Breastfeeding

We all have different experiences as parents. There are many things that I cannot provide first hand advice about to my clients. I can provide them with data, suggestions, and anecdotes but ultimately if I have never gone through it my information may be less useful. Breastfeeding is not one of those experiences for me. Between the three children, I have 58 months of breastfeeding experience under my bra (not belt, get it?) and counting.

Here is my most succinct breastfeeding advice:

  1. Read a book before the baby arrives. I like this one: Bestfeeding by Suzanne Arms, which has a great cover.
  2. Put your newborn to breast right after birth and at least every 2-3 hours until your milk comes in. Even if they are tired and sleepy, your body needs the stimulation for your milk production to start.
  3. It does hurt at the beginning as your nipples are stretching but it should get more comfortable during each feed. If it hurts during the entire feed, you might have a latch issue.
  4. If anything is not going well, please call a lactation consultant. Ask your friends for recommendations. Lactation consultants are just like any other practitioner, you need to find the one whose personality jives with yours!
  5. Position your baby so that their shoulders are facing the breast, they shouldn’t have to turn their head to eat. This sounds simplistic but its true!
  6. Eat and drink all the time. Consume at least 2,000 calories a day.
  7. Just get a hands free pumping bra, even if you aren’t planning on pumping often. They are cheap and oh so helpful.
  8. Give it SIX weeks. This was the best advice anyone ever gave me. The first 6 weeks can be tough but if you can make it that long, it usually gets much easier from there. Many times people will tell me that their goal is 6 months or a year or two. Set your expectations low and start with 6 weeks!!
  9. Have a can of formula in your house even if you have no intention of using it. Knowing that it is there can take some of the pressure off.
  10. When you decide to stop breastfeeding is between you and your baby. Sometimes they lead the way, sometimes you do.

 

It is 100% okay and acceptable to not breastfeed. I tell clients that I can be their breastfeeding cheerleader and push and encourage them or I can be the one to tell them that it really is okay to throw the towel in! It is a personal decision and should be respected and not judged whether that is to nurse you child until they are 4 or to start with a bottle of formula in the hospital. If you are not sure about whether or not to breastfeed, I would suggest giving it a shot (and 6 weeks 🙂 )

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