming in. It can takes weeks – sometimes months – for mom and baby to find their rhythm. If you run into problems, take heart. You’re not alone.
Here are some things to consider if you choose to breastfeed:
- Know what to expect. Breastfeeding your baby will demand a lot of time and energy.
- Find a position that works best for you and baby. How the baby is positioned against your breast is important to a good latch. Babies are born sucking, but they don’t always innately know how to latch onto the breast the right way. It often takes practice – and sometimes leads to sore, and even cracked, nipples in the beginning. If you or baby become frustrated, “reset” by putting her skin-to-skin on your chest, take a few deep breaths and then try putting her on your breast again.
If you are recovering from a C-section, the “football hold” – cradling the baby in one arm at your side – might be a good choice because the baby’s weight isn’t right against your belly
- Keep a log. In the early days of nursing, your baby may feed as many as 8 to 12 times a day – or more. Jot down the start and end time of each feeding, as well as which breast the baby fed from – there are several apps available online to help track feedings – and the number of wet and poopy diapers as well.
- Get support. Take advantage of breastfeeding classes at the hospital. Ask your partner to attend too so that he can help you get the baby latched correctly in the beginning. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your intent to nurse, especially in the early weeks when you and baby are sorting it all out. Many hospitals and pediatric practices have lactation consultants who may also be covered by health insurance. Talk to your OB for more information on breastfeeding classes.
- Remember all babies are different. If you had trouble or success with one baby, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience with the next. But if you do end up having difficulties, don’t be hard on yourself. Give it your best shot and if your baby ends up being formula-fed or if that’s your choice from the start, that’s perfectly fine.
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