12 Breastfeeding Secrets You Need to Know
I have been breastfeeding for 72 months (and counting). I have 4 beautiful babies who have all been exclusively breastfed until each child decided to ‘play’ with food, and eventually eat it! I am here to tell you that those of us who have been breastfeeding for quite a bit of time – we have information that you need to know. I feel like they aren’t really secrets because I tell all first time moms about them, but no one listens until they are in trouble and really need help. So I am hoping to reach those of you who want to really prepare for breastfeeding – or those of you who are just beginning your journey. Breastfeeding is quite a lifestyle change, but yet it is the most natural thing you will ever do (other than birth your child). It may come with challenges, but all great things do. There is this preconceived notion that breastfeeding is natural so it is easy… and while that is true, it’s also false. You must learn how to breastfed – and TEACH your baby.
12 Breastfeeding Secrets You Need To Know
#1Lactation Consultants: Your hospital, birth center, or midwife has a lactation consultant on staff or one to recommend. I urge you to meet with an LC within 24 hours of your birth. You can call ahead and let her know your approximate due date so she will be ready for your phone call after the birth. She will help you with latch and positioning. She will help build your confidence and love for breastfeeding.
Support Groups: Most major hospitals will have a lactation consultant host a monthly breastfeeding support group. There are also 1,000’s of breastfeeding related groups that can be found through facebook or meetup.com that will connect you with experienced mothers and lactation consultants to help you through your journey. (My favorite facebook group is Milky Mommas
Learn Your Baby’s Cues: Your baby will tell you he is hungry in a way that is unique to him. He may clinch his fists, eat his hands, open his mouth like a baby bird, etc, but he will tell you he is hungry. If you miss the cues, you end up with a crying, frustrated baby who has trouble latching and nursing.
Feed on Demand: Throw out any idea of scheduling your baby. Would you like it if someone told you that you couldn’t have a sip of water and had to wait 3 hours? I don’t think so. Let your baby nurse as often as he wants, or as often as possible.
Bring baby to breast not breast to baby: This is a bad habit so many moms make. They lean into nursing instead of bringing their baby up to their breast. This will cause back and neck pain, wrist pain, and a possible negative breastfeeding relationship. You can use pillows to lift your baby up higher, or recline slightly so he is supported on your abdomen.
There is more than one position to nurse in: It is easy to get stuck in one nursing position, but the possibilities are endless – just watch a mom juggling 4 kids all day. You may find one or two positions easier than the others, and that’s ok to stick with those until you are more comfortable, but don’t be afraid to try.
Practice in front of a mirror: This is the best piece of advice that I received. As a first time mom, you may be paranoid and terrified to nurse in public. You may run to an empty room or back to your car so that you can hide from the eyes of others. Take a chair and set it in front of a full length mirror. Now, nurse your baby. Try lifting your shirt and letting baby nurse from underneath – try pulling your breast from above and let him nurse that way. Practice nursing while standing, or with your baby in the carrier. You will notice just how little you actually expose yourself. This task will help build your confidence to nurse wherever and whenever your baby needs to be fed.
Your Milk Does Not Expire: Do not let anyone tell you that you should wean your baby at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, or 2 years. This is your journey. Your milk is still the most nutrient dense, healthy, amazing source of food even two years after birth.
La Leche League: LLL (http://www.llli.org/) is the best place to start. For 60 years, LLL has been educating mothers about breastfeeding. There are LLL leaders located internationally, and I promise there is one somewhere near you. Even if it is a bit of a drive, it is worth it to attend a few meetings. You will meet other mothers and be able to ask any questions you may have. As a childbirth educator, I beg my couples to find a LLL meeting before giving birth. Just go and listen to the stories; these mothers are real, and they may be your greatest resource.
Kellymom.com: This website is just plain fantastic. Go and play around on it; open each tab and learn. Everything is researched and fact-based. There are articles, videos, Q&A, and just so much information.
Dr. Jack Newman: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/ Another fabulous online resource, Dr. Newman provides the most up-to-date breastfeeding information through his webpage and facebook page. His book is worth investing in as well.
The Leaky Boob : This site has quickly become an informative place to gather breastfeeding related facts and help. I love to follow them on Facebook as they are always sharing stories and the BEST pictures!
What secrets would you add to the list?
What secrets would you add to the list?