Breastfeeding is just about as natural as it gets. For this reason, many new moms may feel discouraged if they don’t find that it comes naturally. They may think they are unable to breastfeed and give up before they ever really give it a good chance.
Yes, there are some circumstances that make breastfeeding difficult, if not impossible, but there are plenty of breastfeeding tips that can help you get over these hurdles and give your baby the very best nutrition possible for as long as possible.
It is also good to be prepared before baby arrives and start shopping for breastfeeding supplies while you are still pregnant. A breast pump, nursing bra, and breastfeeding pads are a few of the key necessities.
Many women want to breast feed, as they know that it is good for the baby’s health and also offers special bonding time. However, some women do have difficulty getting their baby to latch on properly at first or suffer from engorgement later on and are unsure how to handle these issues.
Soon after the baby is born, make sure that the child understands how to latch on and is not tongue-tied or has any other problems that would make it difficult for them. Some little ones just don’t get it at first, and mom needs to be patient so that she doesn’t further upset herself or her hungry baby.
To help prevent engorgement it is best to be sure that the baby takes from each breast about the same amount of time and doesn’t go too long between feedings. If you do become engorged, you can either express manually or try a breast pump to ease the discomfort. Warm compresses help with pain and ease of expressing.
Seek out Support
Sometimes there is a learning curve involved with breastfeeding. After all, neither you nor your baby has ever done this before. You need some time to get used to each other and get in the swing of things.
Whether you give birth in the hospital, or at home with the aid of a midwife, take advantage of their expertise and get all the help you can in this new experience. Many hospitals have lactation consultants available, and there is a lot of literature available in books and on the Internet.
There are also many wonderful support groups that allow first time moms and veteran moms alike to come together, discuss their hardships and triumphs, and gain knowledge and breastfeeding tips that can keep them going.
Dash the Taboo
Whatever it is about western civilization that sees breastfeeding in public as indecent or taboo is beyond the realm of understanding. You would think with as sex-crazed as this society is that they’d be used to seeing a little bit of skin. But public ridicule is a sad reality that many new breastfeeding moms are not prepared for, and personal modesty may get the best of you at times. After all, you are probably not in the habit of exposing yourself so publicly.
There are ways to discreetly nurse in public, however, and with a little practice you’ll be able to throw a blanket over your shoulder, get baby positioned, do a full feed, and readjust yourself, all while carrying on a conversation with a total stranger and them never being the wiser.
Beware of the Dreaded Nursing Strike
It doesn’t happen to everyone, but many new moms, and even seasoned breastfeeding moms, will experience a nursing strike. This is when baby absolutely refuses to take the breast, no matter what you do. The reason baby may decide the breast is suddenly not best may be perfectly evident (colds, distractions) or completely elusive.
The key is to keep offering the breast, pump if you have to, and minimize the use of bottles and pacifiers. It is very easy to spoil baby to the instant gratification of the bottle when the breast doesn’t give what she wants quite so quickly. If you are worried about her not getting adequate fluid or nutrition, just keep an eye on her wet and soiled diapers and call the pediatrician if you are concerned.
Breastfeed on Demand
Perhaps the number one most important breastfeeding tip is just to go with the flow. It really messes with your body’s natural supply and demand system to try to force baby into a rigid feeding schedule. Mothers with breastfed babies who allow the child to nurse on demand report much happier, much calmer babies and an adequate milk supply.
Breast milk digests much easier than formula, so it doesn’t stay in the system as long and your child will need to nurse more often than bottle fed babies will need to eat. Additionally, babies have a need to suck, sometimes more often than other times. Sometimes baby may just want to nurse for comfort, and that’s okay. After all, wouldn’t you rather your child get her comfort from you than some silicone dummy?
Be Prepared for Potential Supply Issues
There have been many mothers anxious to breastfeed exclusively only to find out they have supply issues. Be prepared for this possibility ahead of time in case it happens to you as there are things you can do to increase your supply. From pumping in-between feedings to using herbal remedies like Motherlove More Milk Plus, don’t accept a low supply and just give up.
For some mothers and infants breastfeeding seems as natural as breathing. For others it is a challenge to learn. It is important to know that whether it is easy or a challenge, it is worth the effort for both of you.