One of my very most favorite things about motherhood has been nursing my babies. I figured out the other day that I think I’ve been breastfeeding a baby for about 62 months of my life…that’s over 5 solid years! No wonder the “girls” aren’t as perky as they used to be, he he.
While I love the special closeness and connection that comes from breastfeeding, it hasn’t always been easy or fun. There have been a few times when I’ve wanted to give up, but after finding the necessary support, I’m really glad I didn’t!
Today I’m sharing a few tips I wish I’d known when I first became a mom to better prepare me to nurse my baby successfully. Once you figure out the hard stuff, I promise you’ll love it.
- We all know that breastfeeding is a wonderful feeding opportunity to offer your child with lots of benefits. But if you can’t or choose not to breastfeed, you’re still a great mom. Breastfeeding should never negatively affect your mental or physical health or your relationship with your baby. You do what you think is best and don’t let anyone give you crap about it.
- Sometimes breastfeeding hurts; I’m just gonna be right up front about that. But it shouldn’t hurt for long. Your breasts and nipples are often sore for a few weeks after having a new baby, but if you’re ever experiencing sharp pain when baby latches on, see a lactation consultant asap. No reason to suffer needlessly.
- Find the right professional help. There are oodles of resources when it comes to getting breastfeeding assistance: nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital or birthing center, La Leche League, private consultants and support groups. If, after seeing a professional, you’re still having trouble nursing, seek help from someone else. Sometimes it takes a few consultations to figure out exactly what’s going wrong.
- It is very rare for a mom to not make enough milk for her baby, but it does happen. Make sure you’re following all your doctor’s instructions for watching to see if baby’s getting enough milk. Your body produces milk on demand, so the best way to increase your supply is to pump after a feeding and/or offer your baby the breast as much as possible. Some diet supplements have also proved helpful to increase supply, but if, after trying everything, you still can’t make enough milk, see number 1!
- Let yourself take a break. My mom used to always say that breastfeeding is God’s way of making sure moms sit down every day and I totally agree. It’s a chance to sit and cuddle with your baby multiple times a day doing something that no one else can do, so enjoy it! Learning to nurse while lying down was also a huge bonus for me, once I had other kids who woke up early and demanded a lot of my attention. There’s nothing quite as wonderful as dozing peacefully while your baby nurses and then falls asleep too.Any other tips or tricks from you experienced mommas? While there have definitely been struggles in my breastfeeding years (read: never losing all the pregnancy weight until I wean my babies – ugh!) I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
(Photos by Let Me See You Sparkle)